Celo opts for Optimism as it transitions to L2

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After an extensive eight-month evaluation process, cLabs, the development team behind the Celo blockchain, has officially proposed using Optimism’s OP Stack for its transition from a standalone blockchain to an Ethereum-based layer 2 network.

The proposal will be discussed in further community calls before being put to a vote among CELO token holders, in accordance with the chain’s governance rules.

The decision to migrate to a layer 2 solution stems from Celo’s belief that its future lies within the broader Ethereum ecosystem, rather than as a standalone chain. The selection process, which CLabs co-founder and Celo Foundation president Rene Reinsberg described as a “bake-off” between leading layer 2 providers, included evaluating proposals from OP Stack, Arbitrum Orbit, zkSync’s ZK Stack, and Polygon CDK.

The Celo proposal involves transitioning from an independent layer-1 blockchain to an Ethereum layer-2 solution. This migration would rely on Optimism’s OP Stack, simplifying liquidity sharing between Celo and Ethereum, boosting security, and enhancing the developer experience. The proposal aims to utilize the OP stack to eliminate compatibility monitoring, making it easier for Celo developers to leverage Ethereum tooling.

The design also includes features like a decentralized sequencer powered by Celo’s existing validator set and off-chain data availability solutions like EigenDA.

CLabs claims they found that OP Stack best suited their needs, with the added benefit of potential compatibility with components from other layer 2 teams, such as Polygon’s Type 1 prover. Reinsberg expressed satisfaction with the due diligence process, stating: “[we] didn’t just make a decision last year, but did all this due diligence.”

The choice of OP Stack comes as no surprise, given its growing popularity among blockchain projects. Coinbase recently tapped the technology to build its own layer 2 chain, Base, while Worldcoin announced plans for a layer 2 called World Chain, also built with OP Stack.

Ryan Wyatt, chief growth officer at the Optimism Foundation, commended Celo for their thorough evaluation process, saying, “It’s super cool to actually see them [Celo] be keen on OP Stack, do deep due diligence and look at all these chains.”

Celo’s transition to an Ethereum layer 2 is part of its mission to tackle user experience problems in the cryptocurrency space, particularly the confusion surrounding public keys. By swapping public keys with mobile phone numbers, Celo aims to make sending and receiving cryptocurrency more accessible to newcomers. The platform also offers multiple stable assets, with a focus on emerging markets, to facilitate use cases such as remittances, savings, lending, and cross-border payments.

As Celo moves forward with its transition to an Ethereum layer 2 using Optimism’s OP Stack, the project is poised to leverage the benefits of the Ethereum ecosystem while maintaining its focus on mobile-first accessibility and stable assets for users in emerging markets.

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