Sovereign Rollups: Why Do You Need It?

by Savan Kishorbhai Padaliya, Senior Fullstack Blockhcain Developer, VE3

Share this post

Going back in time, during the Ethereum period, when we first embraced the smart-contract blockchains, all the operations that go into mining and validating a transaction, like data availability, consensus, execution and finality/settlement, happened on a single layer. As a result, the processing time of the blockchain was moving at a snail’s pace. Hence, the much infamous cryptokitty event led to the epiphany that scalability is the need of the hour.

Enter: Layer 2’s or Roll-ups

Now, roll-ups undoubtedly front-led the scalability bottleneck, but in doing so, they built a dependency on L1s nonetheless. So, even if you could supposedly scale to 2,000 to 10,000 TPS when it comes to proposing protocol upgrades or launching a new feature, the process still ended up slow, extraneous and complex.

Enter: Sovereign Roll-ups

Sovereign roll-ups have redefined an innovation where they broke the DA, EA, Consensus and Settlement layer but maintained full control over the Consensus and Settlement so that the base Layer or L1 will not sabotage their ecosystem. In this piece, we shall deep dive into learning in detail about sovereign roll-ups and their benefits, making them fit into the scalability with the sovereignty narrative.

What are Sovereign Rollups?

Unlike a smart-contract roll-up that settles the entire block on an L1, the sovereign roll-ups use the L1s or other blockchains just for DA or Data Availability while handling consensus and settlement on their own layer.

How Do Sovereign Roll Ups Work?

To understand how sovereign roll-ups work, you must first understand the workings of the smart contract roll up. Have a look at the image below:

Sovereign Roll-ups 1

As you can see, the TX data is processed in the roll-up chain, and proof is submitted to the Settlement Layer. The settlement layer will trigger call data to validate the Merkle Root of the transaction, and if the smart contract validating the transaction on top of the settlement layer is satisfied, the trades are mined into the block and added to Ethereum’s full node. Now, if the Ethereum Node rejects the transaction, the roll-up state of the L2 will be rolled back to the previous.

Hence, as you can see, smart-contract roll-ups have to depend on L1s for finality. That’s what changes when you introduce Sovereign Roll-ups in the equation. Sovereign roll-ups do not have to depend on the Base Layer/L1s for settlement and finality. On the contrary, they just use other blockchains for DA while settling the transactions on their own chain. For example, rollkit uses Bitcoin as a DA layer while settling transactions on its own chain. The flow changes in the following manner:

Sovereign Roll-ups 2

In the above image, as you can see, the roll-up is using an alternate blockchain as a DA layer while settling all the transactions on its own layer through a P2P node hosting their own chains. Due to such a trade-off, it is comparatively simpler to fork an application or introduce new features. But it also creates an unwanted necessity of the trust protocols that introduces  the DA layer token within the Dapps environment using a sovereign roll-up as L2.

Benefits of Sovereign Roll-ups

  • Ability to work independently of the Data Availability/Consensus Layer
  • They can define their own rules of forking
  • Proof verification within their own P2P network significantly reduces the cost.
  • Tokens can be easily sent to and fro among different roll-up environments ensuring higher composability and interoperability.

Top Misconceptions Regarding Sovereign Roll-Ups Usage

Sovereign Roll-ups Do not Inherit the Security

That’s the question which might baffle users because they have fears like what if the project chooses to shut down and run away with the funds. But such is not the case, because while using the DA layer, Sovereign Roll-ups inherit Liveness and Safety of the DA layer. To better break that down, though a sovereign roll-ups undoubtedly has full control to settle the transactions on its own layer, they have to receive the data supporting the transaction from the Base/L1 chain. Without that data, the state of the roll-up shall not change. So, if it is a ZK-Sovereign Rollup, they will use the Zk -Validity proofs. While, if it is an optimistic roll-up, in that case, it shall be using the fraud proofs to change the state of its own chain. In the absence of that data, the roll-up state will be frozen until the data arrives.

Sovereign Roll-ups are Not Re-Org Resistant

Since the sequencers and settlement layer dwell within the same ecosystem, it becomes apparent that at the time of forking, a rogue node could include a false transaction to be included in the new forked chain. But to avert the reorg attack, all the recent transactions have to provide validity or fraud-proof inherited from the DA layer. With that said, the provenance of the proofs wouldn’t allow a new reorg or sequencing to happen on a new chain. Let’s simplify this: suppose there is a unified chain AB. This chain wants to break into A & B. Now, could chain A include some unauthorised transactions at the time of its birth as a new chain?

No, that’s not possible because the Re-Org mechanism of the DA layer will come into play. So, if Chain A wants to include an additional transaction on top of the existing ones, Chain A is supposed to provide a DA proof of that transaction to change the state of the roll-up. In the event of being unable to provide the DA proof, the state of the roll remains frozen until the problem has been resolved. In this way, it safeguards the roll-up against any type of hacks, sabotages or unethical practices.

Sovereign Roll-Ups are Censored

Since Sovereign Roll-ups use the DA layer as an extended blockchain layer, they inherit the anti-censored feature of that blockchain due to its DA reliability. How? The transactions are sent to the DA Layer, and they finalise the consecutiveness of the transaction. In this way, if someone looks for omission or commission of the transaction, they will have to re-organise the sequencer set as per the data availability relayed to the execution and settlement environment of the sovereign roll-up ecosystem.
Such a practice would make censoring a transaction very difficult for the P2P nodes of the sovereign chains responsible for including transactions inside the blocks of the Sovereign Roll-Up Chain.

Trust Bridging Is There

Trust bridging is indeed present in a sovereign roll-up if the DA layer allows smart-contract bridges to operate on top of the sovereign roll-up environment. However, some chains like Celestia do not provide smart contract bridging. Hence, applications developing on top of Sovereign Roll-ups using Celestia as a DA layer can create their own trust bridges among themselves instead of with Celestia to create a validity mechanism within the roll-up ecosystem in the following manner:

Sovereign Roll-ups 3

Top Projects Using Sovereign Rollups

Chainway has developed an adapter set through its Sovereign SDX that allows projects to build and deploy their own roll-up solutions with the ability to develop your own faucets, block explorers, indexers, wallet support, and you can bring your own sequencer sets and execution environment to fulfil the need of the project. The reason Chainway went for Bitcoin as a DA layer is because the chain has always been censorship-resistant and liveable to this day.

Right now, if your project is using a separate DA layer, one thing that they would like is the network effect. Bitcoin has the largest network effect you need as a project to host on top of a sovereign roll-up chain. Hence, Chainway has proposed Bitcoin as a DA layer for its Sovereign SDX roll-up. But that doesn’t restrict you because you can use your own DA layers like Celestia, Avail or any other as per your changing needs to help roll with the rollups as per your project.


The dream is a 10% GDP to the blockchain by 2030, and that couldn’t happen when projects are built within walled gardens. Instead, the blockchain ecosystem needs connective islands through straits and bridges that ideologies of Superchains, HyperBridges and HyperLanes have achieved. But they are not chain agnostic as per varying tech stacks. The need of the hour is where you can have quantum: (i) In blockchain and (ii) Out of blockchain simultaneously. Where you only inherit the positives of the Blockchains and use them to build on top of existing centralised solutions, which just need a force multiplier to reach the next level. Sovereign Roll-ups have been construed as something similar that gives flexibility to centralised systems but the security and transparency of blockchains, breaking the trilemma challenge from the ground up.

Here at VE3, we stand out as a pioneering force multiplier driving this transformative vision forward. With our innovative approach, we facilitates the integration of quantum capabilities into both blockchain and non-blockchain systems. By providing a seamless bridge between these realms, we empower businesses to leverage the advantages of blockchain technology without compromising on the efficiency of existing centralized solutions. Through unique features and capabilities, we contributes significantly to the realization of a connected and interoperable blockchain ecosystem. To know more, explore our innovative digital solutions or contact us directly.

Article by VE3

More To Explore


Are you a member of The Payments Association?

Member benefits include free tickets, discounts to more tickets, elevated brand visibility and more. Sign in to book tickets and find out more.


Log in to access complimentary passes or discounts and access exclusive content as part of your membership. An auto-login link will be sent directly to your email.

Having trouble signing?

We use an auto-login link to ensure optimum security for your members hub. Simply enter your professional work e-mail address into the input area and you’ll receive a link to directly access your account.

First things first

Have you set up your Member account yet? If not, click here to do so.

Still not receiving your auto-login link?

Instead of using passwords, we e-mail you a link to log in to the site. This allows us to automatically verify you and apply member benefits based on your e-mail domain name.

Please click the button below which relates to the issue you’re having.

I didn't receive an e-mail

Tip: Check your spam

Sometimes our e-mails end up in spam. Make sure to check your spam folder for e-mails from The Payments Association

Tip: Check “other” tabs

Most modern e-mail clients now separate e-mails into different tabs. For example, Outlook has an “Other” tab, and Gmail has tabs for different types of e-mails, such as promotional.

Tip: Click the link within 60 minutes

For security reasons the link will expire after 60 minutes. Try submitting the login form again and wait a few seconds for the e-mail to arrive.

Tip: Only click once

The link will only work one time – once it’s been clicked, the link won’t log you in again. Instead, you’ll need to go back to the login screen and generate a new link.

Tip: Delete old login e-mails

Make sure you’re clicking the link on the most recent e-mail that’s been sent to you. We recommend deleting the e-mail once you’ve clicked the link.

Tip: Check your security policies

Some security systems will automatically click on links in e-mails to check for phishing, malware, viruses and other malicious threats. If these have been clicked, it won’t work when you try to click on the link.

Need to change your e-mail address?

For security reasons, e-mail address changes can only be complete by your Member Engagement Manager. Please contact the team directly for further help.

Still got a question?