Why Base Chain Has Potential to Lock the Next Generation of Crypto Users

The next era of Web3 will be defined by the ability of projects to attract and retain users, says Kelly Ye of Decentral Park Capital. Coinbase’s Ethereum Layer 2 is showing the way forward.

AccessTimeIconApr 24, 2024 at 4:05 p.m. UTC
Updated Apr 24, 2024 at 4:07 p.m. UTC

As 2024 marks the 15th birthday for Bitcoin, we are at a stage similar to the 1990s, where crypto, like the internet, is crossing the chasm between early adoption to mainstream acceptance thanks to the improvements in blockchain performance.

We believe the critical next step to onboard the next billion users depends on blockchains’ ability to attract and retain users. To this point: Base, the Ethereum Layer 2 developed by Coinbase, has emerged as a frontrunner with impressive growth this year.

You're reading Crypto Long & Short, our weekly newsletter featuring insights, news and analysis for the professional investor. Sign up here to get it in your inbox every Wednesday.

Fees vs active users

Source: Token Terminal, April 2024

What Factors are Driving Base’s Success?

  1. Leveraging Coinbase for user acquisition: Base is developed by Coinbase to seamlessly bridge their users to the crypto economy. It is integrated into the Coinbase mobile and web applications, with easy fiat on and off ramps from the exchange. With 110 million users at Coinbase and 7 million on Base, there is much room to grow.
  2. User experience: Coinbase is launching major UI improvements addressing the biggest hurdles for mainstream adoption. The Smart wallet simplifies the login process without the need to remember lengthy recovery phrases while Magic Spend uses smart contracts to abstract away the complications of gas payments, allowing dApps to pay gas fees on behalf of their users. Furthermore, Coinbase is going to store more customer USDC balances on Base, making it easy to deploy cash on-chain.
  3. Strong community: Jesse Pollack, the creator of Base is also the biggest influencer within the Base community. We have also seen early success in social dApps building on Base such as Friend.Tech and Farcaster, demonstrating the benefits of Web3 social and building a loyal community.

Although Base does not have its own token, it uses ETH for gas, OP for governance, and AEVO, the token of the largest DEX on Base, functions as the Base ecosystem's incentive token through its vote escrow mechanism. The Base ecosystem fund is acquiring AERO to give out as incentives to projects so they can lock up AERO to incentivize liquidity.

While several established DeFi projects have deployed on Base, the native projects on Base have garnered a significant market share. Aerodrome, the largest DEX on Base by TVL, has generated almost the same amount of fees as Uniswap recently, a notable achievement considering Uniswap is deployed on 16 chains.

Aerodome vs uniswap

Source: Token Terminal, April 2024

Moonwell, the leading borrowing and lending protocol on Base, boasts a TVL that nearly matches those of AAVE and Compound on Base combined and has seen 4X user growth since the beginning of the year. Through the USDC Anywhere program, Moonwell can tap into USDC stored on any chains supported by Circle, in addition to the USDC stored on Coinbase.

Active vs inactive addresses

Source: Gauntlet, April 2024

Degen, initially a meme token but now utilized by Farcaster as the de facto in-app currency, has experienced a five-times increase in users within a month, exceeding the growth record set by BONK, the famous Solana meme coin.

Dune analytics cumulative users

Source: Dune Analytics, April 2024

With Coinbase's support and the rapid development of its ecosystem and community, Base is poised to be forebear to bring blockchain technology closer to mainstream adoption.

Edited by Benjamin Schiller.

Disclosure

Please note that our privacy policy, terms of use, cookies, and do not sell my personal information has been updated.

CoinDesk is an award-winning media outlet that covers the cryptocurrency industry. Its journalists abide by a strict set of editorial policies. In November 2023, CoinDesk was acquired by the Bullish group, owner of Bullish, a regulated, digital assets exchange. The Bullish group is majority-owned by Block.one; both companies have interests in a variety of blockchain and digital asset businesses and significant holdings of digital assets, including bitcoin. CoinDesk operates as an independent subsidiary with an editorial committee to protect journalistic independence. CoinDesk employees, including journalists, may receive options in the Bullish group as part of their compensation.

Kelly Ye

Kelly Ye is Head of Research at Decentral Park Capital.