faq

What is Obscuro?
Obscuro is a general-purpose, privacy-first Ethereum L2 solution that sits between Optimistic and ZK rollups. It leverages Trusted Execution Environments to benefit from the best of both worlds.


What problem does Obscuro solve?
Obscuro offers the same functionality as Ethereum and indeed leverages Ethereum for security, except it also solves the following four problems: Privacy - solving for privacy will unlock hundreds of new use cases.
  • MEV - moving value back into the hands of end-users.
  • Scalability - we've developed a novel protocol called Proof of Block Inclusion (or POBI for short), enabling Obscuro to scale massively.
  • Gas - with no Proof of Work and by leveraging Proof of Block Inclusion, gas on Obscuro is a fraction of what it is on L1.


How is Obscuro different from other L2s?
We're different in a few ways. Obscuro is a general-purpose L2 on Ethereum. Think Optimistic-based L2s; these allow you to redeploy/deploy existing/new Ethereum Dapps, save massively on gas and transact a lot faster, except they come with long withdrawal times and are generally centralized.
ZK-Rollups, the other type of L2 offers similar advantages; they have no withdrawal delay, however, they are not general-purpose. Currently, all rollup solutions are centralized. We designed Obscuro to sit in the sweet spot between Optimistic and ZK rollups. In addition, with Obscuro, out of the box, you'll be part of a completely decentralized network, get complete, privacy, data confidentially (private balances, transacting, etc.), and MEV prevention baked in.


How is Obscuro different from other privacy networks?
Rather than build an entirely new L1 network, Obscuro is an L2 built on Ethereum, so we leverage the security, adoption, and liquidity of Ethereum. This allows developers to build privacy-first applications while leveraging existing Ethereum smart contracts and existing developer tooling.


Why build on Ethereum?
Obscuro leverages Ethereum, the public blockchain with the greatest adoption, legitimacy, security, and liquidity, as a base layer to handle security and data availability and manage the inflow and outflow of value.


Why do you use TEEs, everyone is talking about ZK proofs?
ZK-proofs are a fascinating technology that provides another potential path forward for privacy. However, they're not currently suitable for decentralized, general-purpose smart contracts. They're also expensive and not yet well understood.


Can Intel as a manufacturer of TEEs steal all my money?
No. Obscuro doesn't leverage TEEs for integrity, only for privacy. At the very most, an incredibly advanced hacker with access to specialised resources might be able to leak data on what's happening on the network.


Aren't TEEs hacked all the time?
Yes and no. All hacks on TEEs have taken place under laboratory conditions, often with funding from TEE manufacturers, and have been quickly patched. There are no known hacks in the wild.


What is a rollup?
A rollup is aggregated transaction data from an L2 posted as a single blob onto Ethereum. This allows all smart contract logic to run on the L2 in a highly-scalable way and then secured by the L1.


What is POBI?
POBI is a novel solution that solves the fair leader election problem and the L1/L2 synchronisation problem. It enables true L2 decentralization along with fast deposit and withdrawal times. Read the whitepaper section on POBI for a full explanation.


What is an Aggregator?
Aggregators are a special set of nodes on the network that are responsible for validating transactions and publishing the rollups back to L1.


Can anyone become an Aggregator?
Yes. A key innovation in the Obscuro protocol is that it's truly decentralized. Anyone can (and is encouraged!) become an Aggregator. All you need do is run the software and provide a stake to back up the protocol.


How trustless and decentralized is Obscuro?
Obscuro is completely decentralized, in the sense that Aggregators are free to join and leave the network, similar to Miners on Bitcoin and Ethereum. Trust is distributed across the network and not centralized in the hands of any particular actor.


How do I send my tokens to Obscuro?
Using the Obscuro bridge. Like other Rollups, Obscuro offers an Ethereum based bridge that is secured using the POBI protocol. Consensus across the whole Obscuro network is required to authorise a withdrawal adding an additional layer of security.


Does Obscuro support smart contracts? How do I write one?
Yes. Obscuro is fully Turing-complete, just like Ethereum. In fact, it runs on the EVM. Smart Contracts can be programmed using the primary Ethereum smart contract languages, Serpent and Solidity.


Is Obscuro suitable for NFTs?
Yes. One of the problems L2s have when it comes to NFTs is the slow withdrawal times, and market makers cannot step-in, in the same way as they can with ERC20 tokens due to NFTs being non-fungible.


How do I pay for transactions on Obscuro?
Transactions on Obsuro are paid for using OBX, the native utility token of the network. The payment covers the cost of nodes running the network.


How can I contribute to the Obscuro project?
  • Join the team. We're currently hiring!
  • Contribute to our open-source efforts
  • Join the community on Discord