Announcing Lisk’s Move to the Ethereum Ecosystem
Lisk announces a strategic move to integrate with the Ethereum ecosystem as a Layer 2 (L2).
At Lisk, we have been committed to democratizing blockchain accessibility since our founding in 2016. Today, we are announcing a strategic move to integrate with the Ethereum ecosystem as a Layer 2 (L2). Focused on solving local problems in Emerging Markets by bringing solutions around real-world assets (RWA), off-chain assets (OCA), and decentralized physical infrastructure networks (DePIN) onchain. The upcoming Lisk ecosystem chain will be powered by Optimism’s OP Stack, and built on Gelato’s Rollup as a Service platform, offering developers proven tooling and a familiar web2-like experience for their users. Lisk is the first L1 to commit to Optimism’s Superchain vision.
Looking back at the past 7 years
At the beginning of this year (2023), the Lisk team started looking to expand the Lisk product roadmaps. Part of our roadmap extension exercise was to conduct in-depth industry research on the current state of the L1 and L2 landscapes overall.
Today, we are sharing that research with the public as a research report on the Lisk Magazine. One of the report’s key findings reveals that over 90% of transaction fees expended by users on Layer 1 (L1) protocols are captured within the Ethereum network.
This realization led the leadership team, in Q2 of this year, to start actively looking into solutions to leverage Ethereum’s extraordinary market share in order to upgrade Lisk’s ecosystem. At the time, the team operated under the assumption that there would be a need to separate out resources to build additional products and services around Lisk.
As summer rolled around, the team focusing on the Lisk roadmap extension was busy outlining the ways Lisk would become more compatible with the Ethereum ecosystem. It was in the midst of these internal discussions, in mid-late summer, that a rogue idea started to be considered by some on the team - “What if instead of building Ethereum compatibility into the Lisk L1, we pivoted entirely to become a Layer 2 on Ethereum?”
The idea was initially met with extensive internal push back, however, the idea didn’t die and by the beginning of September a small team had been created to conduct a deep dive into exploring the possibility.
The last three months have been a whirlwind, but one thing became ever clearer, migrating Lisk to the Ethereum ecosystem as an L2 can:
- Greatly benefit all those looking to build, partner, and become engaged with the Lisk ecosystem, and actually
- Accelerate Lisk’s overarching mission, which we set out to build.
To the Lisk team, this has been internally verifiable in how many developers and projects approach Lisk to build smart contract based applications, and how much more difficult it has become to integrate with key Web3 infrastructure and services.
While our vision doesn’t change, the means in how we execute it must.
What’s going to happen
The Lisk Foundation has decided to move the Lisk project to an L2 built on Optimism's OP Stack in 2024.
One of the key aspects that allowed the team to make the decision, and something that we are excited to share with our community today, is that Lisk will be collaborating with Optimism, Base, and others as an early member of the Optimism Superchain.
Being part of the Superchain means that Lisk will move from an independent L1 blockchain to becoming part of a unified collective of chains that uphold a shared commitment to open, decentralized blockspace as defined in the Law of Chains. Together with Base, Optimism and many other contributors to the OP Stack, we plan to work hard to make the Superchain vision of a horizontally scalable network a reality.
The Superchain vision, while in its early stages, is entirely aligned with Lisk’s own vision around the industry’s need to build more accessible infrastructure, tooling, and end user experience for Web3 to realistically reach true adoption and bring on the next 1 billion users.
How we will do it
The testnet deployment of the Lisk L2 ecosystem chain is set to take place in Q1 of 2024, with a developer launch in Q2 and the mainnet launch anticipated later in 2024. This event will mark a significant step as Lisk shifts towards an Ethereum rollup utilizing the OP Stack, enabling developers to immediately access up to 90% cheaper fees than on the Ethereum Mainnet with a 10x further improvement once Proto-Danksharding goes live next year.
Lisk will be partnering with the talented team at Gelato to deploy the L2. This collaboration will help supercharge the Lisk ecosystem with Gelato's end-to-end integrated infrastructure and Web3 services, including native account abstraction, block explorers, bridges, and oracles; meaning the Lisk L2 ecosystem chain will be production-ready to support a diverse range of use-cases from the Genesis block.
Using Gelato’s Roll up as a Service Platform will allow the Lisk research and development team to be primarily focused on building additional products and tooling that developers and end users love, while also committing resources to the Superchain’s development.
As a L2 ecosystem chain, while Lisk will remain open to a global audience of builders, we will focus the majority of our efforts on solving local problems in Emerging Markets by bringing applications around real-world assets (RWA), off-chain assets (OCA), and decentralized physical infrastructure networks (DePIN) onchain. Over the past 18 - 24 months, it has become clear to our team that there is a genuine match between the solutions that blockchain technology provides and the everyday problems encountered by locals in Southeast Asia, Africa, and other Emerging Markets.
Some of our most promising grant and accelerator projects already come from these regions, and Lisk will now provide builders in these markets a cost-efficient, fast, and scalable L2 network that is secured by Ethereum, as well as access to grant funding, mentorship, and the larger Optimism Superchain community.
We are more committed than ever to building out a strong community of developers, enthusiasts, and Web3 founders in these markets and across the world. We will actively be building out our community, developer relations, and local ambassador team in the year ahead.
Benefits of the migration
Becoming an L2 in the Ethereum ecosystem will bring projects and developers building on Lisk, end-user and token holders immense benefits:
- The Lisk L2 will inherit the security guarantees of Ethereum.
- As an EVM-equivalent L2, Lisk will directly benefit from the latest improvements in the Ethereum ecosystem such as even cheaper transactions on L2 with Proto-Danksharding, account abstraction and other topics on the Ethereum roadmap.
- Most libraries and tooling for building dApps are focused on the EVM. Building on the Lisk L2, developers will now be able to utilize all these development resources.
- Most existing popular applications are EVM-based, making it very easy for them to also deploy on the Lisk network.
- Developers and end users have access to liquidity and thousands of tokens such as stablecoins, as any ERC-20 token on Ethereum can be transferred to the Lisk L2.
- The LSK token can be easily listed on major decentralized exchanges and used in the Ethereum DeFi ecosystem. Moreover, it will also become much easier for centralized exchanges and custodians to support the LSK token as an ERC-20 token.
In addition to that, Lisk building on the OP Stack and joining the Superchain ecosystem has the following benefits:
- We believe the Superchain will be able to overcome the fragmentation that L1 blockchains or isolated L2 blockchains create and truly scale Ethereum. Users will be able to seamlessly interact with applications on Optimism, Base, Lisk and any other L2 that is part of the Superchain.
- Joining the Superchain ecosystem means joining a collective of chains working towards a common goal. Lisk will benefit from hundreds of teams contributing to the OP ecosystem and being incentivized by Optimism's Retroactive Public Goods Funding (RetroPGF) mechanism. We are also committed to contributing back, which will also make us eligible for RetroPGF. Overall, with so many strong teams contributing to the Optimism Collective, we think this ecosystem is clearly the best choice for Lisk as an L2.
- With Lisk, we want to make blockchain accessible and bring millions of people onchain. Joining forces with Superchain builders such as Optimism and Base on events, hackathons and other initiatives will create a lot of synergies and make us more successful in this effort.
What happens to the Lisk L1
Our aim is to find the best path forward for the Lisk L1 to become a community-driven project. We have been actively working together with the Lisk community team Moosty, best known from various Lisk ecosystem projects like Liskscan and the Lisk Center Utrecht, to let them take the lead in steering the L1 in a sustainable direction under a new brand and name. The Foundation will be supporting them for the next 2 years, both technically and financially to assure a great future for the L1.
We want to highlight that we will continue to maintain the Lisk L1 and all our products until the LSK token is migrated as an ERC-20 token to Ethereum and the Moosty team took over the Lisk L1 development.
More information on the Lisk L2 token migration and the timeline for it will be announced in Q1 2024. To ask questions about the future of the Lisk L1 directly to the Moosty team, please visit their dedicated channel in the Lisk Discord server.
Changes for Lisk community stakeholders
In the current Lisk v4 network, validators are responsible for proposing and finalizing blocks according to Lisk’s consensus protocol and are incentivized with block rewards and transaction fees. As an L2 Lisk will no longer need a consensus mechanism as it relies on Ethereum as a settlement layer. The role of a validator will therefore no longer exist. It is an important consideration for us to give new opportunities within the Lisk L2 and Superchain ecosystem to our community of technical enthusiasts that have put an immense amount of work into Lisk and as validators contributed to operating a reliable and decentralized network over the years. With the Lisk L2, we are planning to launch a Lisk DAO with a significant treasury, which will be a great opportunity for community involvement. Additionally, we aim to introduce an LSK staking program as a continuation of the current staking in the Lisk v4 network. Moreover, while we will start the Lisk L2 with just one sequencer, we plan to introduce decentralized sequencing in the future once this feature becomes available for L2s in the Superchain.
Developers who currently write code with the Lisk SDK will have the biggest change ahead. All the tools used to develop on Optimism (and Ethereum) will be immediately available to all developers, which means most developers will use Solidity to build their dApps. Any tutorials or articles for dApp development on Ethereum can be used.
Additionally, we will provide a migration guide from the Lisk SDK to Solidity development.
As a part of the Superchain, Optimism will be a collaborator to help us onboard developers in the markets Lisk wants to have dApps shipped into. We are currently cooking up an incentive program for developers and projects building on Lisk. We’ll report once we have a starting version.
For end users, the main change will be the way you interact with the Lisk blockchains and dApps. So far, we have developed Lisk Desktop and Mobile as the primary wallets in the Lisk ecosystem and sponsored LiskScan as a community-built block explorer. With our move to Ethereum, we aim to integrate the Lisk L2 with most popular Ethereum wallets such as Safe, MetaMask, Coinbase Wallet and more. This means that users will have many more options for choosing their favorite wallet and can also benefit from the latest UX improvements enabled by account abstraction. Additionally, our Rollup as a Service provider Gelato will host a block explorer for the Lisk L2.
Apart from these new user interfaces, we also aim to bring many existing popular applications on the Lisk L2. As a user, there will therefore be a much larger range of exciting dApps available that you can all easily access with the same wallet that you already use for the whole Ethereum ecosystem.
All these benefits are only made possible by using the Ethereum tech stack instead of continuing with our own dedicated L1 blockchain.
LSK tokens will be migrated to Ethereum as ERC-20 tokens, and users will be able to claim their tokens on the Lisk L2 using an Ethereum wallet. For the token migration, a snapshot of the token balances in the Lisk v4 network will be taken at a pre-announced future height. This data will then be used to set up a claims contract on the Lisk L2 that will hold the tokens until they are claimed.
The huge benefit for token holders is that the LSK token will now be used in the large existing Ethereum DeFi ecosystem; for instance, it will be traded on decentralized exchanges like Uniswap. We further intend to create an attractive LSK staking program on the Lisk L2, allow LSK token holders to participate in onchain governance, and additionally incentivize user adoption of the Lisk L2 with airdrops.
In regards to the Lisk v4 network tokens, it will be up to exchanges whether the token continues to be listed under a new name after the token migration.
We are already speaking directly to our grant and accelerator program participants, one-on-one, about how best to move forward together and support their migration to the Lisk L2.
For those who prefer to stay on the community-driven L1, this will also be an option.
TL;DR - the future
Collaborating with Optimism, Base, and others to contribute to the Superchain opens up a world of possibilities that would have not been there as an L1. By doing so we accelerate the Lisk vision of democratizing blockchain accessibility for developers.
Not only that, as an ecosystem chain, the Lisk L2 will focus on improving the lives of individuals around the world where blockchain technology can make a day-to-day difference by bringing solutions around real-world assets (RWA), off-chain assets (OCA), and decentralized physical infrastructure networks (DePIN) in Emerging Markets onchain.
We strongly believe these are the most important goals any Web3 project can work towards.
The future is bright, let’s build it together with Lisk!