Coinbase's Base Chain Warns of 'Stuck' Transactions Amid Traffic Surge

Coinbase is warning users of high fees and slowdowns as traders flock to new Base meme coins.

AccessTimeIconMar 20, 2024 at 7:05 p.m. UTC
Updated Mar 20, 2024 at 7:07 p.m. UTC
10 Years of Decentralizing the Future
May 29-31, 2024 - Austin, TexasThe biggest and most established global event for everything crypto, blockchain and Web3.Register Now

Base, the layer-2 blockchain from U.S. crypto exchange Coinbase that helps users transact on Ethereum with lower fees, appears to be struggling to keep up with a new wave in network activity, according to an official status warning issued by the protocol.

"Base Mainnet is experiencing high traffic and increasing fees," the warning, which was posted to the official Coinbase status page, reads. "Some users are seeing their transactions stuck due to fees too low, and some wallets such as Coinbase Wallet do not currently allow for transaction cancellation."

Base is currently the third-largest layer-2 network on Ethereum by total deposits, with over $700 million in total value locked, according to DefiLlama. That number has surged this week as the wider crypto ecosystem was swept by a craze around "meme coins" – irreverently named digital tokens designed to generate internet buzz and appeal to a hype-driven subset of crypto enthusiasts.

Nansen data shows transactional count increased from the usual levels of under 200,000 a day, since late February, to over 600,000 on Monday.

"Due to high network traffic on the Base network, transaction fees increased over the last 24 hours. Some user transactions that were submitted with lower fees may be stuck in a 'pending' state," a representative for Coinbase told CoinDesk in an emailed statement. "If possible, users with pending transactions should cancel their transaction and resubmit with the latest estimated gas fee. If you are unable to cancel your pending transaction, the transaction will complete once traffic subsides."

"Rest assured, funds are safe," the statement concluded.

The rise in traffic comes amid calls for "Base season" among some crypto influencers on X. Since Monday, several posts show prominent traders promoting Base tokens – mostly meme coins – to their followers.

Tokens such as normie (NORMIE), Briun Armstrong (BRIUN) and brett (BRETT) are up as much as 500% over the past week, DEXTools data shows. Alongside the meme coin surge, users on social media have complained of fees on the network as high as $5. Typically, fees on the network hover well below $1.

A layer-2 "rollup," Base bundles up transactions from users and then settles them on Ethereum – offering users the benefit of quicker speeds and lower fees.

Some observers have taken to social media to compare Base to the layer-1 blockchain Solana, another low-fee crypto ecosystem that has been buoyed by the rise of meme tokens and has struggled to keep up with the increase in trading volumes.

Following the Base blowback, Jesse Pollak, who leads the protocols team at Coinbase and is credited as the creator of Base, wrote on X that "with more @base momentum will come more challenges and criticism."

Edited by Bradley Keoun.


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; 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.

Sam Kessler

Sam is CoinDesk's deputy managing editor for tech and protocols. He reports on decentralized technology, infrastructure and governance. He owns ETH and BTC.

Shaurya Malwa

Shaurya is the Deputy Managing Editor for the Data & Tokens team, focusing on decentralized finance, markets, on-chain data, and governance across all major and minor blockchains.

Learn more about Consensus 2024, CoinDesk's longest-running and most influential event that brings together all sides of crypto, blockchain and Web3. Head to to register and buy your pass now.