Arbitrum— Ethereum’s largest scaling solution— got a speed upgrade right ahead of the grand “Merge.” Termed “Nitro,” this speed upgrade is expected to further lower the transaction costs for Ethereum users/developers.
Arbitrum was launched in 2021 as Arbitrum One. Despite the success, One soon ran into transaction fee bumps—often higher than the ones seen on the Ethereum mainnet. The “Nitro” upgrade aims to fix that, bringing down the fee-lowering timeline to days from weeks.
Why was it needed?
The Ethereum merge is already upon us, and we know it won’t miraculously speed up transactions or lower the gas fees. Layer-2 scaling platforms like Arbitrum will continue to be popular post-merge due to their high speed and affordable transaction costs. With “Nitro,” Arbitrum will be able to settle Ethereum transactions cheaper and faster.
The Arbitrum upgrade was pushed on Wednesday (30 August 2022), keeping the network down for several hours.
Here is what Arbitrum tweeted:
Nitro migration is complete, on-chain activity has resumed! 🚀✅
We thank the community for your patience and ongoing commitment to scaling Ethereum, together. 🤝💙💪 https://t.co/1E1oVhzghI
— Arbitrum (@arbitrum) August 31, 2022
How will the Nitro upgrade work?
The Nitro upgrade will try and fit an additional number of transactions in a batch, allowing Arbitrum to settle more arrangements across fewer blocks.
For the unversed, Arbitrum uses a dedicated computer (sequencer) to validate off-chain transactions before rolling them up and sending them over to Ethereum. Here is a tweet thread unpacking the sequencer for you:
19/ While the Arbitrum chain will initially launch using a centralized sequencer run by Offchain Labs, the long term plan is use a decentralized sequencer based on research from a team at Cornell Tech (where Ari Juels is a professor of Computer Science) pic.twitter.com/OR17mNd0DJ
— ChainLinkGod.eth 🌪 (@ChainLinkGod) May 27, 2021
Arbitrum’s Nitro upgrade comes about two weeks before the merge. The timeline may be a coincidence, but signifies Ethereum’s spirit to reinvent the network securely, said Steven Goldfeder, Arbitrum CEO. By the way, Arbitrum One, the vanilla version of Arbitrum, is no longer in use.