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About Optimism

Optimism is a Layer 2 scaling solution designed for the Ethereum blockchain. Also known as an “optimistic rollup,” Optimism aims to improve transaction speeds, reduce gas fees, and enhance scalability on Ethereum by handling transactions off-chain and settling transaction data on Layer 1.

The Optimism protocol was created in 2019 by researchers at Princeton and is now being developed by Optimism PBC. It utilizes an “optimistic” approach that assumes transactions are valid by default and only checks for fraudulent transactions when challenged. This allows it to bundle, process and settle many transactions faster and cheaper than by transacting directly on Layer 1 Ethereum.

How Optimism Works

Optimism relies on a few key components to enable fast, cheap transactions while ensuring validity and security through the underlying Ethereum blockchain.

Optimistic Rollups

At their core, optimistic rollups like Optimism bundle hundreds of transactions off-chain into a single transaction. They form a chain of transaction batches, known as a side chain.

This transaction batching allows the computation and storage to happen off-chain. Only the transaction data gets put on-chain, drastically reducing the amount of data on Layer 1. This is what provides the improved throughput and lower fees.

Validity Proofs

Optimism uses validity proofs to ensure the integrity of transactions on the side chain. When a transaction batch is submitted to Ethereum, a cryptographic proof is generated to prove the validity of all the transactions in that batch.

Multiple sequencers operate separately to efficiently build transaction batches with proofs. As long as a single sequencer produces valid batches, the chain remains secure.

Fraud Proofs

If any invalid transaction ever occurs, Optimism uses fraud proofs to catch them. Anyone can challenge the transaction batches submitted to Ethereum.

If a transaction is found to be fraudulent, the protocol initiates remedies like reversing the fraudulent transactions and penalizing the culprits. This provides the security guarantee that if anything goes wrong, it can be fixed.

Benefits of Optimism

Optimism introduces several major improvements over transacting solely on Layer 1 Ethereum:


By bundling transactions off-chain, optimistic rollups overcome Ethereum’s limited throughput. Instead of 10-30 transactions per second maximum on Layer 1, optimistic rollups can handle over 2,000 transactions per second today.

This significant throughput increase comes from the transaction batching and computing transactions off-chain before submitting the data to Ethereum.

Lower Fees

With greater throughput, optimistic rollups spread gas costs over more transactions. This means extremely low fees, often 1000x cheaper than transacting directly on Ethereum L1.

A single transaction batch on Optimism may cost $50-100 in total gas fees. Spread over hundreds of transactions, each user might pay just cents per transaction.


Optimism is fully compatible with the Ethereum Virtual Machine (EVM) and uses the same address format. This makes Optimism simple to integrate and support from wallets, applications and protocols built for Ethereum.

Developers do not need to change anything at the smart contract layer to work with Optimism. It looks and feels very similar from a developer experience.

Use Cases for Optimism

Optimism is well suited for any applications that need to efficiently process many transactions at low cost, especially:

Decentralized Finance (DeFi)

DeFi protocols like lending and decentralized exchanges (DEXs) can operate at scale on Optimism for a fraction of the users’ costs. Trading fees drop from $10-50 on Ethereum to $0.10-$0.50 on Optimism.

Non-Fungible Tokens (NFTs)

NFT minting and transactions like transfers and royalties heavily benefit from Optimism’s throughput. What would cost $50+ on Ethereum L1 costs cents on Optimistic rollups.


Blockchain-based games that have frequent transactions around assets and game logic can operate smoothly and cheaply using Optimism, enhancing the user experience.

Challenges Facing Optimism

While Optimism offers significant improvements, some challenges remain:

  • Requires 7 days to withdraw funds from Optimism back to Ethereum as a security precaution. This may hinder more active trading.
  • Technical complexity around vérifiability, data availability, sequencer incentives and fraud proofs still needs robust, long-term solutions.
  • Needs extensive developer experience improvements for smoother dApp integration.

The Future of Optimism

As optimistic rollups gain adoption, improvements and innovations will further cement their advantages:

Adoption Rates

Dozens of DeFi apps have already integrated Optimism, managing $1.5 billion+ in total value locked. Adoption is rapidly accelerating as software improves and the benefits become more known.

New Features

Faster bridges, shorter exit times of ~1 day, airdrops to community members, governance tokens and more will provide better speed, convenience and incentives around Optimism.

Competition with Other Layer 2 Solutions

As optimistic and ZK rollups mature, alongside validium solutions, different layer 2 technologies will compete and specialize around speed, security and features offered. This will maximize innovation for Ethereum scaling.

How OP Token Price is Determined

The Optimism (OP) cryptocurrency operates in a volatile market, making the understanding of its price determination crucial. The price of OP token is fundamentally shaped by supply and demand principles in the cryptocurrency market. The high demand for optimism combined with its limited supply tends to push the prices higher. Conversely, a decrease in demand or an increase in supply can lead to a decline in its price.

Additionally, market sentiment, investor behavior, and the general economic environment play a significant role in price determination. Dramatic news about the digital currency sector can also cause fluctuations. Moreover, the technological advancement of the Optimism network also influences the price, as it contributes to its demand among tech-savvy investors.

In essence, the price of OP is not arbitrarily set or controlled but is rather a reflection of various market factors that are continuously changing. Despite the high volatility, there’s an underlying market logic behind the movements in the OP crypto price. This understanding can help potential investors in making informed decisions when investing in optimistic cryptocurrency.


Optimism introduces a transformative layer 2 protocol already demonstrating 2000+ TPS, fees 1000x cheaper than Ethereum mainnet, and seamless compatibility. As adoption grows and the technology progresses, Optimism puts scalable, low-cost blockchain applications within reach.


Optimism (OP) is a layer 2 scaling solution for Ethereum that aims to improve transaction speeds and reduce costs through off-chain transactions while still leveraging the security of the Ethereum blockchain, as explained in detail on the Optimism website.

Optimism was founded in 2019 by researchers from Princeton University including Jinglan Wang and Kain Warwick. The project originated from academic research into rollups and other layer 2 scaling solutions.

Optimism uses an “optimistic rollup” architecture where transactions are batched off-chain and then posted to Ethereum in a compressed form. Fraud proofs allow any invalid transactions to be challenged on-chain. This enables significant scalability improvements over transacting directly on layer 1 as outlined in this Coindesk article.

The key use case for Optimism is to provide faster and cheaper transactions for decentralized applications (dApps) built on Ethereum. Popular DeFi projects like Synthetix and Uniswap utilize Optimism to boost transaction throughput.

OP tokens can be purchased on major exchanges including Binance, Coinbase, and FTX. Users first need to acquire ETH which can then be swapped for OP.

For secure long-term storage of OP tokens, using a non-custodial wallet like the open-source IronWallet allows users to control their private keys. IronWallet supports both hardware wallets and software wallets to suit different security needs.

Unlike some other layer 2 solutions focused on payments, Optimism is designed as a generalized scaling solution for smart contracts and complex dApps, making it more flexible.

Like Ethereum, Optimism uses a proof-of-stake consensus mechanism so OP tokens must be staked, not mined. There is no direct mining of OP tokens as explained in the project’s documentation. Staking allows token holders to help secure the network in exchange for rewards.

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