Optimism Network Launches Testnet Fault-Proof System in Pursuit of Decentralization
OP Labs, the developer of the Optimism network, has unveiled a testnet version of its fault-proof system, according to a blog post on October 3. This system aims to create a more decentralized and efficient Superchain once the testing phase is completed. Currently, the new system is deployed on the Optimism Goerli network.
The Challenge of Centralization
Currently, OP Stack-based networks, including Optimism and Base, rely on centralized sequencers to bundle transactions and submit them to Ethereum. However, a major concern arises when users are unable to submit fraud proofs if the sequencer submits incorrect data. This opens the possibility of fraudulent transactions being confirmed if an attacker gains control over the sequencer. L2Beat has issued a warning on this risk in their report on Optimism, stressing the need for users to trust the block proposer to submit accurate L1 state roots.
Meeting the Decentralization Standard
Optimistic rollups, such as OP Stack-based networks, rely on Ethereum for security. In an essay published in January 2021, Ethereum co-founder Vitalik Buterin emphasized that optimistic rollups should enable users to submit fraud proofs to block fraudulent withdrawals to Ethereum in order to achieve true decentralization. While Buterin acknowledged that some rollups may begin with temporary centralization as they develop a fraud-proof system, he emphasized the importance of working towards decentralization.
Fulfilling the Goal of Decentralization
OP Labs claims that their new fault-proof system will contribute to decentralization on OP Stack networks. The system is designed to enable secure bridging without a central fallback, aligning with the goal of removing centralization. The new system is also modular, allowing each network to customize its fraud prevention system. It consists of three separate components: a fault-proof program (FPP), a fault-proof virtual machine (FPVM), and a dispute game protocol. By implementing these components separately, each network can build a fault-proof system tailored to its specific needs.
Enhancing Diversity in the Optimism Superchain
The introduction of the fault-proof system is expected to foster greater diversity within the Optimism Superchain, ultimately strengthening the overall ecosystem’s security. The system offers the flexibility for a network to choose zero-knowledge proofs (ZK-proofs) as a type of fraud-proof. While ZK-proofs are often associated with zero-knowledge rollups, they are not commonly used in optimistic rollups like Optimism. This inclusion of ZK-proofs as an option further expands the possibilities for fraud prevention.
Building the Superchain
OP Labs has been actively working on building an interconnected web of blockchain networks called the “Superchain.” The OP Stack, a collection of software tools, was created to facilitate the development of custom blockchain networks towards this objective. Avail Network has developed “OpEVM” software with a similar objective, but using Avail as the base layer instead of Ethereum. Other competitors in the Superchain space include Polygon’s ZK Supernets and the zero-knowledge Ethereum Virtual Machine Hyperchain.
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