Scaling Ethereum: Introducing Optimistic Rollups

Learn how Optimistic Rollups are leveling up Ethereum

We continue our L2 education series with the second part of our hosted Twitter Spaces with leading L2 builders. This time Humpty is joined by Jose with Metis, Arjun with Mantle, and Dave with Goshen, and Donny with Harbinger DAO and Ontology. Below is a summary of the insights from our chat.

You can listen to the conversation in its entirety on Twitter:

Highlighted moments

  • Humpty intro: 14m41s-14m54s

  • Arjun RE: Optimistic: 19m38s-19m45s

  • Dave RE: Goshen: 28m46s-29m10s

  • Donny RE: DAO: 53m02s-53m38s

Thanks to our partners and sponsors for making this conversation possible.

Bankless DAO is a media and social DAO onboarding 1 billion people to crypto.

Ontology is bringing trust, privacy, and security to Web3 through decentralized identity and data solutions.

Goshen is a fully Ethereum-equivalent L2 blockchain that makes it easier and inherently more secure to scale.

An optimistic rollup is exactly what it sounds like– it is optimistic in that it assumes that all transactions are valid and batches without utilizing any computational power, which can have massive implications for the “mass” adoption of blockchain tech. There are several leading optimistic rollups that all approach solving the traffic issue from different angles. Making for a quicker transaction clip and more predictable/lower fees are necessary for large scale adoption. While arb is fine in DeFi circles, it isn’t quite so charming in gaming and business transactions. DAO formed and checked is a really important feature. It’s in the ethos of web3 altogether.

Metis was incubated by the MetisDAO Foundation, which is focused on providing the infrastructure layer for their vision of a web3 economy, alongside a focus on transitioning users and organizations to web3. Metis focuses on uploading just snippets of transactional data that are just enough to recover everything without actually including everything. This has helped to mitigate ETH fees, which of course has been a concern as aiming to expedite and bundle transactions would naturally reduce the burden and thus the fees. Keeping a stable and predictable fee set is a really attractive feature when onboarding a business that’s trying to maintain a specific profit margin. After all, a pleasant user experience and the ability to operate on stable costs is paramount in the business world.

The goal at Mantle is to develop one of the largest and most impactful web3 communities in the space. Building great, scalable tech that moves in a cost-effective manner is one of the most important problems one can solve in this space, but much more goes into an ecosystem. Mantle was born of BitDAO, which is also entirely on Ethereum, so it was a no-brainer building on its tech stack. Bringing all of these parts together allows ecosystem support to be easily provided and fosters system scalability. Great tech is great tech, but without the right support vehicles there is no success. Mantle chose optimistic rollup due to its time-tested strength and not-yet-fully-seen capabilities. Mantle uses a modular approach which not only splits labor for more efficient processing but also allows for more concise updates when a specific component needs alterations.

Goshen sets itself apart by being fully Ethereum-equivalent so all Ethereum tools and dapp migration work out of the box with no change in code. Being open source with an accent on fraud-proof systems and state transitions and working with leading audit & infrastructure providers in the space help Goshen stand out, even at the testnet phase. All of this gargantuan tech is for the sole purpose of providing developer and ecosystem support to those who want to build and adopt. They chose optimistic rollup as it aligns with the dev-friendly philosophy. It’s EVM-compatible and mature, and the ecosystems Goshen is looking to foray into like DeFi and gaming are receiving this approach super well thus far.

It’s abnormal to see an optimistic rollup spawned from and operated by a DAO, as typically a product is funded in a centralized manner and from there (if at all) decentralized. There exist a multitude of ways and process points in which an L2 might incrementally achieve the goal of decentralization. If not from the jump, one might institute DAO procedures alongside on-chain credentials and reputation. Tokens are fun and can be important, but skin in the game and input are paramount. Fully decentralized DAO governance can also bring inefficiencies, and these inefficiencies may not necessarily be a bad thing. If a delta in opinions regarding how a process ought to play out slows that process down, it may be for the best that the extra time was taken to work out the DAO governance rather than having the solution pushed through by a centralized authority. That being said, day-to-day operations are not typically left to the DAO, as the team is fully empowered to run the show. One of the biggest advantages of being DAO formed and consulted is that the company represents the will of the community. DAO token and gas token are the same token, and because of this the DAO members are financially incentivized to grow and make efficient the ecosystem.

Community engagement is numero uno, and as Dave from Goshen says “in crypto you kind of live and die by your community”. This is much the same for web2 as web3 companies, but the issues seem accelerated in web3, which is likely for the better. Weekly community calls and being open to community members with skillsets contributing where they can is super helpful in keeping supporters feeling heard and letting their actions have meaning– but we cannot ignore the siren song of the token airdrops. There is no denying that this space is largely fueled by speculation, and these airdrops and their farmers embody this ethos. Projects can be rapidly exposed to new users by offering airdrop criteria, while along the way, these speculators and their farming groups become intimately familiar with the software and ecosystem, and in many cases will stick around as long-term contributors. Worst case, exposure. Best case, fan club.

Speaking of fan clubs, it seems that having a DAO or community that’s allowed input on any degree of topic within the walls of any business is allowing whatever is closest to the actually correct outcome at that time to at least be taken into consideration. If this is about people, and the people aggregate their opinions & experiences into one giant ball of data, then acting on that ball of data would inherently be as close to the objective truth as we can get. Maybe instead of trying to convince contributors to choose the best option, we ought to be defining the best option as whatever the contributors have chosen. This of course is wildly system and circumstance-dependent, but there’s something to it.

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