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Arbitrum Pauses Odyssey as Layer 2 Fees Surpass Ethereum Mainnet Fees

The team says the problem should be solved by the upcoming Nitro upgrade.

Arbitrum Pauses Odyssey as Layer 2 Fees Surpass Ethereum Mainnet Fees
Cover by Louis-Frederic Schutzenberger

Key Takeaways

  • Arbitrum has decided to pause Odyssey, a multi-week initiative that rewards ecosystem explorers with exclusive NFTs, following a sudden surge in gas fees.
  • For a brief amount of time swaps were more expensive to perform on Arbitrum than on the Ethereum mainnet; they have now come back to normal levels.
  • Odyssey is set to resume after Arbitrum implements its Nitro upgrade.

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The Arbitrum team has decided to pause Odyssey following a spike in gas fees that briefly made swaps even more expensive on the Layer 2 solution than on Ethereum mainnet.

Odyssey Paused Until Nitro Upgrade

Arbitrum has decided to pause its Odyssey event following a spike in network gas fees.

At around 8:16 UTC the cost of performing a swap on Arbitrum was about $6.19, against $5.36 on Ethereum. Other users and protocols reported the issue even earlier, indicating the spike in gas fees may have lasted hours. Fees have now returned to normal, with Arbitrum swaps costing $0.61 at the time of writing.

Arbitrum is a Layer 2 scaling solution for the Ethereum network. By leveraging optimistic rollup technology, the protocol purports to offer users the security of the Ethereum blockchain at a relatively low cost. Higher gas fees on Arbitrum than on Ethereum are therefore a serious issue for the protocol.

The Arbitrum team claimed the spike in fees was due to the blockchain’s Odyssey event, a multi-week initiative that rewards ecosystem explorers with exclusive NFTs. Participation in Arbitrum exploded with the launch of Odyssey, with daily transactions going from 96,005 on Jun. 20 to an all-time high of 287,019 on Jun. 27.

The team decided to pause Odyssey to allow “all communities and projects within Arbitrum continue to have a friction-free experience.” 

It explained that while Arbitrum remains in beta its throughput will stay limited; however, the blockchain is expected to have “significantly more capacity before it begins to hit congestion” after it implements its Nitro upgrade. Nitro is also expected to greatly reduce the blockchain’s gas fees.

While no specific timeline has been set for the Nitro upgrade, the team seems to believe it will soon be implemented. The Odyssey event is set to resume after the upgrade.

The enthusiasm around Arbitrum’s Odyssey may be related to another Ethereum Layer 2 solution, Optimism, which in May airdropped significant sums to all early network participants; it has been speculated that Arbitrum will be making a similar move.

Disclosure: At the time of writing, the author of this piece owned ETH and several other cryptocurrencies.

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