Optimism (OP)

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What is Optimism (OP)?

A simple Optimism definition is a layer 2 scaling solution built on top of Ethereum.


The project aims to optimize and solve Ethereum’s scaling problem by providing near-instant transaction settlement at a fraction of the cost of the Ethereum mainnet.

The development of the Optimism (L2) superchain is the next development in the Optimism roadmap. First launched in early 2023, the superchain acts as a platform for other chains to integrate their siloed infrastructure with Optimism and form a comprehensive, interoperable ecosystem.

What is Optimism (OP)?

Key Takeaways

  • Optimism bundles assume that all transactions within a bundle are valid.
  • Optimism dramatically lowers the cost of transactions.
  • It allows for a significantly higher volume of transactions to be processed through the use of bundling.
  • Optimism airdrops have significantly impacted the price of the OP token historically.
  • ZK rollups and Optimism both solve the Ethereum scaling solution but in different ways, with different types of transactions being preferred for each.

How Does Optimism Work?

Optimism moves the transaction layer off of the Layer 1 (L1) and onto its L2. It achieves this by bundling transactions into a single settlement. Every transaction within the bundle is assumed to be valid, hence the name “optimistic.”

The bundle of transactions is then sent back to the L1 and settled in a single transaction, lowering the average cost by splitting the transaction fee across every transaction. Additionally, since every calculation is assumed to be valid, the chain does not have to execute additional calculations to verify them. This significantly lowers the cost of processing the bundle.

Optimistic Rollups vs. ZK-Rollups

Both are L2 rollup solutions, but their approach varies. The main differentiating factor is that Optimistic rollups assume that every transaction within a bundle is valid. Whereas, ZK-rollups create validity proof for every bundle after it has moved to the L2.

Optimistic rollups are preferred for executing smart contracts, while ZK is better suited to simple transactions. Another aspect to consider when comparing the two is withdrawal times. Optimistic rollups take longer because they have built-in challenge periods.

How to Use Optimism

Utilizing Optimism is as simple as using the Ethereum mainnet. It requires adding the Optimism network to a Web3 wallet as well as some ETH to begin transacting.

Users can also fund their Optimism account using the Optimism Bridge or via a custom bridge for ERC-20 tokens not supported by the OP Mainnet Standard bridge.

What is Optimism Crypto Token OP?

The Optimism token (OP) is the Optimism governance token. It is designed to incentivize and reward a productive, healthy ecosystem.

Optimism has a total supply of 4,294,967,296 OP tokens. Of these, 19% were set aside for airdrops, of which 5% were released in the first airdrop and approximately 0.27% in the second one.

The full distribution and vesting schedule is broken down by:

25% – Ecosystem Fund
Reserved for the funding of community projects within the Optimism ecosystem. 

20% – Retroactive Public Goods Funding
Rewards for projects that positively impact the public good. The Optimism Foundation can tap into this fund at any time.

19% – User Airdrops
Used to reward active community members, token holders, and stakeholders. The first airdrop awarded 5% of the total supply to the public.
19% – Core Contributors
Core team members behind the Optimism Collective initiative. Each of these allocations comes with an extended lock-up period.
17% – Sugar Xaddies (Project Investors)
Early investors who initially supported Optimism. Each of these allocations also came with an extended lock up period.

What is Optimism Crypto Token OP?
Source: optimism.io

How to Send and Receive Crypto on the Optimism Network

To send and receive crypto on the Optimism Network, you must first add the network to one of your Web3 wallet addresses.

From there, you will need to bridge some ETH to pay for gas fees when you start moving other cryptos on the network. Once you have successfully bridged some ETH to the Optimism Network, you can start bridging your other ERC tokens. You will then be able to start sending and receiving digital assets across the Optimism Network.

Additionally, users of the Optimism Network can use the native Optimism Explorer to review transactions they have made.

Optimism Pros and Cons


  • Fast
  • Inexpensive
  • Viable scaling solution
  • Partnership with Coinbase


  • Longer withdrawal times (compared to ZK rollups)
  • Tokenomics
  • Airdrops have a large impact on the price

The Bottom Line

Optimism is providing a viable scaling solution for the Ethereum Network. Its roadmap and the development of the Optimism Superchain are further pushing the boundaries of high-frequency transactions and advancing rollup technology.

However, the distribution and vesting schedule of the Optimism token should make holders pay attention to future airdrops as they have historically made a significant impact on price.


What is Optimism (L2) in simple terms?

Is Optimism L1 or L2?

What does the optimist coin do?

What is Optimism crypto used for?

Is Optimism crypto a good investment?

Is Optimism part of Ethereum?

Can Optimism coin reach $10?


  1. OP Mainnet Gateway (App.optimism)
  2. OP Allocations | Optimism Docs (Community.optimism)
  3. OP Allocations | Optimism Docs (Community.optimism)
  4. OP Allocations | Optimism Docs (Community.optimism)
  5. OP Mainnet (ETH) Blockchain Explorer

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Iain Taylor
Crypto Journalist
Iain Taylor
Crypto Journalist

Born and raised in Northern Ireland before moving to Halifax, Canada in 2007. Iain has quadruple citizenship status and has been involved in the cryptocurrency space since 2020. He completed a study in Bitcoin, Blockchain Technology, and Cryptocurrencies at Dalhousie University and has written professionally on the industry since September 2021. He started out writing for a blockchain education company before accepting a position as a junior writer for the North American marketing arm of the L1 blockchain WAVES. He also spent time with Bankless Consulting as a content writer and spends most of his time these days freelancing and…