Unveiling the Superchain: A Fusion of OP Stack & Law of Chains 🧪

Explore the intersection of OP Stack and the Law of Chains, a combination that’s paving the way for the development of the Superchain, akin to the world wide web in the realm of blockchain.

This piece aims to elucidate the details of Optimism’s Vision and the foundational aspects of the Law of Chains, focusing on standardization and participant protection. By the end, you’ll have a clearer insight into this new development in the blockchain technology.

And, if time is of the essence, a succinct summary is available for a quick overview. 🧪


  • Background 🌱: The initial goal was to scale Ethereum using Layer 2 technology. Despite early successes 🚀, challenges arose, especially in funding as a non-profit 💰❌. This led to the formation of Optimism, aiming to scale Ethereum and fund public goods 🌐.

  • Journey to Simplification 🛤️: The team faced challenges in building a robust and simple system. An interaction with George Hotz, founder of comma AI, led to a focus on simplifying and standardizing the code. The emphasis was on reducing lines of code and making the system modular 🧩.

  • The OP Stack 🖥️: The OP Stack was born, an open-source software stack designed to power blockchain ecosystems. Best thought of as a collection of software components maintained by the Optimism Collective that either help to define new layers of the stack or fit in as modules within the stack. It includes the entire chain software, governance layer, identity layer, and retroactive public goods funding, all built on top of Ethereum with Modularity, simplicity, standardization, and interoperability as the North Star 🌟.

  • Evolution and Forking 🍴: As the OP Stack matured, it began to be forked and adapted for various purposes. This led to a diverse range of applications, from gaming 🎮 to Pokémon emulators 🐉, all built on the foundational OP Stack.

  • The Superchain Vision 🌌: The Superchain is the culmination of the OP Stack's evolution. It's not just a multi-chain or a mono-chain but a unified structure, interconnected by the same technical and social fabric. The Superchain aims to replace the Web 2.0 infrastructure with decentralized alternatives 🔗.

  • The Law of Chains, the Beacon of Optimism 🔆: A framework for socially enforcing the original vision of Optimism, in the form of one part, standardization and another as a bill of rights for Superchain participant protection.

  • Purpose and Vision 🌍: The ultimate goal is to shift from profit-maximizing corporations controlling the internet to a decentralized, open-source structure 🕸️. The challenges of global coordination failures, potential superintelligences 🧠, and the need for better public goods funding drive this vision. The OP Stack and the Superchain are tools to achieve this, aiming to make impact = profit 💡.

So you want to learn more? Great let’s dive in! 🤿

The OP Stack 🧰

The OP Stack is like the ultimate toolkit for L2 blockchain creation, masterfully crafted by the Optimism Collective. Think of it as a curated set of software tools 🧰, each handpicked and maintained by the experts at the Optimism Collective. Some tools lay the foundation, while others seamlessly integrate as modules 🧩.

In essence, the OP Stack brings the concept of modular blockchains to life 💡. It's all about providing developers with a ready-made platform, eliminating the need to start entirely from square one. It's innovation made easy! ✨

Getting technical with Modularity

In the OP stack, there are three primary layers:

  1. Consensus 🤝: This layer encompasses Data Availability and Derivation.

  2. Execution 🔄

  3. Settlement 💼

Each of these layers functions as an API, offering flexibility and customization. As long as you align with the APIs, the sky's the limit for what you can build!

Let's break down these layers further both in math form and word:

  • Data Availability Layer: Think of this as a storage unit, holding an array of bytes, which mathematically looks like this:

    javascriptCopy code
    type DA = bytes[]
  • Derivation Function: This function takes in the previous state and the data from the availability layer. Depending on the input, it either produces a payload or returns nothing. The function could look like something like this:

    javascriptCopy code
    derive(previous State, DA){Payload or null}
  • Execution Function: Acting on the payload generated by the derivation function, this function processes the previous state to produce a new state.

    javascriptCopy code
    execute(previous State, payload)boolean (0 or 1)
  • Validity Function: The final check! This function ensures the new state is valid, considering all other functions.

    javascriptCopy code
    valid(previous State, new State, DA, derive, execute)

The beauty of the OP Stack is its modular nature. Each layer is an API that you can seamlessly integrate into your projects. Whether you're using the existing structure or building your dream blockchain, the OP Stack provides the foundation. And guess what? This isn't just theoretical talk; it's embedded in Optimism's code base, in the Bedrock code base.

Dreaming of creating something unique? Dive right in! And for those hungry for more details, stay tuned to our Knowledge Base for an in-depth exploration. 📚✨

Why are developers choosing OP Stack?

OP Stack is specifically designed to enhance interoperability but also the modularity within the Ethereum community. It empowers developers to efficiently build their own blockchains that cater to specific user requirements.

The OP Stack marks the initial stage in the rapid growth of highly compatible Layer-2s and Layer-3s, collectively referred to as op-chains within Optimism's ecosystem.

As we look ahead, the boundaries between op-chains will dissolve, giving rise to a unified

Superchain. This Superchain will seamlessly integrate multiple op-chains, allowing for the shared utilization of collective resources.

Superchain 🌟

Superchain Overview:

  • What is it? Superchain is a decentralized blockchain platform. It's made up of multiple chains, known as OP Chains, that are interconnected and share security and a technology stack (OP Stack).

Key Features:

  1. Interoperability and Standardization 🌐:

    • All chains within the Superchain can communicate with each other seamlessly.

    • These chains are standardized, meaning they function in a consistent manner.

    • Tools and wallets can treat each chain identically, simplifying user experience.

  2. Network of L2 Chains (OP Chains) 🛠️:

    • These are the individual chains that make up the Superchain.

    • They share security, a communication layer, and an open-source technology stack.

    • Unlike other multi-chain designs, OP Chains are designed to be interchangeable.

    • This design allows developers to build apps for the Superchain without worrying about the specific chain their app runs on.

  3. Unified Structure 🌉:

    • Transitioning between chains? It's as effortless as hopping between websites.

    • The transition between different OP Chains should be so smooth that non-technical users won't even notice it.

  4. Shared Upgradability ⬆️:

    • Once an upgrade is passed by the Optimism Collective, it will be pushed to all the chains in the Superchain seamlessly

    • This can be in the case of an upgrade in the Superchain Bridge Security Model, which we will talk about later

  5. Technical and Social Fabric 🤝:

    • Superchain is more than just a technological platform; it's also a community.

    • It aims to foster a collaborative environment where members share knowledge and work towards shared objectives.

  6. Open Source and Modularity 🔓:

    • Superchain is built on open-source principles, ensuring transparency, accessibility, and the ability to modify the technology.

    • Its modular design means it can be easily adapted and customized to meet various needs.

The Superchain Checklist:

For an OP Chain to wear the Superchain badge, it must boast:

  • A Unified L1 Blockchain 🌍:

    • A system that chronologically arranges transactions across all OP Chains.
  • A Common Bridge for All OP Chains 🌉:

    • A standard security feature for all chains.
  • Economical OP Chain Operations 💰:

    • Deploy and transact on OP Chains without the hefty L1 transaction fees.
  • Customizable OP Chain Settings ⚙️:

    • Chains can tweak settings like their data provider, sequencer address, and more.
  • Robust Transactions and Inter-Chain Messaging 📩:

    • A safe passage for users to transfer assets between OP Chains.

Law of Chains 📜

The Law of Chains Analogy

Imagine The Laws of Chains as a blend of two essential elements:

  1. Standardization 🌐 - reminiscent of the early days of the Internet. Just as we all agreed upon a single Internet protocol to streamline communication, the same principle applies here.

  2. Bill of Rights 📜 - a foundational document that clearly outlines the rights of every stakeholder. It serves as a beacon, ensuring decisions prioritize and protect the community, especially the end-users and developers on Superchain.

The Law of Chains States itself as…

  • Open Neutrality Framework 🌐: At its heart, the Law of Chains champions the ideals of user protection, decentralization, and economic autonomy. These aren't just buzzwords; they're the bedrock upon which the Superchain is built.

  • Living Document 🌱: Just as the technology and communities evolve, so does the Law of Chains. It's designed to adapt, change, and grow, reflecting the innovations and shifts within the protocol.

  • Guidance, Not Legalese ⚖️: While it might sound official, the Law of Chains isn't a binding legal contract. Instead, it's a compass, a set of guidelines that the Optimism Governance enforces socially, ensuring the community stays true to its core values.

It can be divided into 4 sections

  1. Protection of Covered Participants 🛡️

  2. Definition of the Platform i.e. Superchain 🦸

  3. Core Principles 🧭

  4. Democratic Enforcement 🔨

1. Protection of Covered Participants 🛡️

The Law of Chains is only for Covered Participants of OP Chains. This means only those who have willingly agreed to it and have gone through any necessary governance steps. It doesn't apply to chains on the OP Stack that aren't labeled as "OP Chains.”

Who it applies to (Covered Participants):

  1. Users 👥

    • People who use OP Chain smart contracts and applications.

    • Developers and deployers of these smart contracts and applications.

    • If you hold assets, transact on an OP Chain, or deploy a smart contract to an OP Chain, you're considered a User.

  2. Chain Governors 🏛️

    • The entity or smart contract that sets up or adjusts the settings of an OP Chain.

    • They decide on the specific configurations of the OP Chain, which aren't hardcoded into the Protocol Contracts or offchain protocol software.

    • In the future, they might choose how the OP Chain operates, like selecting a specific sequencing scheme.

    • Chain Servicers 🔧

      • This includes Sequencers, Proposers, and Challengers for an OP Chain.

How does The User Protection Act work? ⚙️

1. Users Protection 👥🛡️

Users should have:

  • Protections similar to those given to Ethereum users.

  • Uniform protections across all OP Chains.


a. State Transition and Messaging Validity 🔄:

  • OP Chain state changes and messages between chains should be finalized only if they follow the latest rules approved by Optimism Governance.

b. Security, Uptime, and Liveness 🔒:

  • All OP Chains should have consistent standards for block production, sequencing, and bridging.

c. Universal, Governance-Approved Upgrades ⬆️:

  • All OP Chains should upgrade together, following releases approved by Optimism Governance.

  • Upgrades should be compatible with older versions to ensure User Protections aren't compromised.

Unilateral Migration Violations ❌:

  • Any single-sided attempts by a Chain Servicer or Chain Governor to move an OP Chain to an unapproved version or a completely different system would break the User Protections.

2. Chain Governors 🏛️🛡️

Both Chain Governors and Chain Servicers have rights to make economic and technical decisions within the rules set by the OP Stack. They should be able to benefit from past decisions and shouldn't be unfairly restricted or penalized.

a. Economic Autonomy ⚖️💰:

Violations include ❌:

  • Stopping a Chain Governor from choosing a specific sequencing scheme.

  • Preventing a Chain Governor from setting a profit margin for sequencing.

  • Taking away previously earned network fee revenue or limiting their ability to earn more.

  • Introducing ways to stop Chain Governors from moving users to another chain voluntarily.

b. Technical Configurability ⚙️:

  • Chain Governors can make basic technical changes allowed by the OP Stack.

  • They can change the Sequencer on their OP Chain among approved options and appoint a new Chain Governor if they decide to step down.

3. Chain Servicers Protections 🔧🛡️

a. Economic Autonomy⚖️💰:


  • If changes impact the profit a Chain Servicer can make, they can stop operations if it's not profitable anymore.

  • If a Chain Servicer has assets in an L2 fee vault contract, they should be able to access them. Any upgrade that removes these assets or the access is a violation.

b. Technical Configurability ⚙️:

  • Chain Servicers can make basic technical changes allowed by the OP Stack.

  • This includes changing keys used for batch submission or proposing.

2. Definition of the Platform i.e. Superchain 🦸

The Platform

The Law of Chains sets expectations not just for individual participants but also for the entire Platform. The Platform isn't just one OP Chain but the foundational protocol where all OP Chains operate. It's expected to evolve into the Superchain in the future.

Platform as Commons:

The Platform is a crucial public resource that the entire ecosystem, referred to as the Collective, depends on. It sets the economic rules for all OP Chains, ensures their security, and benefits all OP Chains.

Key requirements for the Platform 📌:

Sustainability: It should be economically self-sufficient and support the public resources linked to it. Security: It should be capable of preventing or addressing any security or stability issues. Survival: It should adapt to threats that could endanger its existence.

3. Principles 🧭

The Law of Chains should be interpreted using principles from the Working Constitution of the Optimism Collective📚

A) Governance Minimization🏛️🔽: The aim is to reduce the need for active governance by designing systems that naturally prevent violations of the Law of Chains. The goal is to make the system self-regulating, minimizing the need for external intervention.

B) Forking🍴: Individuals should have the freedom to leave the system, but not in a way that forces users to follow.

C) Anti-plutocracy🚫💰: Enforcement shouldn't be controlled only by token holders. There should be a balance.

D) Impact = Profit: Resolutions should protect the platform and participants, rewarding everyone based on their contributions.

The Law of Chains will need updates as situations change!

A) Long-term Applicability⏳: It should be flexible and adaptable, focusing on underlying principles rather than strict text.

B) Modularity and Evolution🧩: The system's design allows for future changes, which might lead to different user expectations.

For instance, while one L2 design could prioritize cost-saving by altering data storage methods, it might compromise on censorship resistance. Another design might focus on interlinking OP Chains, but at the expense of their individual economic customization.

C) Reputational Awareness🌟: Decisions made by Optimism Governance affect its reputation. It's crucial to consider the long-term impact on current and future participants.

4. Enforcement 🔨

Should these participant protections be breached, the sole remedy is to approach Optimism Governance, which is fundamentally a call to the onchain democratic system.📜🔗

  • The Law of Chains is enforced by Optimism Governance⚖️.

  • It sets social expectations for participants and guides how to evaluate future upgrades.

  • Examples:

    • If a Sequencer wrongly censors users, Optimism Governance can replace them.🚫🔄

    • If a proposal is invalid and not challenged, Optimism Governance can replace the Challenger.❌🔄

    • If a proposed upgrade isn't backward compatible, Optimism Governance can reject it.⏮️❌

  • As Optimism Governance evolves, its enforcement methods might also change.🌱➡️🌳

Final words

Lastly as its 10th section Optimism collective asks the participant to always stay Optimistic🌞. if nothing else, the Law of Chains strives to facilitate the development and mainstream adoption of blockchain ecosystems. It asks for collaboration of the community 🤝 to further enhance the Law of Chains and tailor it to the everchanging, dynamic state of blockchain ecosystem.

So let’s stay optimistic 🌟 and last but not least #growthepie 🥧 📏.

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