Astria CEO Josh Bowen

How Founders Should Approach Shared Sequencers: Astria’s Josh Bowen

August 28, 2023

In a technical talk for the inaugural Variant Founder Fellowship cohort, Astria CEO Josh Bowen explained what sequencing is really about, why shared sequencers are important, and how founders should approach sequencer infrastructure.

Below the video, check out our biggest takeaways from his talk.


Sequencing is ultimately about speed.

When it comes to transactions, users want near-instantaneous confirmations. “Fundamentally, these rollup sequencers are providing us speed,” says Josh. The downside? Rollups typically skimp on decentralization by using their own sequencers. Shared sequencers reinsert decentralization by providing a mempool that multiple rollups can utilize. (Hear Josh discuss the different business models shared sequencing could bring about at 12:03.)


Your app-specific rollup probably doesn’t need its own sequencer.

Choosing to run your own sequencer comes down to market differentiation, says Josh. Are you competing on how good your sequencer is? If not, it might be more productive to use a shared sequencer so you don’t have to recreate infrastructure. (Hear Josh explain one case where you might want to use your own sequencer at 23:07.)


Rollup-as-a-service providers take away some of the work for app founders. 

While all signs point to a rollup-intensive future, in Josh’s view the paths forged by Arbitrum and Optimism aren’t really scalable for other entrants. “You can’t say every rollup that needs to launch needs to go raise $100 million of capital and do two years of R&D work to get it off the ground,” he says. Rollup-as-a-service providers can help some application providers get onboarded more quickly. (Hear Josh talk about what founders should look for in a rollup-as-a-service provider at 15:05.)



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