Since The Merge, Ethereum’s onchain fees have been considerably lower. However, combined transaction volume on layer two (L2) chains Arbitrum and Optimism has outpaced Ethereum’s onchain transaction output. On Saturday, Jan. 14, 2023, Ethereum processed 1.10 million onchain transactions, while combined transactions on Arbitrum and Optimism reached 1.32 million for the same day.
Rise of L2 Scaling Solutions Arbitrum and Optimism
Onchain transaction fees have decreased significantly since the first week of Aug. 2022 and even more so since the blockchain transitioned from a proof-of-work (PoW) blockchain to a proof-of-stake (PoS) network on Sept. 15, 2022. Data from etherscan.io’s gas tracker shows that the highest priority onchain ether transaction costs an estimated $0.75 or 23 gwei on Sunday afternoon at 5:00 p.m. Eastern Time.
According to Sunday, Jan. 15, 2023 data, the average Arbitrum transaction costs around $0.101 per transfer, while an Optimism transaction costs $0.1410 per transfer. L2 scaling solutions have become increasingly popular since 2020, with options such as Polygon Hermez, Zksync, Boba, and Starknet, in addition to Optimism and Arbitrum.
These solutions allow for faster and cheaper transactions by reducing the computational workload on the main blockchain network (Ethereum), or layer one (L1). Arbitrum and Optimism transactions are periodically “rolled up” and recorded on Ethereum using an optimistic rollup or optimistic virtual machine. Dune Analytics statistics show that both L2 networks, Arbitrum and Optimism, have seen a significant increase in daily transactions.
For example, Optimism recorded 737,191 transactions on Jan. 14, and Arbitrum captured 586,745 transactions on the same day. Since Jan. 10, 2023, the combined number of transactions on both Arbitrum and Optimism has surpassed the number of direct Ethereum onchain transfers. For example, on Jan. 10, the combined transaction count for both L2 scaling networks was around 1.12 million, while Ethereum processed 1.06 million on-chain transfers.
On Jan. 14, 2023, according to data from Dune Analytics, the combined transaction count for both L2 networks was around 1.32 million transactions, compared to the 1.10 million transactions settled on the Ethereum chain. Ethereum still processes a significant number of transactions per day compared to most blockchains. Since June 17, 2020, Ethereum has typically processed over a million transactions per day. However, a few other crypto networks settle more transactions than Ethereum does, such as XRP and Polygon.
On Jan. 14, Polygon recorded 3.10 million transactions and XRP saw 1.25 million transactions settled on that day. While the L2 chains Arbitrum and Optimism on their own have not surpassed Ethereum’s, XRP’s or Polygon’s transaction per day count, they have seen a significant increase in the last 12 months.
For example, on Jan. 15, 2022, Ethereum processed 1.17 million transactions that day, while Arbitrum processed 21,734 transfers per day, and Optimism processed 30,430 transactions per day. The data shows that over the last 12 months, Arbitrum’s transaction per day count has increased by 2,599%, and the L2 scaling solution Optimism’s daily transfer count has risen by 2,322% since Jan. 2022.