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Base is an Ethereum-based layer 2 network built by Coinbase to facilitate the development of decentralized applications (dapps) while incorporating established fiat onramps.
What is the Base layer 2 network?

Layer 2 solutions (L2s) have arguably become a necessity—and certainly commonplace—in the crypto and blockchain ecosystem. With ever-increasing adoption and use of blockchain infrastructure, established networks like Ethereum have become congested, slow, and pricey to navigate. To remove Projects like Arbitrum, Optimism, and Starknet have developed networks to offload data burden of these Layer 1s and create more streamlined experiences for end-users.

Base is an L2 network that was developed by Coinbase using tools provided by another L2, Optimism. Optimism’s OP Stack is open-source software that underlies its own L2 , and Base became the second network to launch using its code. This means that Base is an optimistic rollup. Its objective is to create a secure and efficient network that supports the building of dapps and makes it possible for developers to access Coinbase’s existing tools that connect millions of users (and their fiat resources) to crypto.

How was Base developed?

In early 2023, Coinbase announced that it was launching the testnet for its Base L2 network. It was pitched as a “secure, low-cost, developer-friendly way … to build decentralized apps.” The mainnet launched in August 2023. The L2 creation marked a landmark linkage between one of the world’s largest centralized exchanges and a group of developers leading a decentralized ecosystem.

The shared vision of Coinbase and Optimism’s community runs deeper than the Base L2 network. In 2022, Coinbase publicly announced its support of Ethereum’s EIP-4844, which introduced blob-carrying transactions (vital for proto-danksharding) and was the flagship of the Cancun-Deneb upgrade. This promised to make L2 networks even more cost-efficient, which theoretically benefits both Optimism and other networks that use its optimistic rollup technology—like Base. The two also share a vision of creating a Superchain, which is the theoretical meta-network of L2s that collectively scales Ethereum.

Over the course of 2023-2024, Coinbase set out to advance the operations of Base from what Ethereum founder Vitalik Buterin called a “Stage 0” rollup to a “Stage 2” rollup, incrementally gaining functionality and decentralization as a scaling solution to its L1 network.

Base is overseen by Jesse Pollak, a software developer and entrepreneur who has worked at Coinbase since 2017.

How does Base work?

Base is an optimistic rollup-based layer 2 scaling solution like Optimism. This model takes some of the complex computation of decentralized networks off-chain to de-congest the L1, then communicates transactions to the L1 in batches to decrease transaction fees. Base was originally built for Ethereum but aims to be available on multiple other blockchains. Multi-chain functionality is facilitated by third-party cross-chain protocols such as Axelar, Crossmint, LayerZero, and Wormhole.

At launch, Coinbase announced that it did not plan to release a token to accompany its network. As an Ethereum L2, the ETH token is used as a means to pay transaction fees on the network. Each fee consists of an L2 fee for transaction execution and an L1 fee for publishing the transaction on the underlying chain.

OP Stack

At the core of Base is Optimism’s OP Stack. This set of software components is maintained by the Optimism Collective and can be used by anyone to build L2 blockchains like Optimism. The goal of this open-source resource is to allow developers to create a Superchain network of L2s that share the responsibility of scaling Ethereum’s robust ecosystem. The OP Stack is additionally designed to be very similar to Ethereum, which makes development on Base more seamless for Ethereum’s strong developer base.

Interoperability and adoption

Within one year of its mainnet launch, Base was incorporated into a number of familiar protocols such as 0x, Aave, Uniswap, Sushiswap, and more. Also, because Base is closely connected to Coinbase, dapps in its ecosystem could potentially leverage the pre-existing fiat onramps that bring funding into the cryptocurrency environment.


  • Base is a layer 2 scaling solution built for Ethereum (with cross-chain capabilities) to foster robust and efficient decentralized application development.
  • Built by the centralized exchange Coinbase using Optimism’s OP Stack, Base is an optimistic rollup that launched in 2023.
  • Well-known protocols like Aave and Uniswap incorporated Base within its first year, highlighting its interoperability in existing blockchain infrastructure, and Base’s additional contact with Coinbase’s fiat onramps may provide it enthusiastic development as time goes on.

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