Layer 2 Optimism to Remove Whitelist and Open Floodgates to Devs

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Optimism, the Layer 2 optimistic rollup network, will remove its whitelist “very soon,” opening the floodgates to developers working with Ethereum Virtual Machine (EVM).

Announced on Dec. 11, the move will follow roughly one year of whitelisted development. The team said the whitelisting process had allowed them to “communicate directly with projects” and coordinate upgrades while maintaining “a modicum of oversight.” 

“As long as you completed the form, you were greenlit,” Optimism said, noting that 90 applications have been successful so far.

Reducing Costs

David Hoffman of crypto media outlet Bankless described the removal of Optimism’s whitelist as a “one-way” decision signposting the team’s commitment to launching a permanent mainnet.

Hoffman also emphasized the advantages offered by Optimism’s “EVM equivalent” rollups, such as “one-click deployment” for developers building on RVM. Comparing Optimism to recently trending zero-knowledge (ZK) rollups, Hoffman predicted that EVM equivalence will quicken innovation by reducing costs associated with development and innovation.

Anthony Sassano, host of The Daily Gwei podcast, predicted the removal of the whitelist will drive a new wave of adoption on the Optimism network. “Anyone will be able to deploy any arbitrary code they want to the network,” he said.

Mining Incentives

Sassano also saidt the whitelist was “holding the project back,” enabling its rivals to gain a lead in key adoption metrics.

According to L2beat, Optimism currently ranks as Ethereum’s fifth-largest Layer 2 with a total value locked (TVL) of $383M, dwarfed by Arbitrum’s $2.15B, dYdX’s $985M, and even Optimism fork Boba Network’s $709M. Optimism also ranks third among L2’s by DeFi TVL with roughly $300M.

Despite Optimism lagging behind its competitors, analysts including Polynya are flagging the expected launch of liquidity mining incentives on Uniswap’s Layer 2 deployments as a likely catalyst for increased adoption. In February, a16z, the Silicon Valley venture capital firm, led a $25M Series A fundraising round in Optimism. As part of its program to support L2 development, the Ethereum Foundation has provided Optimism with an audit-related grant in tandem with one for Arbitrum.

Polynya also noted expectations for Vitalik Buterin’s post-merge upgrade proposal EIP-4488 to significantly reduce the gas fees associated with rollups by optimizing calldata compression.

Correction: Corrected on Dec. 15 to report that the Ethereum Foundation has not invested in Optimism but it has provided an audit-related grant to the network in tandem with one for Arbitrum.

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