For newcomers encountering the Ethereum network for the first time, the sluggishness and costliness of transactions might raise concerns. Despite Ethereum’s evident leadership among ecosystem blockchains, it does not always meet user demands from a technical standpoint.
How Optimism Works
The Optimism protocol aims to scale the Ethereum main network by gathering transaction data from its blockchain, bundling them into separate packages, and executing these transactions collectively. Subsequently, this data is sent back to the Ethereum main network for validation as another added data block. As a result, transaction fees required for execution significantly decrease compared to if they were processed on the base Ethereum layer.
Optimism, like other solutions within the Optimistic rollups group, utilizes smart contracts as “bridges” between the main network and its L2 blockchain. Developers have implemented a process called “fault-proof” (formerly fraud-proof), where distributed node operators supporting blockchain operations face penalties for dishonest actions or receive compensation for proven attempts to manipulate data.
All solutions within the Optimistic rollups group are built on the premise that any transactions in the network are considered valid until proven otherwise. This is why the term “optimism” reflects the essence of such solutions. Each transaction is subject to verification, with incorrect transactions being rejected and the node that submitted them to the blockchain facing punishment, known as “slashing.”
Due to batch processing of transactions, Optimism averages ten times lower fees than Ethereum at the base level. Since its launch in 2021, the protocol has saved users over $1 billion in ETH for gas fees.
Token and Airdrops
In April 2022, developers introduced a decentralized autonomous organization (DAO) called Optimism Collective and announced the airdrop of OP tokens, which function as governance tokens within the organization. A similar approach was later adopted by Offchain Labs, creating the Arbitrum Foundation and initiating the largest cryptocurrency airdrop in history for their ARB token.
Optimism initially announced several rounds of airdrops to incentivize users further to adopt or enhance the protocol, even those who missed the first token distribution round. In September of the current year, the team distributed 19.4 million OP tokens, valued at around $27 million, among 31,000 recipients who participated in Optimism Collective projects as part of the second planned airdrop.