Ethereum scaling startup Optimism announces alpha release of its virtual machine

Quick Take

  • Optimism, the startup that develops Ethereum Layer2 scaling solution Optimistic Rollup, released the alpha version of the Optimistic Virtual Machine (OVM)
  • The OVM is a replica of Ethereum Virtual Machine (EVM) embedded inside of the EVM, which allows developers to use the same developer toolsets and smart contract languages when working with Optimistic Rollup 
  • Optimism raised a $3.5 million seed round from Paradigm and IDEO CoLab Ventures recently to help developers implement Optimistic Rollup

Ethereum research group Optimism launched today the alpha version of the Optimistic Virtual Machine (OVM), intended to support all smart contracts to be deployed on Optimistic Rollup chains, a layer-2 Ethereum scaling solution. 

A modification of the Ethereum Virtual Machine, OVM is the virtual machine for Optimistic Rollup. The virtual machine allows developers to deploy smart contracts on the layer-2 solution as they appear on Layer1, with the same tooling and smart contract languages like Solidity. 

The OVM was built as an L2-compatible virtual machine inside of the EVM. As such, OVM can run a fully virtualized EVM environment inside of the actual EVM and hence give developers a similar experience as interacting with the EVM. 

“Many layer 2 solutions, including ones that we ourselves have developed in the past, struggled with developer experience issues due to custom, non-standard tooling that presented massive learning curves… Our goal with the OVM is to make the developer experience completely unimpressive, and nearly invisible,” the startup said.

With Optimistic Rollup, transactions are executed entirely off the Ethereum base chain. Operators receive all submitted transactions, execute them, and publish the latest state to OVM, with the state root subsequently being posted to the base chain. Since the Optimistic Rollup scheme assumes all transactions to be valid, a fraud-proof step may be conducted on the Ethereum Layer1 chain to challenge certain transactions that may be invalid.

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