In a rapidly evolving digital landscape, Optimism is pioneering a path towards a collaborative Superchain ecosystem—one where all chains are on a level playing field, and where that which benefits one benefits all. The Collective focus is bringing users onchain, regardless of which OP Chain that is. As Optimism transitions into an open-source Superchain, dedicated to sustainably funding public goods, it's crucial to understand the changes and the principles guiding this transformation. This blog post will dive into what it means for the Collective to uphold chain neutrality as we work to cultivate a vibrant, successful Superchain ecosystem that benefits every stakeholder.
We’re excited to share how we’re thinking about key Superchain components, the future of Optimism Governance in line with the Law of Chains, and advancing technical capabilities to support a multi-chain structure—all while fostering an inclusive and thriving ecosystem. Let’s go!
OP Mainnet is the name of the original L2 chain that was deployed to Optimism, formerly known as “Optimism” itself. In the Superchain vision, OP Mainnet is one L2 chain among many, communicating seamlessly with chains like Base, Zora Network, PGN, Redstone, and many others. Optimism, meanwhile, is no single blockchain. It represents the ethos of the entire Superchain network and the Optimism Collective: a group of aligned ecosystem participants who believe that cooperation is the winning strategy, and that individuals should profit proportional to their impact. Optimism is the totality of the technology it runs on, the system it’s governed by, and the community that breathes life into it.
How should you think about OP Mainnet in the context of the Superchain?
As the first chain, OP Mainnet has fostered a burgeoning ecosystem of apps, users, and developers who call it their home, and OP Mainnet will continue to be maintained as neutral blockspace. The Collective will continue to support OP Mainnet, but we do expect its role over time to decrease — as apps on OP Mainnet become their own chains (or deploy to many) and the Optimism ecosystem unlocks improved interoperability. In reality, as the Superchain takes shape, it will be the true home of apps and developers in the ecosystem, so the ecosystem will begin to look dramatically different as we tackle this next leg of the scaling journey.
As the Superchain takes shape, our first priority is emphasizing cooperation, not competition, as a core tenant of the Superchain when it comes to OP Chains.
The Foundation’s focus is to encourage growth across the entire Superchain, ensuring a positive sum game for all. Here are some ways we—together with the broader Collective—are putting this into action:
The Law of Chains, a key governing document for the Superchain, was ratified by the Collective earlier this year. This means that—in addition to always staying on the latest and greatest tech—OP Chains which share upgrades with the Superchain are an explicitly acknowledged stakeholder. Optimism Governance will be responsible for upholding key protections articulated in that document, for Chain Governors, Users, and Service Providers alike. You can read more here.
The third round of Retroactive Public Goods Funding (RetroPGF) was expanded to include public goods on Base and other OP Chains. RetroPGF is about recognizing impact across the entire Superchain ecosystem, and ensuring those projects are rewarded appropriately for their impact. To get there, the Collective is running regular experiments to consistently improve RetroPGF, with the most recent round providing a lot of valuable learnings for future iterations.
Optimism Governance Intents have been updated to be inclusive of OP Chains, and the Collective is working to extend the grants program beyond OP Mainnet as well.
Finally, we’re laser-focused on growing the Superchain ecosystem with growth campaigns like We ❤️ the Art, that support all OP Chains, not just OP Mainnet.
Building together and helping each other is the ethos of the Optimism Collective and essential to the Superchain vision. Much of the work being done at the Foundation and across the Collective in the next governance cycle is about getting all OP Chains on even footing with OP Mainnet in terms of protections and benefits that are covered under the Law of Chains.
Finally, the Collective is working hard to make it possible to securely upgrade all OP Chains in unison, so all OP Chain operators can easily run compatible versions of software and benefit immediately from hard forks and security upgrades.
There are a couple of projects underway that will be shipped in a series of proposed protocol upgrades and governance votes, which aim to enable seamless OP Chain upgrades and represent the first code changes that make the Superchain real. For more details on this, check out OP Labs’ recent blog post on the subject.
The Superchain vision is expansive. If it is successful, it could shape the way we use the internet for decades to come. All of the steps outlined in this post are laying the foundation for that future. One small thing everyone can do to to make this period of transition smooth is to refer to the chain formerly known as “Optimism” as “OP Mainnet”—particularly if you maintain public-facing resources.
Beyond that, we encourage you to keep informed about all the changes by reading through the Collective’s Governance updates.
And, as always,Stay Optimistic! ✨🔴