Ethereum scaling startup Optimism has announced the launch of a limited testnet.

Once the research-oriented nonprofit Plasma Group, in January 2020 Optimism morphed into a for-profit company backed by $3.5 million in venture funding. Since then, Optimism has been focused on building a Layer-2 (L2) solution using a tool called “optimistic rollup.”

The idea behind “rollup” is to make transactions cheaper by running smart contracts outside of Ethereum and only storing the results on the main chain. Optimism’s solution will reportedly enable “fraud-proof” scaling, which accounts for the possibility of an L2 node publishing incorrect transaction data.

In a blog post titled “Light At the End of the Tunnel,” Optimism stated that after months of hard work, “today marks the first phase of our testnet launch.”

The post went on to elaborate that the team has opted for a gradual release process. Its network will be integrated with a limited cohort of decentralized applications (dApps), one at a time, “to best isolate bugs.”

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Source: Optimism

Decentralized synthetic-asset exchange Synthetix is set to become the first dApp to integrate with Optimism’s testnet. The exchange is offering up $200k in SNX tokens to encourage users to test the network.

“There are no words for how grateful we are to Synthetix for the opportunity to truly test our code in an environment that is as close to mainnet as possible, where serious value is in play,” read the blog post.

The testnet is currently open for public use, but not yet for public contract deployment. Future development will come in four stages, Optimism noted.

Source: Optimism

In phase A, there will be no deposits or withdrawals. Instead, tokens will be airdropped into L2 Goerli and allow participants to mint and burn sUSD while claiming staking rewards. In phase B, deposits will be enabled, and there will be another airdrop of SNX to L1 Goerli participants, allowing them to increase their staked SNX if they perform a deposit.

In phase C, withdrawals will be enabled because “participants must perform a successful withdrawal to receive their testnet rewards on mainnet” In between phases B and C, there is also a security drill planned, where the Optimism team will “actively commit fraud and reward the users who successfully submit a fraud-proof”

The post did not indicate any timeline for the completion of these phases but did mention that Uniswap and Chainlink are members of the early adopter cohort and are poised to be the next participants.