Introducing the Optimism Collective’s Security Council

On February 9, the Collective marked the launch of its first Security Council with the execution of an onchain transaction establishing a 2/2 multisig that is authorized to sign protocol upgrades for OP Mainnet. The two signers on the multisig are the Optimism Foundation and the Collective’s first Security Council.

This onchain milestone follows the successful ratification of the first set of members of the ecosystem’s Security Council in December 2023, and another successful governance vote on whether to update the security model for OP Mainnet.

The Optimism Collective is committed to advancing decentralization across multiple tracks at the same time: technical, social, and governance decentralization. In December, OP Labs outlined their aspirations for Optimism to reach Stage 1 decentralization and progress to Stage 2 (according to the roadmap outlined by Vitalik Buterin in 2022). At the Optimism Foundation, we can support this goal by supporting efforts to transition the management of protocol upgrades over to a Security Council.

To reach Stage 1 decentralization and progress to Stage 2, networks need something akin to a Security Council—a multisig with which to manage protocol upgrades—to enable incremental decentralization in parallel with efforts to reach other essential Stage 1 milestones, like establishing a multiproof network. This multisig needs to be maintained by a minimum of 8 independent individuals with a signing threshold of 75% or greater.

Values underpinning the creation of the Security Council

The values that guided the creation of the first implementation of Optimism’s first Security Council are the same values that inform the Collective’s approach to security in general across the ecosystem: transparency, safety over liveness, and community participation.

Just as ecosystem engineers are building the MIT licensed open source OP Stack in the open, the Security Council is being built in the open, with key documents such as the public charter, an open source implementation, and transparent operations open for public review.

Safety over liveness is something that informs security in the Optimism ecosystem overall. It means that for Optimism, it is more important for the system to avoid errors and invalid states, especially ones that would result in a loss of assets, even if it results in temporarily halting operations. See OP Labs’ recent blog post on Improved Superchain Incident Response capabilities that were introduced in a governance proposal, for an example of what this value looks like in practice. The newly empowered Security Council would be jointly responsible for executing the protocol upgrade that implements this proposal, if passed.

Community-informed design

The Security Council’s accountability to Optimism Governance is fundamental, and community discussion is encouraged to continually help inform its operations.

It is important that the entire Optimism Collective has the opportunity to share feedback on the establishment of this mission-critical structure.

The Collective has relied on community members throughout the process to establish the first iteration of the Security Council. Community participation has been vital during the three rehearsals that have taken place to practice executing the onchain transaction that brings the Security Council online. These volunteers were rewarded over 11k OP during RetroPGF round 3 for supporting the Foundation in this work. The community has also provided feedback on governance proposals related to the establishment of the Security Council, and members have been instrumental in drafting and improving rehearsal process and runbooks for the Security Council.

What’s next?

Phase 0, completed today, establishes the first shared multisig between the Foundation and the Security Council for OP Mainnet. It marks the beginning of a process aimed at expanding across the Superchain and evolving into Phase 1. Phase 1 will see the Security Council become the sole actor responsible for signing upgrades to the protocol.

Catch up on the governance discussion around the Security Council on Optimism’s governance forum, or monitor progress on superchain-ops repo on GitHub. Remember—the end game for decentralization in the Optimism ecosystem is Stage 2 decentralization, according to Vitalik Buterin’s framework for scaling L2 rollups. For the Security Council, as with fault proofs, the Optimism Collective is heads down to Stage 2.

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