Inside Coinbase’s new Base blockchain and what to anticipate during ‘on-chain summer

Inside Coinbase's new Base blockchain and what to anticipate during 'on-chain summer

Building the Future of Crypto: An Interview with Base Co-Founder Paul Pollak

Coinbase Base

Collaborating with another popular layer-2 option known as Optimism, Base is built on the OP Stack as a way to optimize scalability. In a recent interview, Pollak shared insights with ANBLE contributor Anna Tutova about his journey in the industry, the motivation behind creating Base, and how the blockchain will shape the next wave of crypto adoption after its mainnet launches this month. 

(This interview has been edited for brevity and clarity.)

A Chance Lunch Leads to Crypto Enlightenment

“What can you tell us about your background, and how you got involved in the industry?”

Pollak recounted his serendipitous introduction to the world of crypto. Back in 2012, while attending university, he struck up a conversation about Bitcoin with someone at his lunch table. That someone turned out to be Olaf Carlson Wee, the future first employee of Coinbase. Meeting Wee and learning about Bitcoin sparked Pollak’s excitement for crypto.

At the time, Pollak was studying computer science and starting his own security and identity company. His company worked with crypto companies like Bitfinex and Bitmex, providing secure and easy-to-use identity verification services. In 2017, Pollak joined Coinbase through an acquisition, leading engineering teams and eventually taking on the challenge of bringing Coinbase on-chain.

Building Base: Enabling the Next Wave of Crypto Adoption

“It was a massive team effort. The company identified that the world was moving on-chain… After about a year of exploration, what we identified was: It’s still too hard, it’s still too expensive, it’s still too complex.”

Pollak explained that the motivation behind creating Base was rooted in Coinbase’s vision of enabling utility in the crypto economy and accelerating the next generation of crypto adoption. They realized that existing solutions were not user-friendly or accessible enough for mass adoption. Together with Optimism, they started developing Base, an easy-to-use platform for building and using decentralized applications (dApps).

Base, powered by the OP Stack, aims to contribute to the broader community and ecosystem. Pollak emphasized that Base and Optimism are not competitive but will come together to create a super chain, offering a unified experience for customers.

Optimism and Base: A Perfect Partnership

“We’ve been collaborating with Optimism for a long time… We decided to use the OP Stack, which is this open-source, MIT-licensed toolkit. We felt it was really a way we could build Base that would contribute back to the broader community and contribute back to the broader ecosystem.”

Base relies on Optimism’s OP Stack, an open-source toolkit. Pollak highlighted the excellent technology offered by Optimism and the opportunity to use existing open source tools, contributing to the community’s growth.

Base, an Optimistic rollup, benefits from the stack’s configurability and modularity. In fact, they are working on integrating ZKprover into the OP Stack, expanding their capabilities and exploring additional solutions proposed by high-quality teams like Risk Zero and O(1) Labs.

Mainnet Launch and Developer Adoption

“We launched the testnet in February, and we actually just opened up the mainnet for builders three weeks ago… In early August, we’re gonna be launching the full mainnet. At that point, we’re gonna have a hundred plus apps that are already ready to go.”

The mainnet launch for builders marks a significant milestone for Base. They have been gradually opening up access to ensure a smooth experience for developers before onboarding everyday users in August. The response from builders has been incredible, with thousands already utilizing Base to build their innovative projects.

Pollak emphasized the importance of individual builders in driving the future of crypto. He expressed his excitement in meeting with builders, whether working part-time or full-time, as they hold the potential to create impactful and unique dApps. He believes that significant innovation often emerges from individuals rather than larger companies.

Exciting Projects and Real-World Utility

“Top of mind for me: Parallel is a really cool game… Blackbird is a small-business and restaurant loyalty platform… Oak is building a local community currency stablecoin on Base.”

Base has become home to numerous exciting projects. Parallel, a captivating game, launched its beta version in July. Blackbird, created by the founder of Eater and Resy, is a loyalty platform for small businesses and restaurants. Additionally, Oak is building a local community currency stablecoin on Base.

Of course, popular protocols and infrastructure projects like Uniswap, Compound, Aave, and 0x will also be available on Base. The team at Base aims to expand its reach beyond finance and into areas like music, art, gaming, and social media – creating a real-world utility for its users.

No Token, Staying Close to Ethereum

“We’ve been really clear that we don’t have any plans for a token… Ethereum is a very workable gas token. It’s what people are already used to holding and spending to use on-chain applications.”

Unlike many other projects, Base has no plans for launching a related token. Pollak explained that Ethereum’s native currency (Ether) functions well as a gas token, facilitating on-chain transactions. The team behind Base wants to stay close to Ethereum and utilize its established infrastructure.

While Ethereum’s current gas fees can be costly, Pollak assured that running the same dApp on Base is significantly cheaper. With the upcoming EIP 4844 upgrade, the cost difference could be 20 to 100 times cheaper than using Ethereum alone.

The On-Chain Summer and the Future of Crypto

“I won’t speculate on prices, but we’ve been saying it pretty consistently: We believe this is on-chain summer. This is the summer where everything’s starting to move on-chain… there is so much energy. There’s so much happening. There’s so much impact that is being made every single day.”

Pollak expressed his optimism for the future of crypto. He perceives the industry as moving rapidly towards on-chain solutions, with countless launches, innovations, and enthusiastic participation at conferences. The impact and price implications of these developments remain uncertain, but Pollak believes this is just the beginning of a major shift in crypto adoption.

Enterprise Clients and Global Brands

“We are working with all kinds of builders on Base… starting this summer you will see that there are global brands that are building on Base, from consumer-packaged goods to finance to whatever you want.”

While Pollak couldn’t reveal specific details during the interview, he mentioned that Base has garnered interest from individual builders to some of the world’s largest companies. He hinted at global brands in various industries, such as consumer-packaged goods and finance, building on the Base platform. More information about these partnerships will be announced in the coming months.

In conclusion, Paul Pollak sheds light on the journey leading to the creation of Base and its collaboration with Optimism. He emphasizes the importance of individuals and their ability to drive innovation in the crypto space. Pollak’s positive outlook and enthusiasm for on-chain solutions, combined with the adoption of Base by developers and enterprise clients, suggest that the future of crypto is brimming with potential.

(Article Byline: Technology and Media Expert)