Coinbase’s layer-2 blockchain Base plans for mainnet launch in 2023

Welcome back to Chain Reaction, a podcast that interviews crypto newsmakers to better understand the technology behind the hype and the people working towards a decentralized future.

For this week’s episode, Jaquelyn interviewed Jesse Pollak, the leader for Base and head of protocols at Coinbase. Base is an Ethereum-focused layer 2 blockchain launched by Coinbase in February. Pollak previously led all retail engineering at Coinbase, including building Coinbase, Coinbase Pro, and Coinbase Wallet. In a past life, Pollak started Clef, a 2FA mobile app, and was an engineer at BuzzFeed.

The platform has been live in testnet since the end of February, a test phase of the blockchain network. It doesn’t share “official timelines,” but Pollak revealed exclusively to MinRegion that Base plans to launch the mainnet in 2023. Mainnet is the fully live version of a blockchain on the main network (hence the name: mainnet).

“It’s coming, we’re working hard on it,” Pollak said. “It’s our number one priority alongside the decentralization targets and the rest of the year is about making sure we get there as quickly as possible.”

Base’s vision is to bring a million builders and a billion users on-chain through “easy-to-use” products on its platform, Pollak said.

Coinbase has been building the crypto economy for over a decade, but Base hopes to derive some of that value for itself and plans to expand products and operations on-chain over the next decade. “I think less about Base passing Coinbase and more about how Base and Coinbase will work together over the next decade to help those million developers [and] billions of users on-chain,” Pollak said.

A number of crypto companies, platforms, marketplaces and infrastructure companies have committed to build on Base, including: Blockdaemon, Chainlink, Etherscan, Quicknode, Aave, Animoca Brands, Dune, Nansen, Magic Eden, Pyth, Rainbow Wallet, Ribbon Finance, The Graph, Wormhole and Gelato, just to name a few.

The near-term plan is to get Base to the mainnet and decentralize it, Pollak said. Coinbase CEO Brian Armstrong told Pollak, “We can’t decentralize this. We need to live up to that value and that ethos.”

Base hopes to be decentralized from Coinbase in “months or years” rather than a decade, Pollak said. The process of becoming decentralized “isn’t a forever timeline,” but rather a question of “how are we moving forward on this today,” Pollak added. “If I wake up every morning and say p zero, how do we decentralize?”

Of course, we talked a lot about Base on the podcast and where it’s headed in the future, as well as how regulation could affect the blockchain.

We also dove into:

  • Developers growing internationally
  • Community benefits building on Base
  • Blockchain Inspiration
  • Base’s performance so far
  • Advice for developers

The article mentioned during the episode can be found here.

Chain Reaction comes out every second Thursday at 12:00 PM PT, so be sure to subscribe to Apple Podcasts, Spotify, or your favorite pod platform to stay up to date with the latest web3 and crypto news.

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