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Coinbase Launches Ethereum Layer-2 Network, Base, as It Enters Phase 3.5 of Its "Secret Master Plan"
Coinbase is Creating a Modular, Decentralised Layer-2 Solution to Enable Interoperability and More Powerful Wallets
Coinbase, one of the leading cryptocurrency exchanges in the world, has announced the launch of its Ethereum layer-2 network, Base. Base will initially be incubated within Coinbase but will eventually be fully decentralized. The network will be powered through Optimism’s OP stack and will be joining as the stack’s second core contributor. With Base, Coinbase aims to make it possible to sequence multiple chains at once as part of its vision to build the next super-chain.
The Launch of Base and How It Works
The code for Base will be completely open-source, enabling it to preserve its critical, global, permissionless nature. Jesse Pollak, protocol lead at Coinbase, has emphasized the importance of decentralization and collaboration in making this vision a reality. Although there are no plans to issue a token, Base will use ether as its native asset, meaning users will be paying for gas fees in ETH. There are plans, however, to eventually bring USDC onto the network.
Account abstraction is an exciting feature of Base, allowing users to pay for gas in any currency, even if the underlying cost is in Ethereum. According to Pollak, this powerful feature will emerge in the year ahead.
The Vision for Base
In its initial launch, Coinbase plans to run its sequencer for Base, with plans to decentralize it and make it possible to sequence multiple chains simultaneously. A sequencer is similar to a validator, and it is responsible for ordering and executing transactions and submitting them to the layer-1 chain, which in this case will be Ethereum.
The long-term vision for Base is to have powerful interoperability between chains. Rather than having one chain that’s monolithic and requires everyone to be in the same place, many chains can work together to scale Ethereum, according to Pollak.
For Base’s initial launch, Coinbase will partner with several multichain bridge providers to allow interoperability with Ethereum layer-1 and other layer-2s. It will also allow interoperability with layer-1 ecosystems, including Solana.
Ben Jones, the co-founder of Optimism, believes that capital efficiency will improve alongside it as technology evolves. He also emphasizes the importance of building an easily upgradeable unified network, which is one of the main reasons why Coinbase chose Optimism as a partner for its latest release of Base.
The Modular Solution
One key goal of the initiative is to create technology that can be easily upgraded. Modularity is not a software limitation, according to Jones, but rather a particular derivation pipeline that enables data layers to be swapped. This approach will eventually allow for using the right proof systems in a way that makes fewer sacrifices.
Although zero-knowledge (zk) technology has been gaining momentum, Pollak believes that the difference in technology doesn’t define the product. Instead, he describes it as more of an implementation detail.
Data Availability on Base
Similar to other layer-2s, data availability on Base will be on Ethereum. Coinbase has been working with Optimism on something called EIP 4844, or proto danksharding, creating a new form of data availability on Ethereum.
This will make it 10 to 100 times cheaper for rollups like Optimism and Base to run, ultimately making it cheaper.