Arbitrum is an Ethereum layer 2 scaling solution using optimistic rollups to offer faster and cheaper transactions.

Layer 2

Arbitrum is a layer 2 scaling system for Ethereum leveraging optimistic rollups that seeks to deliver a high-throughput, low-cost experience for decentralized apps including DeFi, NFTs, games and more.

It offloads transaction execution to Arbitrum's own Arbitrum Virtual Machine (AVM) which runs parallel to Ethereum's EVM, while using the Ethereum mainchain to post verifiable transaction results for security.

This design retains Ethereum's trust model while bypassing its limitations around inefficient block space usage and high gas fees that currently hinder usability.

How Arbitrum’s Innovative Rollup Architecture Works

Arbitrum leverages a novel form of optimistic rollups. Here's how they work:

  • Transactions are executed off-chain on Arbitrum's AVM parallel system at high speed and low cost.
  • The transaction data is compressed and written back to Ethereum in bundles as "rollup blocks" where Ethereum miners verify the results.
  • If any invalid results are found, the chain can be challenged on-chain and disputed via Arbitrum's "AnyTrust Guarantees".
  • This unique combination of off-chain speed with strong Ethereum security aims to get the best of both worlds.

The AVM environment and ecosystem Arbitrum developed on its rollup architecture provide a feature-rich layer 2 foundation for Ethereum-based applications.

Arbitrum’s Flagship Products and Development

Arbitrum One mainnet launched in 2021 as the core layer 2 network with high scalability for developers. Major milestones include:

Arbitrum One - Main optimisitic rollup network for live Ethereum dapps and tokens.

Arbitrum Nitro - Upgrade launching gas-optimized native contracts called AnyTrusts for lower fees.

Arbitrum Nova - Separate sidechain version under development for data availability flexibility.

Arbitrum Token (ARB) - Governance token used for community rewards.

This robust technical scope aims to make Arbitrum a versatile Ethereum scaling backbone.

Comparing Arbitrum to Competing Layer 2 Solutions

Arbitrum takes a different approach than some alternatives:

vs Optimism - Both use optimistic rollups, but Arbitrum claims faster throughput due to architecture.

vs zkSync - zkSync uses zk-Rollups for added security but lacks ecosystem maturity currently.

vs Sidechains - Sidechains sacrifice security while Arbitrum retains Ethereum's model.

These contrasts illustrate Arbitrum's positioning as a more decentralized and flexible layer 2 environment relative to competitors and sidechains.

Using Arbitrum Securely With Ledger Hardware Wallets

Users can leverage Arbitrum with Ledger hardware wallets to safely access its layer 2 benefits:

  • Interact securely using Ledger devices with MetaMask while connected to Arbitrum.
  • Purchase native utility token ARB using MetaMask on Arbitrum or by bridging ERC-20 tokens from Ethereum Layer 1.
  • Bridge other Ethereum assets like ETH and ERC-20 tokens to Arbitrum via bridges available on Layer 1 exchanges.
  • When bridging tokens, pay attention to version compatibility between Ethereum and Arbitrum networks.

Following security best practices around avoiding browser extensions and using hardware wallets is advised to maximize Arbitrum benefits safely.


In summary, Arbitrum represents a promising layer 2 scaling innovation using a novel optimistic rollup architecture and virtual machine to boost Ethereum's throughput and lower transaction costs.

Backed by strong research and technology, Arbitrum offers a feature-rich environment for Ethereum developers. By improving scalability and access without compromising trust, Arbitrum and other layer 2's could be key to unlocking Ethereum's full potential.