Coinbase launches its own Layer 2 network for building decentralized apps

On Feb 23, crypto exchange Coinbase announced the launch of Base — an Ethereum Layer 2 (L2) network. The company claimed this new network will offer a low-cost, secure, and developer-friendly environment for building decentralized apps (dApps) on the blockchain.

According to Coinbase, Base is designed to be a bridge for users into the crypto economy, offering access to other L1 ecosystems like Solana and making it interoperable with other chains. It will also provide access to Coinbase’s products, users, and tools, as well as easy fiat onramps and powerful acquisition tools. The company has no plans to issue a new network token.

Base will be built on the “OP Stack” used by Optimism. It will start off highly centralized, though Coinbase has released a detailed plan regarding how the network will decentralize over time.

In its blog post announcement, Coinbase said that Base will be “fully open source and freely available.” The company said it is joining the OP Stack core dev team to “ensure it’s a public good available to everyone.”

According to the announcement, Coinbase will continue to integrate as an exchange with other networks, and Base itself will be “a bridge, not an island.” Coinbase intends Base to be an easy-to-use network for its customers to get familiar with using crypto. But Coinbase will encourage users to “start on Base, but go everywhere.”

In its decentralization plan, Coinbase said that it is working with Op Labs and the Optimism Collective to decentralize the Optimism ecosystem by creating a “Superchain” of connecting networks built on the OP Stack. The company judges that the current version of Optimism is a “Stage 0 rollup,” citing Vitalik Buterin’s post on the decentralization of rollups. By the end of 2023, Coinbase said it plans to have progressed Base to “Stage 1.”

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