Optimism to roll out new Superchain features for layer-3 devs

Ethereum scaling solution provider Optimism is looking to take its blockchain throughput a step further by onboarding layer-3 applications on top of the OP Stack.

On May 8, the Optimism team said that they were welcoming layer-3s to the Superchain where they can build on the OP Stack and share revenue with the Optimism Collective.

The OP Stack is the open standard codebase that powers development on Superchain, but it “isn’t limited to L2 chain deployers and app builders,” said the team before adding “it can also be leveraged by an ecosystem of L3s.”

Optimism Superchain is a network of layer-2 chains, known as OP Chains, which share security, communication layers, and open-source technology.

Layer-3s will have access to benefits like eligibility for retro funding, airdrops, and developer grant programs, but may have limitations on certain features like interoperability, it noted.

Layer-3 protocols are built on top of layer-2s to host application-specific decentralized applications, providing enhanced solutions for scaling, performance, interoperability, customization, and costs.

Blockchain layers. Source: CoinGecko

There are two key features coming to the OP Stack to support L3 builders — custom gas tokens, and “Plasma Mode.”

Custom gas tokens, a highly requested feature in the final stages of development, allow developers to use a layer-2 token as the native gas token for a layer-3 protocol. This lowers onboarding costs as there is no need to perform costly transactions bringing gas tokens from L1 to L2, and then onto L3.

Plasma Mode is an alternative to the data availability layer which can reduce the fixed overhead cost of operating an L3 compared to an L2. Data availability refers to the ability of network participants to access and verify the data stored on the blockchain.

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The goal is to make the Optimism Superchain more accessible to developers by offering layer-3 features and functionality.

However, not all are convinced that L3 is the way forward for Ethereum scaling. In April, Polygon CEO Marc Boiron argued that layer-3 networks were not necessary and could increase security risks to Ethereum by capturing value from the network.

On May 9, Boiron reiterated his stance claiming that “L3s are worse than L2s,” before adding:

“L2s allow you to settle back to Ethereum frequently and quickly. L3s do not. They always need to pass through their L2 overlords.”

Ethereum co-founder Vitalik Buterin commented on L3s in late 2022 stating that they will serve a different purpose to scaling by providing “customized functionality.”

Rollup-based Optimism, or OP Mainnet, is the second largest layer-2 network with a total value locked of $6.76 billion giving it a market share of around 18%, according to L2beat.

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