Avail offers to bridge the data availability gap for Ethereum rollups

Validiums and volitions are two ways rollups can store data off of Ethereum mainnet to reduce costs and increase throughput

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increation87/Shutterstock, modified by Blockworks

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Polygon spin-off Avail unveiled its data attestation bridge to Ethereum, Friday, as it seeks to carve out a niche in Ethereum’s rollup-centric scaling roadmap.

Layer-2 rollups currently use Ethereum mainnet for posting their transaction data, which represents the majority of the transaction cost to users. These costs are expected to come down significantly following the next Ethereum upgrade “Dencun” later this year, which will implement EIP-4844.

Further scaling gains should be found higher up the stack, on layer-3 networks envisioned such as Arbitrum Orbit, or zkSync’s hyperchains. That’s where Avail’s solution will likely come in, Anurag Arjun, Avail’s co-founder, told Blockworks in an interview.

“With computation with something like [zero-knowledge proofs], you are able to compress proofs, you’re able to do recursive proofs and make it small, but with data, you cannot do it,” Arjun said.

Right now, some early attempts make use of what are known as data availability committees (DACs), but in the future Avail or Celestia could provide a better alternative because they use a technique known as data availability sampling (DAS). Ethereum’s own implementation of DAS is still likely years away.

“By enabling rollup constructions to run in validium, optimistic chains, and volition modes, we are not only reducing costs but also paving the way for a more inclusive and efficient layer-2 and layer-3 ecosystem,” Arjun said in a statement.

There are some trade-offs in terms of security, but for the kinds of use cases that are most likely to require layer-3s, the cost, performance, and privacy concerns will make off-chain data availability options worth it, according to zkSync co-founder Alex Gluchowski.

“It’s very cheap, but you only have a partial inheritance of Ethereum security,” Gluchowski said.  

Avail opted to become an independent company outside of the Polygon product suite so that it could service all kinds of rollups, not only those from Polygon.

“We wanted it to be more credibly neutral in that aspect because Avail is a general purpose base layer,” Arjun told Blockworks.

The transition, completed about three months ago, saw Arjun leave his operational role at Polygon, which will now be one customer of many for the new firm.

Polygon’s PoS chain, which Polygon recently announced would morph into a zkEVM validium,  will initially make use of its own validator set to provide data availability, but it could also use Avail in the future, Arjun said.

Avail is built using Polkadot’s Substrate technology due to its use of nominated proof-of-stake (nPOS) and tendency to facilitate wide distribution of stake.

Arjun observed from his experience with Tendermint consensus used by the Polygon PoS chain that there is a concentration of stake with a majority controlled by eight to 10 validators.

A new staking token, AVAIL, will facilitate a permissionless validator set of up to 1,000 validators.

Other than that, there is no connection to the Polkadot ecosystem. They may be able to help Polkadot build zk rollups on a Polkadot parachain using Avail, Arjun said, but this idea is very new and will require a lot of further development.


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