What Is a Blockchain Sequencer? It Sits Between Ethereum and Layer-2 Networks Like Coinbase’s Base

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By BitcoinWiki News

Key Takeaways:

– Today’s rollup sequencers for BTC are often controlled by centralized entities
– They can act as single points of failure
– They have the potential to censor transactions
– They could become a choke point if authorities decide to shut them down
– Coinbase operates the sequencer for its Base blockchain, potentially generating $30 million annually
– Criticism raises concerns about the centralized control and potential risks of BTC rollup sequencers

Criticism of Centralized Rollup Sequencers


Today’s rollup sequencers, which are responsible for managing and processing transactions on blockchain networks, have attracted criticism for being centralized. This article examines the concerns surrounding this centralized setup.

Single Points of Failure

A major criticism of centralized rollup sequencers is that they represent single points of failure. Since these entities are responsible for managing the entire sequencing process, any disruption or technical issue with the sequencer can halt transaction processing on the blockchain network. This vulnerability raises concerns about the reliability and robustness of the system, as the failure of a single entity can significantly impact the entire network.

Potential for Transaction Censorship

Due to their centralized nature, rollup sequencers have the potential to become vectors for transaction censorship. The centralized entity running the sequencer holds significant power and control over which transactions are included in the network. This control can potentially be misused to censor or manipulate transactions based on the entity’s interests or external pressures. This undermines the principles of decentralization and censorship resistance that many blockchain networks aim to achieve.

Choke Point for Shutdown

Another concern regarding centralized rollup sequencers is that they can become choke points if authorities ever decide to shut down the system. Since the sequencer is operated by a single entity, it becomes an attractive target for regulatory bodies or governmental agencies to exert control over the network. By shutting down or controlling the sequencer, the authorities can effectively halt transaction processing and disrupt the entire blockchain network. This vulnerability raises questions about the resilience and long-term sustainability of networks relying on centralized rollup sequencers.

Case Study: Coinbase’s Role as Sequencer

One example of a centralized rollup sequencer is Coinbase, which operates the sequencer for its Base blockchain. This role has significant financial implications, with estimates suggesting that Coinbase could generate approximately $30 million in net revenue annually from this activity, according to analysis by FundStrat. This financial incentive, coupled with the concentration of power, further highlights the concerns surrounding the centralized nature of rollup sequencers.


The current implementation of centralized rollup sequencers in blockchain networks has garnered criticism due to their potential as single points of failure, vectors for transaction censorship, and vulnerability to shutdown by authorities. These concerns highlight the need for exploring decentralized alternatives to ensure the resilience, decentralization, and censorship resistance of blockchain networks.

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