I think the implications of the metalayer have been mostly glossed over in discussions so far. The “restructuring” of Chainlink’s existing and under-development services into this new organization, and the expansion of the software framework supporting them, imply a fundamental change in the way that existing layer 1/2 solutions will interact with the network.
I think this describes the idea of the future metalayer best. Thinking aloud: So what happens when all of these node services, job initiation mechanisms, DON administration/clerical work, are consolidated into a unified new architecture? What does that look like? What does that mean for users of the network? How does it change how they interact with the network? What does scaling the metalayer imply?
Let’s assume that the Chainlink metalayer handles millions of transactions per day of varying types, pushing/pulling data to legacy systems and blockchains through native metacontracts, and opening and closing thousands of what I will call tickets - a future version of an ad-hoc job request. Clearly, the ticket administration aspect of this process will have to be automated. What component of the metalayer is responsible for self-organization? I will call this component the Overseer.
Imagine a hybrid Ethereum contract in which the offchain computation instruction component specifies a series of requirements for a DON job. The Overseer would be responsible for receiving and reading the ticket from the offchain component of the hybrid contract, handles the genesis and assembly of the DON, the distribution of the required instruction, and the dissolution (if necessary).
When I look at the staking diagram for the escalation of watchdog alerts, I see some of these same Overseer ideas reflected - where nodes act as administrators for others. So what would an Overseer consist of? It could be an application running on a set (or maybe superset) of nodes in the metalayer. It seems it would need a ledger or database containing information about itself in order to assign work correctly and respond to tickets.
I am making all of this up, but it is fun to think about autonomous distributed systems like this.
Ultimately, what I see being described in this paper is just that, a semi-autonomous blockchain accessory layer that performs a suite of offchain computation, data processing, and transfer services. If I had to bet on it, I would say that this metalayer evolves into a blockchain-like system.
Another thought: The description of assets at stake by a given node operator, $S≈$D+ $F+ $FS+ $R, may fall short of capturing the complete incentive picture of a metalayer node. There are separate classes of behavior within a node’s operational remit that in theory could affect a node’s incentive-based security. An example is a node providing FSS services in addition to participating in a price feed DON. Is FSS a tool that should be included when considering incentive-based security? Does a node’s participation in a given service such as FSS affect the way that incentive-based security should be considered for other services the node participates in? Fun questions to think about.