Hello world! We are proud to announce Optimism — a Public Benefit Corporation dedicated to scaling Ethereum in a way that enshrines fair access to public goods. We were formerly known as Plasma Group — a nonprofit researching Ethereum scalability. Today, we’re taking the next steps from research towards production.
In this post, we’ll first review our technology, Optimistic Rollup — a solution that scales general smart contracts and enables instant transactions on Ethereum. Next, we’ll share our proposal for how this infrastructure can serve as a public utility that funds an ecosystem of public goods beyond it.
Optimistic Rollup is a layer 2 scaling solution that scales both transaction throughput and computation on Ethereum. The backbone of our implementation is the Optimistic Virtual Machine (OVM), which is fully compatible with the EVM.
Optimistic Rollup is the first layer 2 scaling solution that enables:
- Usability: low latency transactions for the speed of a Web 2.0 experience, and smart contracts at a fraction of the cost.
- Familiar workflows: developers preserve the Ethereum developer experience — the same smart contracts, APIs, and dev tooling. Migrate existing contracts without breaking them.
- Money Lego$: seamless interoperability between dApps and smart contracts.
To experience it for yourself, play UniPig, a gamified proof of concept for Optimistic Rollup built in collaboration with Uniswap. The demo had many components custom-built for Uniswap’s contracts in L2. We are currently developing the generalized ability to run any Ethereum contract in the OVM without custom code! Stay tuned for a separate post describing how it works.
The moment we built our UniPig demo, we knew we needed to bring it to production. However, secure, production code requires far more resources than PoCs — beyond what we could raise in donations. This challenge is shared among many in the blockchain ecosystem: how can builders access capital to fund public goods, beyond individual altruism and donations?
We believe that Layer 2 itself represents a unique opportunity to solve this problem. Particularly, it allows us to re-architect the network’s economics and close the loop: value produced by the network can be recycled to grow and sustain it.
At a very high level, miners on Ethereum make money through fees and block rewards, but they also have the extremely profitable ability to determine transaction ordering. This applies to block producers on layer 2 as well. We propose a mechanism that extracts some of that value back into the ecosystem. You can dive into the details of our proposed model here: “Auctioning transaction ordering rights as a solution to MEV”.
To seed this ecosystem and the software it requires, we have raised 3.5 million dollars from Paradigm and IDEO CoLab Ventures. We’re incredibly fortunate to have found investors who understand the need for infrastructure that not only scales, but sustains the community over time.
And with that, back to building!