What is the Base Blockchain? Coinbase L2 Explained

Last Updated:
May 19, 2023
What is the Base Blockchain - Feature Image

Coinbase, a leading global cryptocurrency platform, has entered this arena with its Ethereum-based L2 solution, the Base blockchain. This article explores the Base blockchain, its unique features, and its potential impact on the blockchain ecosystem.

The blockchain space continues to evolve with innovative technologies aimed at addressing issues such as scalability, transaction speed, and high costs. One such innovation is the concept of Layer 2 (L2) solutions, built on top of existing blockchains, enhancing their capabilities while maintaining security and decentralization. Coinbase, a leading global cryptocurrency platform, has entered this arena with its Ethereum-based L2 solution, the Base blockchain. This article explores the Base blockchain, its unique features, and its potential impact on the blockchain ecosystem.

What is Base?

Base is a new Ethereum-based blockchain, constructed by Coinbase as an L2 network. It aims to provide a secure, low-cost, and developer-friendly platform for building decentralized applications (dApps). As an L2 network, Base sits on top of the Ethereum blockchain, offering EVM (Ethereum Virtual Machine) compatibility. It utilizes Optimism's OP Stack, aspiring to become a standard, modular, rollup-agnostic Superchain. This network is incubated within Coinbase and is designed to become progressively more decentralized over time.

Why Base Blockchain?

Coinbase's decision to build a new blockchain instead of using existing L2 networks stems from its desire to create one of the best environments for developers to build on-chain. Base combines Coinbase's decade-long experience in creating crypto products with existing blockchain technologies to offer a user-friendly, trusted, and secure blockchain for constructing web3 applications.

What Makes Base Blockchain Unique?

Base holds several distinguishing characteristics that set it apart from other L2 networks:

  • Ethereum Foundation: Base is built on the Ethereum blockchain, leveraging its security and decentralization while addressing scalability issues such as low throughput and high gas fees. Ethereum's proven security facilitates trust when onboarding into Base from Coinbase, Ethereum L1, or other interoperable chains.
  • Coinbase Support: Developers using Base have access to Coinbase's products, user base, and tools, benefiting from streamlined product integration, simple fiat onramps, and an ecosystem of 110+ million verified users and $80 billion in assets on the Coinbase platform.
  • Feature-rich and Affordable: As an EVM-compatible blockchain with low transaction fees, Base makes web3 more accessible to all developers. It offers APIs for gasless transactions and account abstraction for dApps, and easy-to-use bridges for multi-chain applications.
  • Open and Decentralized: Base strives to be a decentralized, permissionless platform. It uses Optimism's open-source OP Stack and aims to build a vibrant community of developers to push web3 forward.

Comparing Base with Other Layer 2 Networks

Coinbase believes that instead of a single L2 creating a monopoly, multiple L2s will emerge as hubs for different ecosystems, gradually becoming more interoperable and forming a "mesh" or "superchain" that collectively scales Ethereum. Base, therefore, is designed to be interoperable with other EVM-compatible chains, contributing to a larger Ethereum ecosystem.

Ethereum as the Base

Ethereum, and more broadly the EVM, hold the majority of developers, activity, and liquidity in the blockchain space. This is primarily due to Ethereum's reputation as one of the most mature, secure, and decentralized blockchains, making it a fitting foundation for the Base blockchain.

Current Status and Future Plans

As of now, Base is available only as a testnet, fully accessible for anyone to build web3 apps. Coinbase will be announcing their roadmap to mainnet and providing more developer resources soon. The plan is to progressively make the chain more decentralized, transitioning from a Stage 0 to Stage 1 rollup in 2023, and a Stage 2 rollup in 2024.

Other Important Information

Base's native currency is Ethereum (ETH). Currently, Coinbase has no plans to issue a network token for the Base blockchain.

How to Build on Base

Anyone can create smart contracts and build web3 applications on the Base testnet, readying them for deployment on the Base Mainnet when it's launched. Developers can use pre-built and customizable smart contracts, blockchain SDKs, and web3 tools offered by thirdweb, a launch partner of Base, to construct decentralized apps for free.


Base represents a significant step forward in realizing the web3 vision and making the blockchain more accessible. It aims to make building on-chain faster, easier, and cheaper while maintaining the security and decentralization advantages of Ethereum. By reducing gas fees and enhancing the chain's throughput, Base aspires to create a more open and free crypto economy, enabling all developers to build scalable web3 apps better positioned for mass adoption.