The Celo Blog
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The Celo Blog

Optics is Here

The future is multi-chain. Bitcoin and Ethereum started the party, and now the L1 landscape is blossoming, with chains like Polkadot, Solana, and Avalanche all bringing something new to the table.

The Celo community couldn’t be more excited about this! We understand deeply that people have different needs, and an ecology of networks is needed to build a more prosperous financial system for everyone. That’s why we launched DeFi for the People — to bring great DeFi projects pioneered on Ethereum to Celo, in order to serve users that could benefit most from a mobile-first blockchain.

Today, we’re excited to take things a step further with the v1 deployment of the Optics smart contracts on Celo, Ethereum, and Polygon!

What is Optics?

Optics is a new protocol for gas-efficient and trust-minimized interoperability. Its name is an acronym derived from its description: OPTimistic Inter-chain Communication Standard.

Unlike other cross-chain communication systems, Optics is neither a custodial bridge, validator-based bridge, nor header relay. Instead, it leverages an optimistic bridging mechanism to enable radically cheaper communication between chains, while still preserving decentralization.

Additionally, Optics has a few killer features that make bridging easy:

  • It connects chains in a 1-to-N model, making its bridges more like airport hubs 🛫
  • It can be deployed on any smart-contracting chain, and multiple chains at the same time (we’re deploying on 3 to begin with!)
  • It is gas-efficient and cheaper than header relays by a factor of 10x on Ethereum
  • It doesn’t require any new primitives or elliptic curves to be added to the base layer

To learn more about how it works, please check out the protocol docs.

What can I do with it now?

⚠️ Optics is still an experimental technology. We are deploying it for the first time in mainnet environments, so it’s important to carefully evaluate the risks and only transact with funds you’re willing to play with!

Optics core contracts and token bridge contracts have been deployed on Celo, Ethereum, and Polygon mainnets. You can find core contract addresses and token bridge contracts in the Optics repo.

We are also running off-chain agents to update, relay, and process messages between chains. This means that starting today, you can interact directly with the contracts to send ERC-20 tokens between all 3 chains.

Optics contracts have been deployed and are live on Celo, Ethereum, and Polygon

Please note that Optics includes a 3-hour dispute window to detect any fraud, so it will take approximately 3-hours + any confirmation time on the home chain to see funds settle on a destination chain.

What’s next?

Over the next couple of weeks, we will be monitoring the health and performance of the Optics channels and token bridge. If there are any issues, we may need to restart the bridge. Your funds are always SAFU, but if teardown and setup is necessary to restart the bridge, you may experience some latency in accessing your funds.

Additionally, we are working on a graphical user interface (GUI) that will make it easier to interact with the bridge and send tokens back and forth.

Finally, the goal of Optics is to be a chain-agnostic interoperability standard, and we plan to roll out to more chains in the near future. The benefit of Optics is that any chain automatically bridges to every chain in the network without having to do any custom setup for each individual channel.

Get in touch!

We’re excited for this first step in Optics’ launch and look forward to sharing more updates. As mentioned above, this is not a final release, but rather a first step among many to make cross-chain communication seamless and truly usher in an internet of blockchains.

If you’re excited about this, there are several ways to get involved:

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Celo is a carbon-negative, L1 protocol with a rich ecosystem of global partners building Web3, mobile-first applications to create a more accessible and inclusive global financial system. Visit celo.org to learn more about the Celo community, contributors, and technology.

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Pranay Mohan

Pranay Mohan

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