Offchain Labs, Espresso Systems link up on transaction ordering tech

Ethereum scaling solution Offchain Labs is partnering with blockchain infrastructure company Espresso Systems to bring Timeboost — a transaction ordering technology — to life. 

The teams will also work on integrating both Timeboost and the Espresso Sequencer with the Arbitrum technology stack. 

The Espresso Sequencer is a decentralized sequencing layer that layer-2s can choose to opt into, Ben Fisch co-founder and CEO of Espresso Systems told Blockworks.

“Having Offchain Labs’ support of this vision is a strong signal to us and to the Ethereum community that even teams with strong technology affiliations of their own will continue to prioritize permissionless approaches to coordination and technology,” Fisch said.

What is Timeboost?

Timeboost is intended to improve existing first-come-first-serve (FCFS) tendencies and become more optimized for maximum extractable value, or MEV.

Existing Arbitrum chains do not earn any value from MEV, Timeboost is designed so that these chains can internalize the value of ethical MEV whilst simultaneously preventing harmful behaviors such as front-running. 

This means that rollup solutions that want to capture value from ethical MEV practices like arbitrage, Ed Felten co-founder and chief scientist of Offchain Labs told Blockworks. 

“It does this by using a special type of sealed-bid auction so that transactions can bid for position within a block. Because the auction is sealed-bid, users cannot front-run others’ transactions,” Felten said.

Timeboost collects fees generated by the chain so that it can identify and manage revenue disposition, Felten explains. 

“Transactions submitted to the chain can optionally carry a bid, which is a premium that the transaction is agreeing to pay for each unit of layer-2 gas it uses, above the regular layer-2 gas price,” he said. 

Within a block, bids are sorted from highest to lowest, and higher transaction bids will be placed in an earlier sequencer block.

The team at Offchain Labs has been looking into Timeboost transaction ordering for over six months and has published technical papers on their progress. 

“We are now working alongside Offchain Labs on further research around Timeboost and undertaking implementation and integration of the module,” Fisch said.

Fisch added: “The final version of Timeboost will likely be a modification of the protocol described in the paper, favoring a discretized approach to ordering rather than continuous.”

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