Coinbase (COIN), the large publicly traded U.S. crypto exchange, said its new Base blockchain has gone live, heralding the start of a new era of public companies running their own distributed networks.
Base was already live for testing by developers, but Coinbase officials said it would be open to the public as of 12 p.m. ET on Wednesday, and that time has now passed.
The new business push for Coinbase, which has one of the most closely followed crypto stocks, could ultimately allow the company to garner fees from running its own blockchain, in addition to a potentially even more lucrative stream of revenue from applications built atop it, executives say.
Coinbase CEO Brian Armstrong wrote in a "secret master plan" in 2016 that the fourth phase of the company's development would come from "decentralized apps," or dapps, designed to reach one billion people. The company held a direct listing of its shares on Nasdaq in April 2021.
Jesse Pollak, who is overseeing Base as Coinbase's head of protocols, said Tuesday in an interview that 100 dapps were already deployed or ready to go on the new network.
"Historically, the aperture of what people can do with crypto has been relatively limited, mostly speculation," Pollak said. "In order for Coinbase and crypto and this work that we're doing to have the impact that we all want, we need to move from the place where this is speculation to a place where this is integrated into every part of someone's day-to-day existence."
In connection with the Base launch, Coinbase announced plans for an "Onchain Summer" promotion with corporate partners, including Coca-Cola (KO), to show off the new project's capabilities.
Base L2 ranking
The new Base network is technically a “layer 2” blockchain built atop of the Ethereum blockchain, using OP Stack software from another popular layer 2 network, Optimism.
Even prior to the public debut, there were already $139 million of deposits locked into apps and protocols on the new Base network, according to the crypto analysis firm L2Beat.
That amount of “total value locked” or TVL a common metric for evaluating blockchains and protocols — is enough to rank Base as the fifth-largest layer-2 blockchain. Arbitrum One is first with about $6 billion, followed by OP Mainnet at $2.9 billion, zkSync Era at $430 million and dYdX with $336 million.
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