$25 Mln Dev Support Fund, First Decentralized Sequencer and Hybrid Rollups: Interview with Tom Ngo, Metis’ Executive Lead

As the hotly-anticipated upgrade of Dencun is finally live,  a new life is injected into the segment of EVM L2s. Metis, a high-performance general purpose Ethereum scaling solution, is also on the cusp of major announcements. As such, we sat down with Tom Ngo, Executive Lead at Metis to discuss what’s next for the project, L2 scene, and Web3 as a whole.


U.Today: Please share the basic tech concept of the Metis L2 blockchain.

Tom Ngo: Metis is an Ethereum Layer 2, meaning that it leverages Ethereum’s security and decentralization while drastically lowering transaction fees. This opens the door for a larger number of individuals to interact with Ethereum while also enabling a wider range of possibilities for dApps (social dApps, for example).

Metis is properly aligning incentives across all network participants, and redefining what can be done on Ethereum.

U.Today: What are its main differences from other L2s?

Tom Ngo: Metis is the first L2 solution on Ethereum to decentralize its sequencer, which enables enhanced security, enhanced liveness, and revenue sharing for METIS lockers.

Metis will implement Hybrid Rollups, which will merge the benefits of fast confirmations and EVM equivalence of Optimistic Rollups with enhanced security, censorship resistance, and fast finality of ZK Rollups.

U.Today: What are the main bottlenecks of Ethereum scaling on L2s as of 2024?

Tom Ngo: After the DenCun upgrade, the bottlenecks of Ethereum scaling were pretty much solved. The issue that Ethereum has right now is onboarding users to its platform: Ethereum Layer 2s specifically an incentive-alignment issue. Every time we’ve seen massive user onboarding into crypto, it has been led by incentives: DeFi Summer, NFT craze, play2earn, walk2earn, and others

Until Layer 2s can figure out the incentive alignment strategy needed for onboarding the masses, it will remain a problem. That’s why we are so optimistic at Metis, since we believe that by aligning incentives accordingly across all network participants, we will be able to achieve this big milestone.

U.Today: What do you think makes Ethereum L2s vulnerable to centralization?

Tom Ngo: First, it is sequencer centralization: Foundations not decentralizing the sequencer node to retain full control and accrue all the revenue.

Then, it is prover/verifier centralization: If verifiers or provers are handpicked, there is room for potential collusion.

U.Today: How does Metis address centralization challenges?

Tom Ngo: Metis is the first Ethereum Layer 2 to decentralize its sequence, starting with 5 initial sequencer operators and progressively increasing the number of them. In terms of verifiers, Metis has a network of over 100 community verifiers on its Layer-2 network.

Once ZKM launches, Metis will unveil its very awaited Hybrid Rollup, leveraging ZKM’s zkVM and implementing zk proofs, a more decentralized and secured proving solution.

U.Today: Why did you choose the concept of the Hybrid Rollup?

Tom Ngo: Because it combines the best qualities of both architectures while opening the doors to a world of possibilities, securing off-chain devices and creating new use cases for blockchain technology. It also allows for tailoring solutions based on different use cases.

U.Today: What is the core role of the METIS token in terms of staking and governance?

Tom Ngo: All Layer 2 tokens are governance tokens. METIS, on the other hand, is the only Layer 2 token that stands as a utility token. METIS is used for gas payments, sequencer mining (staking) and transaction validation.

U.Today: How do you plan to grow Metis in a bull market?

Tom Ngo: By aligning incentives properly.

By enabling direct METIS transfers from top centralized exchanges like Binance, Coinbase and more, we will be able to onboard many more millions of users to Metis.

Once onboarded, they will have a wider range of games and dApps to interact with, as well as many other ecosystem applications being fueled by our MetisEDF.

The more of these games, like the previously mentioned PvP game, launched on Metis, the more transactions will be taking place. The more transactions take place, the more stakers get to benefit from the network’s growth. This is how we align incentives across all market participants as well.

The more transactions take place, also the more METIS goes back into the MetisEDF, reigniting this cycle of self-sustainability and perpetual growth.

Being a shareholder of a Layer 2 that doesn’t reward its contributors and community based on growth, is essentially opportunity-cost after users realize that there are Layer 2s who are indeed willing to do so. The Layer 2 sector is poised for outstanding growth, and users should be able to benefit from this growth, following the Web3 ethos.

U.Today: How do you rate the developer experience of Metis compared to other blockchains?

Tom Ngo: Metis is EVM equivalent, meaning that any contract that has been deployed on Ethereum or EVM-compatible chains, can easily be deployed on Metis.

For any developers that have deployed programs on EVM, building a dApp on Metis should be a walk in the park. We also have vast documentation and a reluctant developer relationships team to help you build the next generation of Metis dApps.

U.Today: Are you going to launch any developer support programs?

Tom Ngo: We recently launched the MetisEDF, a 4.6M ecosystem development fund focused on accelerating the ecosystem’s growth and adoption. For 2024, 250,000 METIS tokens, equivalent to over $25,000,000, have been committed as grants for dApps. Any protocol launching on Metis can apply for these grants.

Additionally, we’ve had our Builder Mining Rewards (BMR) initiative since launch. Every month, up to 4,000 METIS tokens are distributed among ecosystem DApps based on their transaction count.


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