The goal for Optimism is that the network will move a step closer toward its ambition of becoming a “Superchain” of many interoperable and composable blockchains. The big U.S. crypto exchange Coinbase announced plans earlier this year to build its new Base network using Optimism, and the crypto-friendly venture capital firm Andreessen Horowitz (a16z) is backing a new client software for the project.
“Bedrock was named Bedrock for a reason,” Karl Floersch, CEO and co-founder of OP Labs, which supports development on Optimism, told CoinDesk. “It is the foundation for the Superchain.”
The Superchain would constitute a network of chains all built with Optimism’s OP Stack. The Superchain will combine these mini-chains together so that they are able to communicate amongst each other in one environment.
“The Superchain is the long-term vision, which is essentially many OP chains, which all work together using the OP Stack standard,” Floersch said.
Bedrock aims to lower gas fees by 40% by implementing “an optimized data compression strategy,” and will introduce support for reorgs, which is when a blockchain produces two blocks at the same time and it temporarily creates a duplicate blockchain. The code change in Bedrock will mitigate reorgs by reducing confirmations for deposits to 1 minute from 10 minutes.
Bedrock aims to lower gas fees by 40% by implementing “an optimized data compression strategy,” and introduces mechanisms that will mitigate reorgs, which is when a blockchain produces two blocks at the same time and it temporarily creates a duplicate blockchain. The code change will reduce confirmations for deposits to 1 minute from 10 minutes.
The upgrade, sometimes technically referred to as a hard fork, will also improve proof modularity for its OP Stack, which is an open-source toolkit for developers so they can build in customizable environments on Optimism, as well as introduce other code changes that will improve node performance. Improvements to proof modularity means that after the upgrade, validity proofs and fault proofs can both be used with the OP Stack.
In addition, Bedrock will help move Optimism to a multi-client ecosystem, meaning there would be at least two versions of software used to interact with the network; according to Floersch, Optimism is the first layer 2 protocol to have multiple clients – seen as bolstering the system’s resilience by eliminating single points of failure.
Client software is used to run the blockchain, and layer 1 blockchains like Ethereum rely on multiple clients to help maintain the security of the network. (If there’s a bug in one client, then the chain can rely on other clients to keep the blockchain running.)
The upgrade is expected to take place at 16:00 UTC on Tuesday and should last two to four hours. Deposits and withdrawals will be unavailable during the period, and the chain will halt temporarily.
What is Optimism?
Optimism is a scaling solution for Ethereum, where users are able to transact for cheaper on the blockchain while inheriting the underlying security of Ethereum.
Optimism uses a type of technology that is called an “optimistic rollup,” which “rolls up” a bunch of transactions into a single transaction. This then increases the speed of the transaction and lowers gas fees, and then is posted back to the underlying, more expensive blockchain.
Optimistic rollups assume that all transactions that go through are valid, and give the network a certain amount of time (usually a week) to dispute transactions that are spoofed with.
The layer 2 landscape on top of Ethereum has seen some intense competition over the past few months. According to L2Beat, Arbitrum, another optimistic scaling solution and Optimism’s biggest rival, leads the way with $5.69 billion total value locked (TVL), a measure of collateral socked into decentralized-finance (DeFi) protocols on the network, while Optimism has $1.68 billion TVL.
Bedrock is supposed to make Optimism more competitive with Arbitrum.
ZK Rollups – an alternative to optimistic rollups – have also gained momentum, giving users more choice on how they might transact for faster and cheaper on top of Ethereum. Polygon and Matter Labs both came out with their zkEVMs, which is a type of ZK Rollup that is compatible with the Ethereum Virtual Machine.
“This is a big deal for OP mainnet,” said Floersch.
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