Decentralizing Base with the OP Stack and Optimism

Tl;DR We believe that decentralization is critical to an open cryptoeconomy. That’s why we will be deploying Base as the second L2 on the open-source OP Stack, following Optimism Mainnet, and joining as the second core developer of the OP Stack to accelerate that decentralized future. We’re excited to collaborate with OP Labs and the Optimism Collective to build on our shared vision for scaling Ethereum via a robust, interoperable web3 ecosystem that can onboard the next billion users into web3.

Keep reading for a commemorative NFT mint.

Launching Base to advance the cryptoeconomy

We’re launching Base, an Ethereum Layer 2 (L2) network offering a secure, low-cost, developer-friendly way to build decentralized apps or “dapps” onchain.  Base is designed to deliver the security and scalability of Ethereum at a fraction of the cost. It is built on the OP Stack so that it can remain decentralized, permissionless, and open to anyone.

We see Base as the next step towards our mission of increasing economic freedom in the world. Base will serve as the home for Coinbase’s onchain products, and an open ecosystem for anyone building Ethereum scaling solutions and dapps. We want Base to be a seamless gateway for Coinbase users to access the broader cryptoeconomy, ultimately making web3 more accessible to a greater number of people.

However, we know that growing the cryptoeconomy cannot be accomplished by any single entity or company. Decentralization and collaboration are critical for the longer-term success of Base and scaling Ethereum.

That’s why we are working with OP Labs and the Optimism Collective on a plan to scale Ethereum in a decentralized way. Our vision is to create a robust developer ecosystem of interoperable L2s and rollups that will help onboard the next billion users into web3.

A shared vision for a superchain

We expect that there will be many rollups with significant activity, serving as “hubs” for different ecosystems. They will gradually increase their interoperability until they form a “mesh” or “Superchain” that jointly scales Ethereum. We believe this decentralized effort will create the foundation for a much more vibrant developer ecosystem than what would be possible by a single chain alone.

We began working with OP Labs, the first core dev of the OP Stack, on Ethereum Improvement Proposal (EIP) 4844. Through that work, we developed  a shared vision for scaling Ethereum. When EIP4844 was introduced in 2022, Coinbase and OP Labs both recognized it as the missing piece required for Ethereum to enable L2s that would achieve the 10-100x cost savings, and make the cryptoeconomy more affordable for mainstream users. We’ve worked with the Ethereum core development community over the last nine months to accelerate EIP4844 from “sometime in 2024” to the next Ethereum hard fork, with a target of summer 2023.

Through this work, we came to a common vision with OP Labs of how to scale Ethereum for the benefit of web3 developers, users, and the broader cryptoeconomy. To bring this vision to life, we’ll be working with the Optimism Collective (the DAO that today governs Optimism) to design and build a protocol that can sequence many L2s, and provide interoperability and composability between them via the OP Stack.

We are joining as the second core development team to accelerate the development and decentralization of the Superchain and the OP Stack. We will collaborate with OP Labs and the Optimism Collective to:

  • Accelerate activity in the Superchain: Base is the second L2 after Optimism Mainnet deployed on the OP Stack and intends to be part of the Superchain. Base will bring Coinbase’s onchain products and user base into the Superchain ecosystem, increasing activity in the Superchain while enabling Coinbase users to seamlessly interact with dapps and move assets across the ecosystem.

  • Add value to the Superchain: We will provide a percentage of the fees earned through transactions to the Optimism Collective to be a part of the Superchain, contributing back to funding the core public goods infrastructure of both the Superchain and the broader cryptoeconomy.

  • Advance the developer ecosystem: We will continue to work closely with OP Labs and the Optimism Collective to make it easier for developers to build new L2s and rollups, and deploy their applications across the Superchain. For example, we will collaborate with the Optimism Collective to co-create primitives (e.g. for identity) that can be used on L2s that join The Superchain, including Base and Optimism Mainnet.

  • Build towards an interoperable cryptoeconomy: Base and Optimism Mainnet will both operate as independent L2s for the short-term, offering a suite of products for the cryptoeconomy such as swaps, lending, etc. Longer-term, we anticipate that there will be use cases that make more sense to deploy either on Optimism Mainnet or Base, giving developers flexibility to deploy on L2s that fit their use case in the best manner.

Guided by decentralization

We believe the Superchain, as a network of interoperable L2s, will pave the way for greater participation, security, and new use cases. We know that an effort like this will take time and collaboration from many parties. That’s why, in charting the roadmap for the OP Stack and the Superchain, we are guided by the following principles:

  • Decentralization as a P0 priority for the OP Stack. Base and Optimism Mainnet are built on the OP Stack. The ongoing decentralization of the OP Stack, The Superchain, and L2s like Base and Optimism Mainnet is paramount to advance the global cryptoeconomy.

  • Decentralization takes time. Building robust, secure decentralized systems is a complex engineering challenge that requires significant effort and time. We recognize that the current implementation is not perfect, and will work together – along with new industry partners – to improve the decentralization of the OP Stack over time.

  • Collaboration accelerates decentralization. Base and OP Labs are combining our engineering resources and developing key features that will enable greater decentralization. We hope that many others will contribute resources in decentralizing the platform of the cryptoeconomy.

  • Collaboration is decentralization. By working together, Coinbase, Base, OP Labs, and the Optimism Collective, are explicitly furthering the decentralization of decision making and control of the OP Stack and the Superchain. Through cooperating on key governance mechanisms, we can provide structural decentralization at key points in the OP Stack design, significantly increasing the decentralization of the rollups that leverage it.

Our roadmap for decentralization in 2023

In 2023, we will work towards progressing Base and Optimism Mainnet from a Stage 0 rollup (as defined by Vitalik) to a Stage 1 rollup, with a significant level of decentralization and trustlessness. To achieve this, we are we are aiming to work with OP Labs and the Optimism Collective to:

  • Launch at least one fault prover for the OP Stack that will secure both Base and Optimism Mainnet by leveraging a set of validators to identify and challenge faults.

  • Decentralize upgradeability of the Base and Optimism Mainnet smart contracts, first to a security council with a decentralized quorum controlled by no single entity.

  • Launch an initial version of the Superchain that can sequence transactions for Base, Optimism Mainnet, and any OP Stack rollup, protecting the right for anyone to participate in these ecosystems

  • In 2024, we will work towards progressing Base and Optimism Mainnet to Stage 2 rollups, with levels of decentralization and security comparable to Ethereum. We have an ambitious roadmap, but believe our embodiment of the web3 ethos of collaboration will get us there.

Note: To mint this NFT, you’ll need Eth on the Optimism network.. Here’s how to send Coinbase deposits into Optimism.


Looking toward a decentralized future

We believe the technological foundation of the cryptoeconomy should be open source, freely available, and not controlled or owned by any one company. We couldn’t be more excited to start this journey by deploying Base, and collaborating with OP Labs and the Optimism Collective.

We are actively seeking other contributors, both individuals and organizations, who share this vision and want to build with us. Check out our website and docs to get started. Learn more about how to contribute to the OP stack.

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