What is Optimism?
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Optimism is a network designed to enhance Ethereum blockchain in terms of speed scalability while adding additional privacy features to boot.
Optimism is a layer-2 solution. Layer 2 networks (like Arbitrum) are not separate blockchains. Instead, they combine large quantities of transactions off-chain (off of the Ethereum blockchain) before then submitting them bundled together on-chain, thus relying upon the same security and consensus mechanism as Ethereum.
Optimism is called an “optimistic rollup” because it “assumes the best” and defaults to submitting the minimum amount of information required with each bundle of transactions.
You can read more about Optimism in the official blog.