Arbitrum Foundation Says 'Orbit' for Layer-3 Networks Now Ready for Mainnet

Orbit is a program for developers to spin up their own layer-3 blockchains atop Arbitrum, which in turn is the largest layer-2 network atop the Ethereum blockchain.

AccessTimeIconOct 26, 2023 at 7:46 p.m. UTC
Updated Apr 9, 2024 at 11:03 p.m. UTC

The Arbitrum Foundation said new "layer-3" networks created via the project's "Orbit" program can now settle to the Arbitrum main network.

The foundation, an organization that says it's dedicated to the decentralization of Arbitrum, which is the biggest layer-2 network atop the Ethereum blockchain, made the announcement Thursday on X (formerly Twitter).

The move followed "months of development," according to the post.

Orbit is a program started earlier this year that blockchain developers can use to spin up their own layer-2 or layer-3 networks, using Arbitrum's technology. Previously, these new layer-3 networks were only settling on an Arbitrum test network, according to Steven Goldfeder, CEO of Offchain Labs, the primary developer behind Arbitrum.

The Orbit program was one of the first announcements by the foundation when it was formed in March in an effort to decentralize Arbitrum. In June, Offchain Labs released Orbit documentation for developer-only networks or "devnets."

According to Offchain Labs, Orbit lets developers “create your own dedicated chain that settles to one of Arbitrum's layer 2 or L2 chains,” on Arbitrum One, Arbitrum Nova, Arbitrum Goerli and Arbitrum Sepolia.

Projects including Syndr had previously disclosed that they had chosen Arbitrum's Orbit network to build on, at that point settling to Arbitrum's Goerli testnet.

The move comes as the biggest developers of Ethereum layer-2 networks, including not just Arbitrum but OP Labs (behind Optimism), Polygon and Matter Labs (behind zkSync), are making their technology available to builders to clone or modify for their own use. The idea is that the projects can derive benefits or possibly licensing or other revenue from providing the blueprint or foundation for additional networks that theoretically would be interoperable or at least compatible.

"Today's announcement of Arbitrum Orbit's mainnet readiness as well as the initial cohort of 10 Orbit chains marks a big moment for the continued proliferation of the Arbitrum technology," Goldfeder told CoinDesk in a direct message.

Separately, Arbitrum Foundation said Wednesday that it has tapped Celestia, a modular solution, for Orbit to use them as data availability layer. Apps built on top of Orbit will have the option to publish their data to Celestia, once the solution goes live.

Orbit is one of many customizable blockchain stacks that have come to market over the past few months. Arbitrum’s competitor, OP Labs, behind the layer-2 chain OP Mainnet (formerly named Optimism), has its own version of a customizable environment, called the OP Stack, which currently powers crypto exchange Coinbase layer-2 network, Base.

Edited by Bradley Keoun.


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Margaux Nijkerk

Margaux Nijkerk reports on the Ethereum protocol and L2s. A graduate of Johns Hopkins and Emory universities, she has a masters in International Affairs & Economics. She holds a small amount of ETH and other altcoins.