Sequencers Are Blockchains Air Traffic Control. Heres Why Theyre Misunderstood

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2023-09-06 15:00:00  • 7 mins

Cheap and speedy rollup networks like Arbitrum, Optimism and Coinbases Base are quickly becoming attractive alternatives to conducting transactions on the oft-congested Ethereum network. Transactions are completed on these layer 2 networks and then recorded for posterity on Ethereum.

But much has been made recently of these layer 2 networks reliance on a crucial piece of infrastructure known as the sequencer, which is responsible for bundling up transactions from users and shepherding them down to Ethereum.

The sequencer is like the air traffic controller for the specific L2 ecosystem that it serves, Sandy Peng, co-founder of the Scroll rollup, explained this week in an interview. So when Alice and Bob attempt to make a transaction at the same time, who comes first? Thats decided by the sequencer.

This article is featured in the latest issue of The Protocol, our weekly newsletter exploring the tech behind crypto, one block at a time. Sign up here to get it in your inbox every Wednesday.

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