This month marked a momentous first for Ethereum: a publicly listed US company launched its very own OP Chain powered by Optimism.
For the Optimism Collective, the launch of Base signifies much more than technological validation of the OP Stack.
The start of a long-term commitment to Optimism and the Superchain
The birth of a new economic model for the Optimism Collective.
Proof that a sustainable economic model and Open Source values don’t have to be at odds.
The Optimism Collective was born to dispel the myth that public goods cannot be profitable. The OP Stack is an MIT-licensed public good. Anyone can use or fork it however they see fit.
And yet, the benefits of a shared standard turn the incentive to fork into an incentive to coordinate, driving disparate chains to cohere into a collective network – the Superchain. By encoding a fee split into that shared standard, the original Optimistic Vision starts to emerge: sustainable funding for the open-source code that upholds an optimistic economy.
This is sustainability in action.
Let’s talk about the Base collaboration, the example it sets for the Collective, and what it means for the future of the Superchain.
Coinbase’s decision to build and incubate Base on the OP Stack was cause for palpable excitement. At the same time, it brought forth pressing questions:
How would introducing new chains shift the balance in Optimism’s economics?
How would OP Chains balance decentralization and neutrality with their own interests?
How could we remain unified in development efforts, and avoid fragmenting work?
We’d known that the day would come to transition from a single chain to a Superchain. But this made it real. Our journey to forge ahead with Base wasn't just about answering these questions; it was about setting a precedent.
Ultimately, we were able to chart the new waters of this first-of-its kind collaboration because we were fundamentally aligned with Base on three things:
If you want to go far, go together: The scalability solution which brings crypto to the masses will not be built by one person, team, or organization. It will be built, slowly but surely, by a global network of contributors.
Users first. From Day 1, Base was dedicated to operating in a way that prioritized their users–elevating them even above their own interests as a chain operator. Hence, Coinbase and Base’s commitment to the Law of Chains.
Decentralization matters. It was clear that Base was not here just to make another “L2 in name only” that was unilaterally controlled by a single party. They were here to put power in the hands of the people.
There are two main components to Optimism’s collaboration with Base:
Protocol Management: A shared commitment to the rules for upgrades and sequencing of OP Chains.
Economics and Governance: Terms of a fee split to the Collective, and a long-term token grant to Base.
Let’s dive into each.
Last month, the Optimism Foundation introduced the law Law of Chains: a proposed framework for how Optimism Governance can evolve from overseeing the singular OP Mainnet, to supervising multiple OP Chains, produced from the OP Stack (including Base) via governance of the core protocol.
As of now, Base's upgrade authority is shared via a 2/2 multisig between the Optimism Foundation and Base. This multisig will be used to respond to emergency scenarios, and to execute protocol upgrades based on Optimism Governance decisions.
That means that today, even before adoption of the Law of Chains, Base and OP Mainnet will share upgrades, so the chains’ blockspace remains compatible, homogenous, and eventually interoperable in a Superchain future. How those upgrades evolve is up to Optimism Governance.
Should the Law of Chains be ratified, the next step is to transition this responsibility to execute upgrades for Base, OP Mainnet, and other OP Chains, to a decentralized Security Council. Like the current Base 2/2 multisig, the Security Council will execute upgrades at the direction of Optimism Governance. The Foundation’s goal is to submit a governance proposal to perform this transition in early 2024.
Optimism’s collaboration with Base is designed around principles of fairness, sustainability, mutual growth, and long term commitment. Here's how it's structured:
Fee split: Transaction proceeds from Base will be split and directed to the Collective through an onchain contract. Specifically, the greater of (a) 2.5% of Base's total sequencer revenue, or (b) 15% of Base’s net onchain sequencer revenue (L2 transaction revenue minus L1 data submission costs) will go to the Collective. Our vision is for this structure to be the blueprint for all Superchain members, reinforcing the sustainability of our shared infrastructure. We propose these terms serve as the benchmark for all future OP Chains.
Token Grant: To solidify our long-term alliance, the Optimism Foundation has provided Base the opportunity to earn up to approximately 118 million OP tokens over the next six years. To maintain balance, there's a cap on Base using this grant to vote or delegate more than 9% of the votable supply. This grant is meant to retroactively reward Base’s contributions thus far to scaling Ethereum and the OP Stack, ensure Base’s long term alignment and commitment to the ecosystem, and critically, give Base a meaningful voice in the system of Optimism Governance, to which they’ve entrusted the future of their chain.
This collaboration is not just a testament to the technical strength of the OP Stack–it’s the realization of what's possible when shared values and visions converge.
The future of the Superchain is not just in the code or economics, but in the people, contributors, and organizations that rally behind it. We’d like to thank Jesse Pollak, Rowan Stone, Brian Armstrong, and the rest of the Base and Coinbase teams for forging this path together.
The Superchain can unlock a sprawling constellation of aligned blockspace–funding the public infrastructure which powers it, and empowering a global onchain movement. The Collective’s future shines bright.
And, as always:
Stay Optimistic. 🔴🔵🟠🟢🟡🟣⚪🟤✨