Optimism – a Layer 2 scaling solution for Ethereum – has announced the first phase of their limited testnet.


Instead of an instant release, the Optimism team is opting for a gradual release where they will be onboarding small cohorts of early adopters one at a time.

Currently, Synthetix is the only project in the Optimism Testnet. The permissionless synthetic-asset exchange will be rewarding testnet usage by giving out 200,000 SNX to participating users.


In Phase A, only SNX stakers that had already staked prior to the announcement will be able to participate as no new deposits or withdraws will be enabled. Deposits will be enabled in Phase B and SNX stakers can increase their deposit.

A security drill will then be conducted and the team will stress test the system by actively committing fraud. Once the security drill is complete, withdrawals will be enabled and rewards received on the testnet can be migrated to mainnet.

Chainlink and Uniswap are expected to follow after Synthetix while the Optimism team has requested that any projects interested in being an early adopter of Optimistic Rollups to sign up here.

A full roadmap of the launch was illustrated in the announcement post, adequately titled “not to scale”.

Who is Optimism?

Formerly known as the non-profit Plasma Group, the team rebranded to Optimism and restructured into a for-profit startup last year focused entirely on Ethereum scaling. Optimism has raised $3.5M from venture capital firms like Paradigm and IDEO CoLab.

Optimism has long been touted as a premiere scaling solution for DeFi, with Optimistic Rollups being teased by leading projects like Uniswap in their Unipig Layer 2 demo during last year’s Devcon.

The closer Optimism gets to mainnet, the closer DeFi gets to unlocking instantaneous, nearly gasless settlement. Granted, composability does take a hit but given the rate at which gas prices have climbed in recent months, this project is one which is well worth keeping an eye on.

To stay up with Optimism, follow them on Twitter!