The aim is to solve the scalability issues and improve user experience
What is Optimism
According to their own website, Optimism is a Layer 2 Optimistic Rollup network designed to utilise the strong security guarantees of Ethereum while reducing its cost and latency. This would help users save on gas fee's and time by 'rolling up' transactions.
Ethereum, by supporting smart contracts, has grown into the second largest crypto project at time of writing. This popularity has come at a cost, as they cannot scale therefore the network is congested and expensive for users to interact with. That's where the L2 solutions come in. Optimism uses a technology called "Optimistic Rollups" which literally roll up bundles of transactions off-chain and validate them as a group to save on time and gas fee's.
Optimism's code is built to work just like ethereum and therefore is compatible with all ERC-20 tokens, so you can freely send them between the networks.
How to use Optimism
To use Optimism, you’ll have to deposit your ETH (or ERC-20 tokens) to the Optimism token bridge.
Explore the Optimism Collective
Using the bridge allows you to transact on Ethereum through Optimism. You can then convert your tokens back to the Ethereum mainnet once you’re finished.
You can connect to the Gateway through a Web 3.0 wallet, like MetaMask and then you can use any of the dApps on their ecosystem. Simple.
The Optimism Ecosystem
So what's the point of it all? Well now that you have bridged your Ethereum over to the optimism network, you are able to use them on Dapps within the ecosystem and save on fee's. You can for example trade on Uniswap using the optimism network and avoid the Ethereum gas fee's.
Take a look at all those shiny dApps!
Launching of OP token
Optimism have just launched the 'Optimism Collective'
The Optimism Collective is a large-scale experiment in digital democratic governance, built to drive rapid and sustainable growth of a decentralized ecosystem, and stewarded by the newly formed Optimism Foundation. - https://optimism.mirror.xyz/
The Token house is comprised of early adoption users that were airdropped the token for their various activities. The citizens house will be set up later in 2022 and will distribute public goods funding generated from the network, public goods refers to Ethereum and Optimism. This house will have users or 'citizens' designated with non-transferable NFT's or 'soulbound' NFT's .. this whole mechanism keeps the power and decision making out of a centralised system.
For Airdrop #1, Optimism allocated 5% of the initial OP supply for the following actions:
Optimism has a decentralised future, which is very exciting.
“Possibly the biggest attempt at non-token-holder centric DAO governance so far. Excited to see where this goes.”