Offchain Labs, the company behind Ethereum (ETH) scaling solution Arbitrum, announced this week the launch of Nitro – a major update to the optimistic rollup’s technical stack.

  • According to Offchain, the update to Arbitrum will cheapen fees, speed up transactions, and make it easier for native Ethereum apps to interface with the Layer 2 chain.
  • Offchain founder Steven Goldfeder told CoinDesk that Arbitrum’s fees, which were usually around 50 cents to $1 before the update, will be cut by at least 50%.
  • Rollups like Arbitrum scale the Ethereum network by processing transactions and executing smart contracts – the mini-computer programs that run on blockchains – on separate rollup-specific chains.
  • The data generated on Arbitrum gets bundled up and passed back down to Ethereum, where Ethereum network actors can check whether the data is valid.
  • Last week, a $625 million theft from Ethereum’s Ronin sidechain showed the potential vulnerability of sidechains, which, unlike rollups, do not inherit their security from a layer 1 blockchain.
  • In March, Offchain also announced Arbitrum AnyTrust chains – a cheaper, faster, more centralized alternative to its optimistic rollup.
  • Arbitrum is currently Ethereum’s largest rollup solution, with nearly $2.5 billion total value locked (TVL), according to DefiiLlama.