The story of how George Hotz helped an Ethereum startup | Lex Fridman | Summary and Q&A

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October 26, 2020
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The story of how George Hotz helped an Ethereum startup | Lex Fridman

TL;DR

A crypto company called Optimism approached the speaker with a technical deadline related to a solidity to OVM compiler for scaling up Ethereum. The speaker stepped in to help them solve the problem, creating a legendary story.

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Questions & Answers

Q: What is Optimism and what were they trying to achieve?

Optimism is a spin-off of Plasma, a crypto company aiming to build L2 solutions on Ethereum. They wanted to improve scalability by running contracts elsewhere and only saving the computation results on-chain.

Q: What is L2 and how does it relate to Ethereum?

L2, or layer 2, is a computational layer that runs elsewhere but is secured by the base Ethereum chain (L1). It allows for off-chain computation, reducing the burden on L1 while maintaining security.

Q: What is solidity and why is it relevant in this context?

Solidity is the programming language used for writing Ethereum contracts. In this context, the speaker modified the solidity compiler to generate bytecode that complied with L2 restrictions and added hypervisor calls.

Q: How did the speaker approach solving the technical deadline?

Instead of using a transpiler to modify the bytecode, the speaker suggested modifying the compiler itself. They wrote a 300-line diff to the compiler, effectively solving the problem in a more efficient manner.

Summary & Key Takeaways

  • A crypto company called Optimism approached the speaker to solve a technical deadline for scaling up Ethereum.

  • Optimism is building layer 2 (L2) solutions on Ethereum to improve scalability and reduce the burden on Ethereum nodes.

  • The speaker modified the compiler to generate bytecode that didn't make restricted sys calls, effectively solving the problem.

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