Recently, the performance of OP Stack has been particularly eye-catching. More than ten projects, including opBNB, Zora, Base, Wordcoin, and DeBank, have announced their joining of the OP Stack camp. Some bloggers estimate that only Base can bring an additional $4.5 million in revenue to the OP Treasury.
Is it just because Optimism is very orthodox in layer2 and can get things done? The secrets behind this are probably not that simple. Let me share my thoughts:
The key to the widespread adoption of an open-source stack lies in the openness of the license. Among the four stack services provided by the Four Heavenly Kings, Optimism adopts the MIT License, while zkSync, Arbitrum, and Starknet use the ALianGuaiche License 2.0. Both licenses are relatively high in terms of open source, but MIT is more concise and free, so to speak, it allows you to do whatever you want. On the other hand, ALianGuaiche has some restrictions in terms of compatibility, trademark use, patent authorization, and liability limitation. Although it seems to be conducive to the commercialization of products, it actually becomes shackles and limitations.
Optimism has a high level of compatibility with the Ethereum EVM. Just by looking at its 11,994 commits and 2.3k forks on GitHub (developer activity), you can see how much code updates and integration work has been done behind it. This data even surpasses Arbitrum, and is far ahead of zkSync and Starknet. Imagine a stack that is more integrated with Ethereum and has the highest level of open source freedom. Which project can resist loving it? To some extent, choosing OP Stack is indeed choosing the orthodoxy of L2.
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Many people say that OP Stack has become a tool for project parties to “launch chains with one click,” which carries a touch of irony. I guess some projects that enjoy “ready-madeism” did not think about the necessity of launching layer2 with one click. If it is really a means of profiting from “rubbing fur,” such layer2 can only be a narrative that extracts market liquidity. Obviously, this is contrary to Optimism’s ultimate vision of realizing SuperChain. In fact, the reason why project parties are particularly concerned about the “freedom” of commercialization is mainly to make money.
In my opinion, projects like Base, which are blessed by Coinbase’s halo, can rely on users’ expectations of rubbing fur and clearly benefit from the C-end market as developers. Other layer1 projects do this mainly to increase B-end service business income in a bear market, known as Rollup as a Service (RaaS). Based on this mature L2 solution, provide potential commercial services for some developers. Because OP Stack is relatively universal, different chains need to do customized development for layer2, and it makes sense to package and sell such customized development capabilities to customers who do not have development capabilities, right? This is indeed a strategy of “surviving” the bear market. Otherwise, why would an NFT market or an asset social platform do Layer2?
Then why not use Arbitrum’s Orbit as layer3? Exclusive chains for layer3 are good, but the current market demand is not high. The current situation of hundreds of exclusive appchains in Cosmos seems to validate this point. Moreover, there are still technical difficulties in cross-chain communication and interaction in layer3. Before application chains in gaming and social markets take off, DApps with financial attributes especially value the composability and communicability between applications. With the current level of technological maturity, developing an independent exclusive chain feels like building a skyscraper in the suburbs. Currently, the market demand for Layer2, whether in terms of narrative or actual use, is obviously greater than layer3.
Isn’t it better to use zkSync’s ZK Stack for ZK layer2? Indeed, layer2 can also be built based on ZK Stack. Developers naturally want to use ZK because it has a stronger narrative, but unfortunately it is difficult to work with. The core zk circuit algorithm of Stack is a tough nut to crack, and developers will need some time to digest the programming language gap and the complexity of zk circuits if they want to go down the zk route. It is too difficult to independently customize and develop a ZK circuit system technically. Of course, using the components of zkSync is also an option, but does this big brother support it now? We can see clues from the abandoned ZK code updates of opBNB.
The above is the reason why OP Stack takes the lead among the four major stacks. Personally, I think this is good news for Optimism, because the project team can choose to customize and develop a Sequencer, or they can share a Sequencer with Optimism. The latter needs to pay taxes to OP Treasury. This blogger has estimated the income of Base. With the current market enthusiasm and a 10% split, OP can earn $4.5M in income. In the future, as the BASE ecosystem further grows, this conservative figure could reach $20M.
Lastly, of course, I look forward to more project teams developing based on OP Stack, preferably also sharing the business with Arbitrum Orbit layer3, zkSync, and Starknet. However, before laying out layer2 or layer3, one must think clearly about one’s intentions. If it is just for the sake of multiple narratives, there is no need to chase the hotspots of L2. As for ZK Stack, don’t envy OP Stack. It is more important to decentralize your own core ZK components, and in the future, there will be a day when they are widely used by developers.