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Tutorial: Use Optimism for the first time

Anay Simunovic
Anay Simunovic
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August 19th, 2021

What is Optimism?

Given the recurring hurdle of high gas fees and slow transaction speeds, Layer 2 solutions like Optimism have become increasingly important to scale Ethereum’s network. Optimism uses optimistic rollups to bundle transactions together using smart contracts on an Ethereum side-chain before moving them to Ethereum’s mainnet. With far lower fees, far lower latency, and far greater throughput compared to Ethereum Layer 1 alone, many of your favorite DeFi protocols like Synthetix and Uniswap, have already begun to deploy on the network.

If you want to be part of a faster and cheaper Ethereum future, keep reading to learn how to use Optimism.

Part 1: Setting up MetaMask for the Optimism network

The first step to using Optimism is to add the network, Optimistic Ethereum, to your wallet.

  • Open MetaMask and click on 'Ethereum Mainnet' (the network dropdown).
  • Select the ‘Custom RPC’ option at the bottom of the network list. Upon doing so, you’ll see this form:

Part 2: Depositing onto Optimism

After you’ve connected to Optimism, the next step is to deposit funds from the Ethereum Mainnet to the Optimism Mainnet.

  • Go to the Optimism Gateway page and connect your MetaMask wallet.
  • Make sure you are connected to the Ethereum Mainnet by clicking on the network dropdown in MetaMask (the same dropdown you used to find the ‘Custom RPC’ option).
  • Once you’ve connected your wallet, select the amount of ETH, or other tokens you’d like to transfer. Click ‘Deposit.’
  • To note: If this is your first time depositing onto Optimism, you will have to pay contract approval fees.
  • A page will appear prompting you to again confirm your deposit by clicking ‘Deposit.’ You will then be prompted to confirm the transaction in your wallet, requiring you to pay Ethereum gas fees.
  • After the transaction has been confirmed on Ethereum, it can take anywhere from five to twenty minutes for the funds to become available on Optimism.
  • Once the funds are available, a page will display that the transaction is complete. You can also verify the transaction on Optimistic Etherscan.

Now that you’re officially on Ethereum L2, test out whether Optimism lives up to the hype by becoming a liquidity provider on Uniswap using the Optimism network. I think you’ll be happy with the results!

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