Ethereum Rollup Arbitrum to Release Major Update

The update will halve fees, increase transaction speed, and make it easier for Ethereum Virtual Machine-compatible apps to build on Arbitrum.

AccessTimeIconApr 8, 2022 at 7:01 p.m. UTC
Updated May 11, 2023 at 4:50 p.m. UTC

Offchain Labs, the company behind Ethereum (ETH) scaling solution Arbitrum, announced this week the testnet launch of Nitro – a test environment for a pending major update to the optimistic rollup’s technical stack.

  • According to Offchain, the update to Arbitrum will cheapen fees, speed up transactions, and make it easier for native Ethereum apps to interface with the Layer 2 chain.
  • Offchain founder Steven Goldfeder told CoinDesk that Arbitrum’s fees, which were usually around 50 cents to $1 before the update, will be cut by at least 50%.
  • Rollups like Arbitrum scale the Ethereum network by processing transactions and executing smart contracts – the mini-computer programs that run on blockchains – on separate rollup-specific chains.
  • The data generated on Arbitrum gets bundled up and passed back down to Ethereum, where Ethereum network actors can check whether the data is valid.
  • Last week, a $625 million theft from Ethereum’s Ronin sidechain showed the potential vulnerability of sidechains, which, unlike rollups, do not inherit their security from a layer 1 blockchain.
  • In March, Offchain also announced Arbitrum AnyTrust chains – a cheaper, faster, more centralized alternative to its optimistic rollup.
  • Arbitrum is currently Ethereum’s largest rollup solution, with nearly $2.5 billion total value locked (TVL), according to DefiiLlama.

Edit: August 30, 2022 15:24 UTC: Clarifies that the update is in testnet.


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Sam Kessler

Sam is CoinDesk's deputy managing editor for tech and protocols. He reports on decentralized technology, infrastructure and governance. He owns ETH and BTC.

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