A Pooler’s Guide to Optimism
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July 6th, 2022

Summer Time = Pool Season

The long-anticipated Layer 2 summer is finally here and with it, PoolTogether is coming to Optimism!

This guide covers everything you need to start your career as a true Optimism nerd. Get ready to become optimistic about your savings.

Meme by thumbsup.lens
Meme by thumbsup.lens

What’s Optimism

Optimism is a Layer-2 scaling solution that derives its’s name from its underlying technology, the Optimistic Rollup.

The Ethereum mainnet (Layer 1) has natural capacity limitations. As the number of people using Ethereum is steadily growing, the costs of using the network are increasing. Since NFTs started to hit mainstream, you can regularly experience the network slowing down when there was hype around a public mint.

All of this created an obvious need for scaling solutions - and this is where Optimism comes in.

Optimism allows for cheap, quick transactions while maintaining the primary security of the Ethereum network. Here is a TL;DR of its core features:

  • High Speed: Optimism is both fast to use and, at the same time, speeds up transactions on the Ethereum blockchain.
  • Low Fees: Optimism is rolling up many single transactions into batches to reduce the fees paid by users.
  • Secure: Optimism profits from the high level of security provided by Ethereum to keep its roll-ups safe.
  • Simple: Optimism is designed to be easy to use and simplify Ethereum.

The numbers speak for themselves:

Source: https://dune.com/optimismpbc/Optimism
Source: https://dune.com/optimismpbc/Optimism

So what sounds awfully technical at first turns out to be one of the most beginner-friendly ways to use DeFi today.

Ethereum Scaling

There are many approaches to scaling Ethereum: Sidechains (such as Polygon or Gnosis), Plasma, Validium, Layer-2s... All of them are important and have their rationale for existence. To describe it in the words of the Ethereum Foundation: “The whole is greater than the sum of its parts”.

Source: https://ethereum.org/en/developers/docs/scaling/
Source: https://ethereum.org/en/developers/docs/scaling/

Overall the goal of all Ethereum scaling solutions is to increase transaction speed & throughput without decreasing decentralization or security.

What’s a Rollup?

A Rollup is a Layer 2 Scaling Solution with the Optimistic Rollup being the most popular. Despite the similarity in the name, Optimism isn’t the only Optimistic Rollup - Arbitrum and Booba are other notable L2s using this technology.

In simple words, an “Optimistic Rollup is basically just a fancy way of describing a blockchain that piggy-backs off of the security of another "parent" blockchain.” Specifically, Optimistic Rollups take advantage of their parent chain's consensus mechanism (like PoW or PoS) instead of providing their own. In Optimism's case, this is Ethereum.”

Meme forked from https://medium.com/ethereum-optimism/all-gas-no-brakes-8b0f32afd466
Meme forked from https://medium.com/ethereum-optimism/all-gas-no-brakes-8b0f32afd466

It does this by batching (rolling up) multiple Ethereum transactions into one, moving them off-chain, and once those have settled, returning a receipt to the Ethereum mainnet. This process reduces the cost per individual by the number of transactions batched into one.

Optimism is ultimately designed as an extension to Ethereum. It exists so that Ethereum can succeed - so it’s built to resemble it as closely as possible.

Quick History Lesson

Let’s have a quick look into some of Optimism’s milestones until today:

The team around Optimism started out as Plasma Group and was first introduced to the public in January 2019. Plasma Group was a nonprofit organization with a focus on researching Ethereum scalability.

In June 2019, they announced the Optimistic Virtual Machine (OVM), a tool designed to support all Layer 2 protocols.

In January 2020, the Plasma Group took the next step and announced Optimism PBC — a Public Benefit Corporation dedicated to scaling Ethereum with a focus on fair access to public goods. The emphasis on public benefit was proven once again one month later when Optimism open-sourced the OVM.

Optimism mainnet was soft-launched in January 2021, and since December 2021, all dApps can permissionlessly deploy on the network.

The OP token and the Optimism Collective were finally introduced in April 2022, moving Optimism further towards community ownership.

Governance: Optimism Collective

Optimism and Ethereum are public goods. The open internet is for all of us, and it will take all of us to help maintain it.

The Optimism Collective describes itself as a large-scale experiment in decentralized governance. With the OP token in mind, you’d probably expect to see traditional token governance, but their approach consists of two parts they call houses:

  1. The Token House: OP token holders
  2. The Citizens' House: Holders of soulbound (non-transferrable) NFTs

Together, both houses have the mission to balance the collective’s long-term vision with short-term incentives.

Source: https://community.optimism.io/docs/governance/
Source: https://community.optimism.io/docs/governance/

The collective aims to be a new type of community designed to reward public goods and is dedicated to building a sustainable future for Ethereum.

What’s especially cool is that if you have previously participated in PoolTogether governance, you qualify for their $OP token airdrop. You can check here if you’re eligible.

👉 An overview of Optimism Governance

Using Optimism

Now that you’re all optimistic, you’re probably wondering, “where do I get started?”. With more than 160 dApps deployed, finding something to do shouldn’t be hard.

Adding Optimism to your wallet

Optimism is EVM-equivalent. That makes it easy to use with many existing Ethereum wallets. If you’re unsure about the wallet you’re using, follow this link for a complete list of wallets supporting the Optimism ecosystem.

https://www.optimism.io/apps/wallets
https://www.optimism.io/apps/wallets

In case you are using Metamask: The easiest way to add Optimism to your wallet is by using Chainlist. Simply connect your wallet and tap on “Add to Metamask”.

https://chainlist.org/chain/10
https://chainlist.org/chain/10

Transaction Fees

Like most networks, Optimism charges gas fees to carry out transactions. The native currency of Optimism is ETH. Therefore, all gas fees are paid in Optimistic ETH. To do transactions on Optimism, you need a sufficient Optimistic ETH balance, so make sure ETH is the first thing you get into your wallet.

Learn more about transaction fees on Optimism in the Optimism Help Center.

Getting funds on Optimism

Optimism has hands down one of the most powerful bridge-aggregators that’s out there.

You have one simple interface that offers the choice between bridging crypto you already own, using a fiat on-ramp, or withdrawing from various centralized exchanges.

https://app.optimism.io/bridge
https://app.optimism.io/bridge

Currently, their bridge supports sending assets from Ethereum, Polygon, BSC, Arbitrum, and Gnosis Chain. Direct deposits are available from Binance, Coinbase, FTX, Huobi, and KuCoin.

Who needs friction when you can have full composability?

PoolTogether on Optimism

Meme by Sabotage
Meme by Sabotage

Optimism makes using PoolTogether easier than ever before, thanks to its speed, low fees, and frictionless on-ramping.

Absolute value match

When I think about PoolTogether on Optimism, I think of a savings account that’s half full and not half empty.

Starting with one of the most important currencies in web3: vibes. Both communities have more in common than what drives them apart, so it feels like a natural fit straight away. Which project am I talking about here:

  • High emphasis on security
  • Open Source
  • Community-driven
  • Building for a decentralized future
  • Fun & rewarding

Answer: both of them!

Web3 has created an opportunity for a new reality to emerge. One where value is not extracted from but added to its users. Governed for and by the people that are directly impacted. PoolTogether is designed to be a public good - a savings account owned by the people. That makes Optimism the perfect infrastructure.

Optimized Prizes for Optimistic Savings

Just in time for the launch on Optimism, PoolTogether is introducing chain-specific prizes. That means Optimism has its very own prize tiering while maintaining the same chances to win across all networks.

Prize Savings on Optimism means 49 Prizes every. Single. Day. Next to the grand prize of 1,420 USDC, Optimism comes with a 69 USDC prize tier. We all love the funny numbers!

Chain-Optimized Prizes!
Chain-Optimized Prizes!

Did someone say OP rewards?

In addition to the thousands of prizes PoolTogether already distributes, Optimistic Poolers will have the chance to earn additional incentives on top of that.

PoolTogether is part of Optimism’s Phase One and will distribute 450,000 OP tokens over the coming seven months. How these will be distributed will be announced soon.

What do I need to get started?

  1. ETH for gas (Try their Bridge)
  2. USDC for a deposit (Need to swap a token? Uniswap, Sushi or Zapper are some examples)
  3. A little bit of patience & luck 🤞🍀

Saving with PoolTogether on Optimism works just the same as on any other network. You can deposit the USDC stablecoin and need a little ETH - over 69x less than on Ethereum mainnet - to cover the transaction fees.

PoolTogether’s user documentation holds a great guide for Using PoolTogether on Optimism, if you haven’t done that before.

And now? Come back any time to check for prizes or make another deposit to level up your odds. The more you pool, the more you save, the more you win. PoolTogether is your savings account powered by the blockchain.

How did we get here?

Okok - we got all that covered now. But why does PoolTogether deploy on Optimism now? Because the community decided to do so.

One very engaged Pooler used the momentum of a Discord chat to carry out a temperature check on our governance forum. After a week of discussion and analysis, the community’s consensus hardened, and a proposal to authorize an Optimism prize pool was introduced to PoolTogether governance. While PoolTogether’s core devs are focussed on the upcoming Prize Pool Network the DAO went full circle on community.

Project: Optimism is a community-led initiative supported by PoolTogether Inc.

Project Optimism was introduced as another step for PoolTogether toward community ownership and decentralization. Shoutout to drcpu, McOso, underthesea, and Max’ for making the Optimism deployment possible.

Outro

Thanks for reading, fren. You can collect this article as NFT on Optimism for free if you liked it!

Still unsure about something? We have an incredible community full of helpful people. Drop by on Discord or Telegram and ask us, or get involved.

And if all that still wasn’t enough, I’ve got you covered with a list of resources to help you dive into Optimism’s ecosystem even further. 🔴✨

Optimism Resource List

Official Links & Socials

Governance

Using Optimism

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