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The Ethereum Mainnet Takes Back Control From Layer 2 Applications

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Ethereum is reclaiming dominance relative to its Layer 2 ecosystem, with the daily activity on L2s falling by one-third in the last six weeks.

According to L2beat, combined Layer 2 throughput is down 32% since peaking at 64.2 transactions per second (TPS) on Sept. 14, currently sitting at 43.8TPS. For comparison, Ethereum averages 12.6 TPS, a 1.6% increase over the same period.

Ethereum posted a brief spike to 18.8 TPS on Sept. 13 — buoyed by users bridging assets over to Base — but has consistently trended near 12 TPS throughout 2023.

Ethereum Mainnet Reclaims Dominance From Layer 2s

Ethereum Mainnet Reclaims Dominance From Layer 2s

L2 hype dies down


Much of the Layer 2 drawdown can be attributed to freshly deployed networks experiencing a retraction in activity after an initial wave of hype and incentives.

The initial frenzy of activity on Base, Coinbase’s OP Stack-based L2, has well and truly died down following its August mainnet launch. Base is now processing just at 3 transactions per second, down from 21.3 TPS on Sept. 14.

ZkSync Era’s throughput has slumped 50% since peaking at 15.2 TPS on Aug 26, despite Era now leading the Layer 2 sector by activity. Starknet is also down 53% from its Sep. 9 high at 4.7 TPS.

The top L2s by total value locked, long-standing incumbents Arbitrum and Optimism, suffered similar retracements. Arbitrum closely follows ZkSync Era with 7.3 TPS, down from a record high of 31.6 TPS amid the airdrop for its ARB token in March.

The OP Mainnet currently sits at 2.5 TPS, down from 10.4 in late July. However, the OP Labs team has since shifted its focus to supporting other L2s, including Base, with its OP Stack.

Despite the pull-back, Ethereum’s Layer 2 project is emerging has succeeded in its mission.

Layer 2 networks are driving more than 4.6 times as much activity than Ethereum’s base layer, meaning Ethereum’s ecosystem is facilitating far greater throughput at a fraction of the cost compared to before its L2 sector took off.

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