Offchain Labs Partnership: Improving Transaction Ordering for Arbitrum Technology Chains & Beyond

Offchain Labs and Espresso Systems are partnering to bring an improved approach to transaction ordering and a decentralized, shared sequencing option to Arbitrum technology chains like Arbitrum One, Arbitrum Nova, & the Arbitrum Orbit ecosystem.

Espresso Systems
3 min readSep 11, 2023

L2s are succeeding in scaling Ethereum, with rollups like Arbitrum running in production for 2+ years and sustaining over $5 billion in total value locked. These infrastructure innovations are transforming users’ experiences and opening new possibilities for developers. They also face outstanding challenges. Users still deal with front-running and harmful forms of MEV; rollups still have some points of centralization; and rollup ecosystems are already starting to fragment.

At Espresso Systems, we are working to tackle the toughest problems facing rollups by developing an open, decentralized transaction sequencing network for any L2 to freely opt into. We envision fully decentralized rollup stacks that protect users from dynamics like front-running, all on a permissionless platform.

Today, we are thrilled to announce a partnership with Offchain Labs to advance and accelerate this vision. Offchain Labs has pioneered the research and development behind many of the most technologically-mature and widely-adopted blockchain scaling solutions, including major contributions to Arbitrum One, Arbitrum Nova, and now the rapidly growing ecosystem of Arbitrum Orbits.

We see Offchain Labs’ collaboration with us as a strong signal that even teams with strong technology affiliations of their own will continue to prioritize permissionless approaches to coordination and technology. We will be working together on the research and implementation of an improved transaction ordering system, and will be partnering to make this, along with the Espresso Sequencer, an option for Arbitrum technology chains and beyond.

The Espresso Sequencer is designed to allow multiple rollups to share a single decentralized platform for fast confirmations of transaction inclusion, while still allowing individual rollups to optionally choose their own transaction ordering policies. Examples of transaction ordering approaches include auctions, first-come first-serve (FCFS), or content-oblivious (threshold encryption). We at Espresso Systems are glad to put resources behind ordering approaches that align with user needs, starting with Timeboost.

A first-come-first-served (FCFS) transaction ordering policy is simple and protects users in many regards. Offchain Labs has recently proposed Timeboost as a way to improve upon the FCFS policy used by their sequencer today by mitigating “latency racing” dynamics. For the last 6 months, Offchain Labs and others have been working across the Arbitrum community to get feedback and iterate on the Timeboost proposal. They have published a technical paper on their progress here. We are now working alongside Offchain Labs on further research around Timeboost. We will be undertaking development of a production-ready, open-sourced, and distributed implementation of Timeboost that can be adopted by any network, including any Arbitrum rollup. This will be integrated directly with the Espresso Sequencer.

In parallel with our work on Timeboost, we are glad to have Offchain Labs’ support as we now prioritize integration with the Arbitrum technology stack. This work comes on the heels of our recent testnets which have featured support for the OP Stack and the Polygon zkEVM stack. In collaboration with Offchain Labs, we are excited to expand our reach and bring our platform to any Arbitrum technology chain that chooses to leverage our decentralized, shared sequencer platform.

We will be sharing a roadmap soon for our research and implementation of the Timeboost builder module and for the integration of the Espresso Sequencer with the Arbitrum technology stack. Follow along with the work @OffchainLabs and @EspressoSys on Twitter and on the Arbitrum Research Forum for more soon.

If you are a rollup or application developer interested in leveraging Timeboost and/or the Espresso Sequencer, you can get in touch with Espresso Systems here.



Espresso Systems

We are the lead developers of the Espresso Sequencer, which supports rollups with decentralization, scale, and interoperability.