Ethereum Layer 2 Optimism Increasing with Mainnet Soft Launch

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In Brief
  • Optimism soft launches Ethereum L2 network to mainnet.

  • More testing required before public mainnet in 2 months.

  • Synthetix and Loopring are already running L2 networks

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This year is likely to see unprecedented use and demand on the Ethereum network, so there has never been a better time to ramp up Layer-2 scaling solutions.



Following a year of development, Layer-2 Ethereum solutions provider Optimism has soft-launched on the mainnet over the weekend.

In its latest blog post, the Optimism team laid out the particulars of the launch and detailed the battle testing that still needs to be carried out on the network.



Industry leaders such as Uniswap founder Hayden Adams and Compound Finance CEO Robert Leshner were quick to praise the team adding that it is “fantastic news for the entire ecosystem.”

The concept behind the ‘optimistic rollup’ is to make transactions faster and cheaper by running smart contracts outside of Ethereum and only storing the results on the root chain.

Testing, Testing

The deployment of the network has been labeled a soft launch as there is still more testing to be done. Over the past four months or so, Coinbase and DeFi protocol Synthetix have been actively testing the system.

“Just as we did with our testnet, we are taking an iterative approach by launching first with training wheels (outlined in the next section) and removing them as we gain confidence in the production system.”

With security at the forefront of priorities, the announcement added that there were three additional safeguards with the launch:

  • Only whitelisted smart contracts will be allowed to run on the OVM, which is a fully-featured Ethereum Virtual Machine (EVM) compliant execution environment designed for Layer 2 systems.
  • Authenticated withdrawals will be enabled to prevent malicious activity and admin keys will be used to upgrade the contracts in an emergency.
  • A full public testnet has been slated for late February/early March and the team hopes to get the public mainnet deployed soon after.

Other Ethereum Layer 2 Options

With gas fees soaring again, there have been several other L2 deployments recently. Late last week, Synthetix launched its L2 upgrade, also based on Optimistic’s platform.

The upgrade, called Castor, will usher in two primary changes as the first step to full Layer 2 integration. It will include two smart contracts enabling deposits on Layer 1 and withdrawals on Layer 2, which is using optimistic rollups. There will also be a migration to a new SNX escrow contract that supports the L2 transition.

DeFi DEX Loopring also launched L2 to L1 ‘gas free’ transfers on its own Layer 2 automated market maker. Loopring is also currently running L2 liquidity mining for its native LRC token which has surged in price recently.

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Martin has been writing on cyber security and infotech for two decades. He has previous trading experience and has been actively covering the blockchain and crypto industry since 2017.

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