OP Labs: Multi-proof Design in OP Stack and Its Impact on the Ecosystem

Author: Mark Tyneway, OP Creator; protolambda, OPLabs researcher

You have heard about the security advantages of multi-client networks, but what if your favorite L2 could incorporate multiple proof systems into its design? This is the case with the OP mainnet upgrade to Bedrock.

Following the logic that client diversity is beneficial to the blockchain ecosystem, OP Stack has turned the OP mainnet into a modular blockchain that can accommodate proof system diversity as well. With the use of OP Stack and Bedrock’s modular design, builders can quickly leverage any type of existing proof and ensure that the system is adaptable to future proof innovations.

Let’s dive into the technical side of this unique feature and discuss its broader implications for the ecosystem.

Issue: Proof Systems in Rollup Design

Previously, rollup design iterations focused mainly on creating a proof and making the system fit it. This approach led to limited flexibility and adaptability to constantly evolving technology. Due to this type of design, the L2 market was primarily centered around optimistic proofs and validity proofs.

With the design of “Bedrock”, we wanted to change this narrative. We made modularity a key design principle of the Bedrock upgrade and built a system that can accommodate multiple proof types, providing builders with more secure and future-proof proof solutions.

Solution: Modular Design, Flexibility, and Security

The ability to incorporate multiple proofs into the OP stack provides many benefits, with security being the most notable. Having multiple proofs helps prevent any errors in any one proof from becoming the norm. This is similar to how multiple implementations of L1 clients provide better overall security. Vitalik wrote an article about how the Ethereum multi-client concept interacts with zk-evm. In that article, he notes that multi-client implementations are a form of technical decentralization, with the main benefit being that it can resist errors in the network. If multiple independent teams/stakeholders maintain an implementation, it also leads to a form of social decentralization. The interests of each team are factored into the network roadmap.

Bedrock’s modular design has already allowed for multiple L2 client implementations to emerge in the Optimism ecosystem, the first in L2. Like Vitalik and Ethereum, we are extending this idea to allow OP Stack to include multiple proofs. This opens the door for adding zero-knowledge (ZK) validity proofs to the OP mainnet or other OP chains (such as Base) and ensures compatibility with future developments. The modular design of OP Stack allows it to easily adopt new technologies in a secure, battle-tested manner without significant changes to the codebase.

How does it work?

The proof system in the OP Stack is modularized through standardized on-chain APIs and off-chain actors. This allows for mixing and matching dispute contracts, making it easy to exchange proof schemes.

Standardized On-Chain API

By standardizing on-chain APIs, Bedrock makes it possible to exchange proof schemes as long as they implement standardized APIs. This means that new proof schemes can be dynamically added, and we can even create an m(n) scheme where multiple proof schemes are required to run the bridge.

Standardized Off-Chain Actors

Off-chain actors or bots communicate with dispute contracts. The system creates a maximum extractable value (MEV) opportunity to incentivize honest behavior and protect the system, while maintaining the principle that participating in dispute games should always be profitable as an incentive to ensure their continued operation. Through this pattern, we are creating an open network of monitoring participants who can intervene to resolve disputes and ensure the security of the system.

Two implementations of standardized off-chain actors are currently being researched.

The Future Belongs to Super Chains

The Bedrock upgrade and its support for multi-proof aligns with our vision of a scalable network that doesn’t disrupt our ecosystem, applications, or collaborative abilities. As the only L2 ecosystem designed for simplicity with multi-client, multi-proof, Optimism will lead the industry towards a safer, more adaptive, more collaborative, and more optimistic future.

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