TL;DR: In collaboration with Offchain Labs, the Arbitrum Foundation is excited to announce the new Arbitrum Expansion Program and Arbitrum Developer Guild.
Teams interested in launching Arbitrum technology chains now have an easier, self-service path for launching custom Arbitrum Orbit Chains by joining the Expansion Program. It allows any project to deploy their own customized version of the Arbitrum technology stack. L3s that settle to Arbitrum One and Nova already are and remain free and permissionless to use and customize. Today’s announcement makes it easier than ever to launch custom Arbitrum L2s that settle directly to Ethereum as well as Arbitrum L3s on top of other non-Arbitrum chains.
There are only two key requirements for participation in the Arbitrum Expansion Program, aimed at ensuring alignment with both Ethereum and the Arbitrum DAO. First, participants are expected to contribute a portion of their profits back to the Arbitrum ecosystem. Second, the deployment of the rollup must be exclusive to Ethereum or any chain that derives its security from Ethereum.
Via the permissionless revenue sharing model of the Program, Orbit chains are free to customize L2s or L3s that settle to Ethereum, including on top of non-Arbitrum chains! L3s that settle to Arbitrum One and Nova are still covered by the existing free, permissionless path.
The Program provides support for teams looking to highly customize their chain configuration, including dedicated blockchain space, custom gas token, native account abstraction, alternative data availability layer choices, and potential future services from the Arbitrum community. Aside from the built-in customization options, Orbit developers are free to customize the code in any way they see fit.
A differentiating feature of Arbitrum Orbit is that the chains retain full control of their governance and will not be required to outsource their governance or share governance with other chains and ecosystems. Teams building with Orbit have freedom to customize and innovate however they see fit.
While L3s that settle to Arbitrum One or Nova will not be required to share revenue with the Arbitrum DAO, L2s as well as L3s on top of other chains will have to share a portion of their revenue. Part of the contributed revenue will go to a newly established Arbitrum Developer Guild, a new initiative to help fund core Arbitrum development and attract the best development teams to contribute to the Arbitrum tech stack.
The demand for rollups as a foundational technology stack is rapidly increasing. Projects are eager to modify the Arbitrum stack according to their business needs and run their own instance of the Orbit software. The Orbit deployment tool comes built-in with a host of customization options, and developers can go even deeper than that and use the codebase to make deep customizations…
Not every project needs their own chain, and indeed for many applications, launching on Arbitrum One or Nova is the ideal choice. But there are several compelling reasons that make a custom chain a great choice for many projects, and Arbitrum Orbit is a flexible solution that can meet the needs of any project looking to build their own chain in the Ethereum ecosystem:
- Dedicated blockspace. Gain independence from chain usage by other applications
- Custom gas token. Choose which token is used for chain fees allowing you to create native economies and utility incentives
- Native account abstraction. Go beyond Ethereum’s account abstraction
- Alternative data availability layer choices. AnyTrust, Celestia, and more data availability solutions are already integrated into Arbiturm Orbit
- No governance constraints. Control your own destiny; no need to submit to shared governance
Arbitrum Orbit has already been adopted by dozens of teams, but with the introduction of the Expansion Program, all of Orbit’s capabilities are now easily accessible to teams wanting to make a custom L2 that settles directly to Ethereum, or even build an L3 on top of a non-Arbitrum chain that settles to Ethereum. Teams wishing to create an L3 that settles to Arbitrum One are still covered by the existing, free, permissionless model.
We are actively researching and developing best in class interoperability solutions for Orbit chains, and we expect to see many live Orbit chains that can easily interact for one unified Ethereum experience.
Prior to the Expansion Program, developers that were interested in deploying their own Arbitrum technology chain could choose one of three paths: (1) build their chain as an L3 that settles to Arbitrum One or Nova, which was and remains a permissionless activity (2) If they wanted to build an L2 then they could ask the Arbitrum DAO to issue a software license using the Arbitrum DAO’s governance system or (3) negotiate terms with the Arbitrum Foundation (Offchain Labs also maintains the right to issue licenses but has preferred to allow the community to steer this process to date). While the process worked well for those looking to build L3s, the latter options were cumbersome and high-touch for those looking to build L2s. With the growing demand for Arbitrum Orbit chains of all types, it became clear that the community needed an efficient process for launching chains that also aligns with Etherem and the Arbitrum DAO.
The Arbitrum Expansion Program streamlines this via a self-service model that fosters incentive alignment amongst all parties including contributors, community members, ecosystem projects and the newly deployed rollups. It focuses on:
- Permissionless adoption. Anyone can adopt the technology stack and modify it according to their project’s requirements.
- Ethereum alignment. All deployments must ultimately settle on top of Ethereum or a chain whose integrity is secured by Ethereum.
- Value accrual. Automatically contributes a portion of the chain’s revenue back to the Arbitrum DAO and to a new Arbitrum Developer Guild fund for contributors to the Arbitrum codebase.
- Community enablement. Additional community-run features, alongside the software license, that will act as a supportive cornerstone for projects that adopt the Arbitrum technology stack.
- Freedom to innovate. There is no limitation on how a chain governs itself such as a requirement to submit to shared governance or other similar constraining structures.
First and foremost, the Expansion Program includes a software license that allows anyone to freely modify the code with changes required for their project. Possible customizations include choosing which data availability layer to use, the ability to experiment with sequencer environments and MEV frameworks, integrating entirely new virtual machines (like Arbitrum Stylus), and so much more!.
All Orbit deployments must rely on Ethereum for settlement and adhere to the Arbitrum Constitution’s community value of being Ethereum aligned. This requires that the deployment has its security depend on the Ethereum blockchain, and by way of example, intends to include optimistic rollups, zk-rollups, optimiums and validiums that settle to Ethereum.The motivation is to strengthen the Ethereum ecosystem by making Arbitrum’s best-in-class technology available to any team that wants to launch an L2 or L3 in the Ethereum ecosystem.
The Arbitrum technology stack will be implemented, and should be configured to, automatically share a portion of the chain revenue back. This feature is not currently live in production, but is being worked on, and we hope to release it shortly. All users of the Arbitrum Expansion Program will pay the same percentage, which is computed only on the chain’s sequencer profit (inclusive of its MEV strategies). The initial percentage is set at 10% (which will be received by a wallet controlled by The Arbitrum Foundation), and once compliance checks have been completed, subsequently rerouted with 8% being distributed to the ArbitrumDAO and the remaining 2% to a special developer fund, the Arbitrum Developer Guild, for contributors to the codebase.
The Guild is being created to incentivize and grow the set of core developers building the Arbitrum technology. Only once the Guild membership has expanded will the funds be appropriately distributed amongst its members. We will be sharing more information about and how to get involved in the Arbitrum Developer Guild in the near future, and interested teams are encouraged to reach out.
Arbitrum Orbit chains will benefit from the already announced upcoming technical upgrades such as Stylus and Bold. We further anticipate that the Expansion Program can be extended over time to include additional opt-in benefits which may include new technical features like automatic smart contract upgrades and a global pause feature by Arbitrum’s security council, as well as non-technical benefits such as eligibility to participate in other programs run by the ArbitrumDAO. The Expansion Program should be viewed as an evolving package of features that will be made available for projects adopting the Arbitrum technology stack giving them access to a broad range of technical features and ecosystem initiatives.
If the Expansion Program is successful, this approach can provide a new project seeking to use the Arbitrum technology stack the best of both worlds: independence to tailor the software to meet specific business needs while benefiting from extensive support from the Arbitrum community.