This is the first post in the Omni Fundamentals series where we outline core concepts powering the Omni Network for community members interested in more thorough technical explanations of what the Omni Network is, how it is secured, and what it makes possible.
The Omni Network is a blockchain purpose built to aggregate Ethereum's modular ecosystem, empowering developers to build global applications across all L2s on Ethereum while deriving security from $ETH itself. This means that developers get access to more users, and the users themselves can more easily access new and innovative applications. To achieve this, the Omni Network must maintain a global awareness of state across all other rollups and pass messages and function calls to them. In this post we’ll do a deep dive on how Omni securely views state on other rollups, how messages are passed along, and how this allows developers to build applications with fundamentally superior economics that will outcompete siloed applications.
How Does Omni View Rollup State?
The Omni Network consists of validators who restake $ETH and monitor state updates from rollups across the Ethereum ecosystem. By consistently and collectively agreeing on the state updates of rollups in the Ethereum ecosystem these state updates are fed into the Omni Network’s virtual machine (EVM). This empowers developers to build applications on Omni with a global view of the entire Ethereum ecosystem. Validators perform this responsibility in exchange for rewards derived from transaction fees submitted to the network. It is also necessary for them to stake capital ($ETH) to participate in this consensus game so that they can be penalized for malicious behavior. If a restaker attests to an invalid state update this will be provable on Ethereum L1 and the validator will have their $ETH slashed.
This mechanism provides the foundation upon which the Omni Network is built: a secure, global view of the entire Ethereum ecosystem.
How Are Messages Communicated Securely?
To interact with the Omni Network from a rollup, one must interact with a portal contract. Users do not need to do this directly, this will actually often be an implementation detail behind the scenes as app developers themselves will integrate the portal contracts into their application. These are easy to integrate and permissionlessly deployed to any rollup integrated within the Omni Network.
Anytime there is a state update in a portal contract $ETH restakers will come to consensus on this update and incorporate it into the Omni Network. This means that anytime a message is passed from another rollup it is handled with the security properties provided by the $ETH restakers. The Omni Network is a Turing complete EVM in itself, so the application could trigger a variety of things next.
- Message propagation — this is the simplest use case that most readers are likely familiar with. The application logic could simply say “forward this to Arbitrum” at which point the message would be relayed securely to Arbitrum to trigger application logic within that rollup. Most interoperability protocols facilitate this singular use case, but Omni achieves this with superior security properties and it is only just the beginning of what Omni is capable of delivering.
- Multiple message propagation — given that programmers can create applications of any kind within Omni it is possible that a single originating transaction on a rollup could trigger a number of outbound messages. For example, imagine that Alice posted 10 $ETH to an automation protocol tasked with ensuring her DeFi positions across all rollups do not fall below 200% collateralization. It is possible that the Omni Network could see this transaction and automatically send a message to Polygon’s zkEVM and another to Starknet to top up Alice’s positions. It is also possible that her positions currently all exceed her specified collateralization of 200% so that no outbound messages are passed right away, but the automation protocol begins to send out messages over multiple weeks to top up her accounts on each rollup as her positions fall below the 200% threshold. This is the fundamental differentiator between Omni and projects which only provide interoperability — Omni can facilitate interoperability between rollups but it can do so much more than that given that it is a generally programmable EVM.
- Update state within Omni — it is not required that a transaction on a rollup triggers a message to be passed to another differing rollup. For example, one could build a native omni-rollup token launchpad or NFT mint. In this scenario users would interact with portal contracts and simply be able to purchase the tokens or NFTs from any rollup across the entire Ethereum ecosystem and just have their tokens or NFT returned directly to them on their originating rollup. Users do not need to think about Omni at all in this scenario — their user experience is the same as normal applications, they just have access to an application that exists across the entire Ethereum ecosystem by default.
Omni: Powering Ethereum's Modular Future
The examples in #2 and #3 above are illustrative of what is possible when you empower developers to design applications globally for the Ethereum ecosystem. No longer are teams confined within a single rollup, they are now able to source users and liquidity across the entire Ethereum ecosystem. Applications that are built global by default have an immediate advantage over their competitors through having access to a far wider base of users and capital.
Over a number of years the Ethereum ecosystem has transitioned from an initial monolithic design to a modular focused roadmap, starting with Vitalik’s canonical post in 2020 on a rollup centric roadmap for Ethereum’s future. We have made so much progress as a community since then. Tens of thousands of users today are enjoying low cost L2 transactions with billions secured by rollups. This, however, has come at the cost of fragmentation. Omni was built to fix this. By deriving security from $ETH the Omni Network is purpose built to reunite the entire Ethereum ecosystem while maintaining access to the low fees enabled by all of our leading rollup partners.
The Omni Network is a layer 1 blockchain built to connect all rollups. Using Omni, developers can build global applications that are available across all rollups. Secured through restaking $ETH, Omni is next generation blockchain leading the frontier in both security and functionality.
Omni is backed by $18M from prominent investors such as Pantera Capital, Two Sigma Ventures and Jump Crypto.