Rollup Scaling Wars: Arbitrum Orbit vs Optimism Superchains

By Michael @ CryptoEQ | CryptoEQ | 24 May 2024

You are reading an excerpt from our free but shortened abridged report! While still packed with incredible research and data, for just $40/month you can upgrade to our FULL library of 60+ reports (including this one) and complete industry-leading analysis on the top crypto assets. 


Becoming a Premium member means enjoying all the perks of a Basic membership PLUS:

  • Full-length CORE Reports: More technical, in-depth research, actionable insights, and potential market alpha for serious crypto users
  • Early access to future CORE ratings: Being early is sometimes just as important as being right!
  • Premium Member CORE+ Reports: Coverage on the top issues pertaining to crypto users like bridge security, layer two solutions, DeFi plays, and more
  • CORE report Audio playback: Don’t want to read? No problem! Listen on the go.



Arbitrum Orbit (L3s)

Arbitrum Orbit is a development framework designed for creating Layer 3s (L3s). L3s function as "L2s for L2s," meaning they are rollups that settle on another L2 rather than an L1. While maintaining the security guarantees of an L2, L3s have the potential to deliver a significant increase in scalability as throughput compounds at each layer of the stack. They are granting IP rights for the creation of L2s to the Arbitrum DAO while allowing for the permissionless creation of L3s with the Orbit program. This approach separates IP between permissioned L2 deployments and permissionless L3 deployments, giving Arbitrum and L3 developers the best of both worlds. The DAO has the ability to dictate terms and may even elect to prohibit L2 competitors from forking Arbitrum tech, which provides a direct value accrual model for ARB token holders. L3s built on Arbitrum must pay fees to Arbitrum sequencers, which is a unique capture mechanism that generates economic benefits from open-sourcing code.

arbitrum orbits

For instance, if an L3 has a 10x increase in throughput compared to an L2, and an L2 boasts a 10x increase in throughput relative to an L1, then the L3 would offer a 100x increase in throughput over the L1. This substantial scalability enhancement makes L3s ideal for high-throughput use cases, such as order-book exchanges, gaming, or other applications requiring rapid and low-cost transactions. 

This integration allows developers to deploy applications that are compatible with the Ethereum Virtual Machine (EVM), utilizing a diverse array of programming languages including C, C++, Rust, Solidity, and Vyper. Such versatility not only broadens the scope of potential applications but also attracts a wider developer community to the Arbitrum ecosystem.

A distinctive feature of the Orbit chains is the implementation of "elastic block time," a novel approach designed to optimize both the user experience and operational costs. This mechanism adjusts the block production rate based on network demand, enabling the chain to economize on resources during low activity periods by halting block production, thereby avoiding unnecessary Ethereum settlement costs associated with empty blocks. Conversely, during times of heightened activity, the system can increase its output to as much as four blocks per second, ensuring smooth and efficient transaction processing.

The anticipation surrounding the introduction of interoperability features and the integration with Celestia for Data Availability underscores the growing appeal of building appchains within the Arbitrum ecosystem. Such developments promise to enhance the functionality and accessibility of the Orbit chains, making them an even more attractive platform for developers and projects seeking a robust and dynamic blockchain infrastructure.

Support from Rollups as a Service (RaaS) providers, including Caldera, Conduit, and Altlayer, further underscores the Orbit chains' potential. These providers offer a range of services, from rollup management to no-code deployment solutions, thereby simplifying the complexities associated with developing and managing a blockchain infrastructure. This support is crucial for projects that may not have the technical expertise or resources to navigate the intricacies of blockchain development, making the Orbit chains a more accessible and user-friendly option.


OP Superchains

In a modular approach, OP chains have the ability to share a sequencer or a set of sequencers. This capability paves the way for Optimism's ultimate goal — the Superchain. The Superchain is an assembly of Ethereum-aligned chains constructed using the Optimistic Stack, which will benefit from atomic cross-chain composability, decentralized governance, and a shared Ethereum infrastructure

Envisioned as a horizontally scalable network, the Superchain seamlessly interconnects Ethereum-aligned L2 chains. Its defining characteristics—a unified security protocol, streamlined communication channels, and an open-source development framework—are anchored by the modular prowess of the OP Stack. The ultimate vision for chains within the Superstack system is seamless communication, fostering effortless transactions. Such fluidity can pave the way for unprecedented scalability, fostering a breeding ground for groundbreaking applications and incubating a revenue model that benefits both application and protocol developers.

The Superchain's architecture is rooted in the integration of the Optimism Mainnet and a diverse set of chains, coalescing into a cohesive network of OP Chains.  These OP Chains differ markedly from traditional multi-chain setups. They subscribe to a standardized model, thereby simplifying the developer's task by allowing them to target the Superchain without getting mired in the complexities inherent to individual chains. Several entities, including Base, Worldcoin, Zora, and Debank, have either embraced the OP Chain blueprint or have charted plans to that end.

OP stack Source

To grasp the essence of the OP Chain, one needs to delve into its architecture and the OP Stack. Distinct from traditional multi-chain designs, OP Chains conform to a standard blueprint. This includes a shared foundational layer dedicated to Data Availability (DA), a bridge fostering connectivity between this base layer and OP chains, a nimble framework facilitating the deployment of OP chains, and a protocol that enables cross-chain messaging, optimizing the transfer of data and digital assets. Such a harmonized structure augments transaction sequencing across OP Chains, fortifying developers with tools to design applications that encompass the entirety of the Superchain.

Optimism has created the OP Stack to future-proof its ecosystem. It does so by abstracting the proof layer used to settle funds onto another chain. This means that as long as the proof layer satisfies the proof API, it can be integrated into the system with no impact on the user experience. This approach allows Optimism to adapt to newer proof systems as they emerge. Overall, the OP Stack is an exciting development that will enable developers to create novel blockchain applications, leveraging the flexibility of the stack to create solutions for unique use cases.

How do you rate this article?


Michael @ CryptoEQ
Michael @ CryptoEQ

I am a Co-Founder and Lead Analyst at CryptoEQ. Gain the market insights you need to grow your cryptocurrency portfolio. Our team's supportive and interactive approach helps you refine your crypto investing and trading strategies.


Gain the market insights you need to grow your cryptocurrency portfolio. Our team's supportive and interactive approach helps you refine your crypto investing and trading strategies.

Send a $0.01 microtip in crypto to the author, and earn yourself as you read!

20% to author / 80% to me.
We pay the tips from our rewards pool.