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ptimism announced plans to halt ETH withdrawals from its Layer 2 network for one hour on February 15th. During this timeframe, deposits to the network from Ethereum's mainchain and normal transactions within Optimism will continue uninterrupted. However, moving ETH from Layer 2 back to Layer 1 will be paused as the organization runs a live trial of its upgraded incident response mechanisms.  

Optimism logo with blue background
Optimism announces 1 hour pause on ETH Withdrawals

Coordinating Security Across Chains

Optimism's existing incident response features include the ability to pause ETH withdrawals directly on-chain. However, the new system enhances coordination between connected chains within the Optimism "Superchain" ecosystem. Participating chains will now have the option to jointly halt withdrawals of ETH, ERC-20 tokens, and NFTs in the event of a security issue. This allows for a more comprehensive protection strategy that considers risks across the entire network of Optimism-powered blockchains.

Testing in a Real Environment

The upgraded incident response system has already been implemented on Optimism's testnet. However, triggering its functions on the live Optimism network with its real users and transactions will provide a truer evaluation of how the new protocols would perform under stress. During the one-hour window, Optimism will monitor the pause mechanism's behaviour and gather feedback on its utility and any needed adjustments. Regular drills are important for confirming that security measures work as intended and for identifying areas still requiring improvement.

Deploying Coordinated Defenses 

By undertaking a trial disruption of its services, even if only temporary, Optimism demonstrates a commitment to constantly assessing and strengthening protections for users. The coordinated incident response capabilities now being assessed could help optimize protection across the entire Optimism ecosystem moving forward. When threats do occur, having validated tools that allow related chains to present a united security front will be invaluable. The one-hour withdrawal suspension tests an upgrade intended to deploy defensive coordination at scale whenever needed to safeguard users and decentralized applications.

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