What is Linea — Team, History, Tokenomics and Possible Drawbacks

BingX
7 min readOct 16, 2023

The layer-2 ecosystem of Ethereum has been one of the fastest growing and most exciting subsectors of the cryptocurrency world for quite some time. The sheer volume of development and new projects that are arising within the field is enormous, which has now been highlighted by yet another project.

Linea, a new contender within the Ethereum layer-2, has seen a series of news and announcements recently, which is why we will introduce this project in today’s article.

What are Zero-Knowledge rollups?

Before we introduce Linea, let’s recap what Zero-Knowledge rollups are, as they play a crucial part in the project. ZK-rollups are a layer-2 scaling technology that is utilizing the zero-knowledge proofs to validate transactions with the goal of reducing the amount of data that the main chain would need to store and process. This should lead to cheaper and faster transactions, which is always the main goal of any scaling technology.

ZK-rollups are able to provide better scaling solutions thanks to bundling multiple transactions off the chain and compressing them into a single transaction that is later sent to the main chain of Ethereum.

In the case of the Linea project, we are, however, talking about zkEVM technology, which means that it not only uses zero-knowledge cryptography, but is also compatible with Ethereum’s Virtual Machine (EVM), which is a programming environment mostly for developers. It also allows existing applications based on Ethereum to be implemented over the new network without any additional risk or work. But how does all of this connect to Linea?

What is Linea?

Linea is a new promising layer-2 network that was rolled out mostly with developers in mind. Described as developer-first zk-rollup solution, Linea is trying to deliver zk-rollups in such a way that would support the environment for developers without any friction. And for that, Linea has decided to us zkEVM, which offers fast finalization and security of ZK solutions with EVM compatibility of rollups.

It was developed by the team behind MetaMask and ConsenSys, who formerly worked on ConsenSys zkEVM. It is believed to be the next evolution step of ConsenSys zkEVM, which should focus more on a new generation of dApps built on top of Ethereum.

Linea aims to deliver benefits to developers, who would not need to rewrite smart contracts or change code when migrating projects, but also to the users, who would benefit from security and trust of Ethereum, while also getting better privacy and faster and cheaper transactions.

Different usecases of Linea, source: linea.build

Moreover, Linea is designed to be highly composable and approachable. This means that it offers flexibility and scalability for developers, who would not need to be experts in zero-knowledge technology, allowing more developers to be able to work on a zkEVM.

Many believe that Linea can become the connecting line between the past of Ethereum and its possible future and potential. Meaning “line” in Latin, Linea aims to become the bridge between the old and new Ethereum, thus allowing developers to continue on a development of the Web3, while being able to return to the established paths of ConsenSys.

Team and ecosystem

Linea is able to leverage the fact that it has some of the brightest minds of the cryptocurrency world behind the project. For instance, ConsenSys is led by Joe Lubin, co-founder of Ethereum. With the developers who have helped projects such as MetaMask, it is safe to say that Linea is in safe and capable hands.

As of now, Linea has also one of the most impressive valuations of layer-2 solutions of Ethereum. Thanks to multiple funding rounds, Linea was able to raise more than $726 million at a valuation of $7 billion, beating almost all of the competitors in the field.

The ecosystem around the project is pretty big considering how new it is. Despite the obvious support of MetaMask, the project is already connected with the likes of Battlemon, Horizon DEX, Infura, Layerswap, Mintpad and many others. Moreover, the number of incoming projects that should be connected with Linea is astonishing as well. These include the likes of Aave, Bitget, Circle, Kyber Network, LayerZero Labs or Sushiswap.

History of Linea

Linea is one of the newest projects in the subsector of layer-2s on Ethereum. On 28th of March it rolled out testnet on MetaMask for all of its Chrome users. Huge number of users have tried the new project, as they believe that an airdrop can bring them significant funds. It is estimated that about 5 million wallets of MetaMask have tried testnet and mainnet of Linea.

On 11th of July of this year, Linea officially launched Mainnet Alpha, during which it has begun onboarding partners and users. It will also monitor the growth of the ecosystem as well as support those, who will decide to build on top of it. It has also commenced a bug bounty program and final testing before opening completely to the end users.

Only a week after the Mainnet launch, Linea has announced an NFT airdrop to its users. Linea Voyage, as the NFT collection is called, is a set of digital art pieces divided based on the contributions to the network. It portrays the emergence of a new global network through different stages including development, growth or connection.

Tokenomics and possible airdrop

When it comes to tokenomics, there is a bit of uncertainty and chaos. Linea has not clearly stated that there will be a Linea token. For instance, in ConsenSys blog post from 13th of December of last year, it was mentioned that it is too early to discuss launching a Linea token.

On the other hand, the developers and team behind Linea have also stated that they are looking at different ways to reward users who will help out in the testing phase of Linea. The fact that the project has also generated significant funds can only underline this assumption, however, people cannot take it as a certainty.

While there is not a certainty about whether or how the token will be launched, some people suspect it will be distributed via an airdrop. Up till now, Linea has only hinted that they are looking at ways to reward users who help with an improvement of the project, but have not clearly outlined any tokenomics.

It is also possible that it will be a rather complicated process to be eligible, since it might be too technical for everyday users. Combined with an uncertain future of the airdrop as such, people might not be too eager to try Linea without any clear incentive.

Additionally, the fact that there is no information on token utility, token lockup or allocation of the airdropped token only shows that as of now, the possibility of Linea token airdrop does not seem to be too real. However, as is very common in the cryptocurrency market, this can change extremely quickly.

Possible drawbacks of Linea

While the optimism around Linea is growing strong, there are some potential drawbacks that this project can face. Its potential is more than clear, but what are some negatives that the aspiring users have to bear in mind?

1.Number of competitors

The biggest one is probably the number of competitors. The “Ethereum layer-2 solution” scene is huge and it is only growing. There are already projects that were able to clearly place themselves and differentiate from the competition, while also gaining a significant community and users. Due to this, any new project will only make it more difficult to establish themselves, which is one of the reasons why Linea might not have it that simple.

2.Uncertainty around tokenomics and airdrop

The whole situation around tokenomics and airdrop is rather negative. The fact that the possibility of an airdrop can solely be viewed as a conspiracy right now definitely shows that the project is still in early stages. The missing information about the token as such could however negatively impact the community as well as the future development.

Until this gets resolved, the users should be rather cautious as any unexpected significant changes, such as an introduction of a native token or announcement of an airdrop, could push the project into a new direction which is now not planned.

3.Too young (so far)

Last but definitely not least, the fact that Linea is still a very young project highlights the possible risks. Besides the tokenomics and airdrop, there are several other uncertainties that could only endanger the development or future of it. Linea will for sure need a lot of time despite the fact that it has a huge funding and very interesting team of developers. Any project would need time to fully establish itself as one of the layer-2 solutions of Ethereum and Linea is no exception.

Conclusion

Past few weeks have brought a lot of news connected to Linea. Thanks to this, this emerging zkEVM rollup solution is currently gaining a lot of traction. However, despite the fact that it is supported by significant names in the industry, it would still need to prove itself in the future, as it has been around only for a while and there is still a lot of uncertainty connected to Linea.

Nevertheless, it is fair to say that the Ethereum’s layer-2 ecosystem just got a bit more interesting due to the emergence of Linea.

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