Base’s Commitment to Decentralization with the Superchain

TL;DR: Base is an open, permissionless Ethereum L2 incubated at Coinbase with a commitment to decentralization. Base was built on the open source OP Stack in collaboration with the Optimism Collective, and together, we are working toward improved decentralization using the Law of Chains as our guide. This commitment includes routing a portion of Base sequencer revenue to the Optimism Collective and actively participating in governance.

We launched Base with a big vision: bringing the next million developers and billion users onchain. In order to accomplish this vision, we believe that Base must be decentralized, because decentralization will help enable a global, open, onchain economy that will unlock economic freedom around the world.

From the beginning, we’ve prioritized decentralization on Base through our decision to build Base on the OP Stack in collaboration with the Optimism Collective. This collaboration has allowed us to build Base on an open source codebase that will scale Ethereum and further the entire onchain ecosystem.

The starting point: the dream of a Superchain

We had two key reasons for building on the OP Stack, in close collaboration with the Optimism Collective.

1) We believe the building blocks for a global, open economy should be a public good accessible to all developers.

As an open source public good, any developer today can build on or contribute to the OP Stack. When they do, they’ll join Base, OP Labs, and countless other teams across the industry who are working together to strengthen this public good. And the more hands on the code, the more chances to spot and secure the foundation, making everyone built on top stronger.

As the second core developer on the OP Stack after OP Labs, we’ll keep working alongside the Optimism Collective and the wider developer community to strengthen and scale the OP Stack. We’ve already made a major impact with this approach — with Base, we’ve made meaningful contributions to OP Stack and L2 scalability.

2)  We believe that Ethereum will scale through many interoperable chains — the Superchain

The Base and Optimism teams discovered a shared vision for scaling Ethereum when we worked together on EIP-4844. We dreamt of a "Superchain" future: a web of rollups and L2s, all working together to jointly scale Ethereum. Chains that are part of the Superchain will allow builders and users to transact and move across chains easily and affordably, creating a consistent user experience and laying the groundwork for teams everywhere to build a decentralized future.

Decentralizing Base and the OP Stack with Optimism

Base is committed to decentralizing Base and strengthening the OP Stack through technical improvements, commitment to the Law of Chains neutrality framework, and contributing back to public goods. These initiatives will not only strengthen Base, but the foundation on which the Superchain and the global, open, onchain economy can be built.

Technical improvements towards decentralization

Layer 2s (L2s) today are categorized from Stage 0 to Stage 2 (according to Vitalik) based on their level of decentralization. Stage 0, or "full training wheels", is the most centralized stage. As L2s move up the stages, they become more decentralized. Stage 1 is “limited training wheels,” and Stage 2 is “no training wheels.”

Right now, no L2 is at Stage 2. The tech needs to mature before L2s can safely reach higher degrees of decentralization. The more we can boost and scale the infrastructure supporting L2s, the faster we get to full decentralization.

We’re working closely with the Optimism Collective to improve the decentralization of the OP Stack and progress Base from a Stage 0 to Stage 2 L2, including:

  • Contributing to op-geth and op-node scalability and reliability: OP-geth is the first client implementation of the OP Stack and the Base team has already landed significant improvements that push forward the platform. We’ll keep working alongside OPLabs to scale, secure, and decentralize these clients.

  • OP-reth implementation for client and fault proof diversity: We’re working with Paradigm to support the implementation of op-reth, the fourth client of the OP Stack. Building an EVM-equivalent chain, on the foundation of Ethereum clients, we have a clear path to client diversity and fault-proof diversity. These initiatives will help reduce the risk of network failure and downtime, and reduce failure in the fault proof mechanism. OP-reth will be used to build a second fault proof client, enabling multi-client fault proving, a key milestone for decentralization and safety of the network.

  • Contributing to a next generation Security Council for the Superchain: Once live and approved by Optimism Governance, this Security Council will help secure Base, Optimism Mainnet, and the other chains that will be built on the OP Stack and participate in the Superchain.

  • Building Pessimism to improve monitoring and the safety of the OP Stack: Pessimism is a fully open-sourced monitoring stack designed to improve the safety of the OP Stack, with reliability and coverage. It enables us to understand all invariants we’re testing for (e.g. bridge issues) and assess technical risks.

Alongside our contributions, we’re excited to see OP Labs and other contributors to the OP Stack making fast progress on key decentralization goals, most notably fault proofs. We’re working closely with these teams to ensure that Base adopts these improvements as soon as they are ready.

Commitment to the Base Neutrality Principles and the Law of Chains

We believe Base must be an open, neutral ecosystem to enable a global onchain economy that unlocks economic freedom around the world. And we’re not alone: as the number of chains in the Superchain grows, it becomes crucial to establish a shared set of standards for these protocols.

To ensure this open future for everyone, as part of our Base Neutrality Principles, which the Coinbase team shared more on today, we’re proud to be committing to the “Law of Chains. The Law of Chains defines a common set of standards for Superchain protocols, including a commitment to neutrality, a decentralized security model, protections for users, chain operators, and chain governors across the ecosystem, and principles by which the community can turn the Law of Chains into governance decisions. This initial version of the Law of Chains was developed by the Optimism Foundation, with input from Base and others, and recently shared with the community for feedback. We’ll continue to support and shape this framework as it is reviewed and adopted by Optimism Collective governance.

As part of our commitment to the Law of Chains, we are launching Base with a key management structure design to remove any single point of centralization, including:

  • A 2-2 contract upgrade multisig structure that is designed to prevent any single entity or individual from triggering upgrades to the smart contracts. The two parts of the multisig will consist of the Base Upgrade Multisig and the Optimism Foundation Multisig, respectively managed by the Base team and the Optimism Foundation. This layered multisig will implement upgrades as determined by Optimism Governance, with no single entity having unilateral control over the canonical sequencer address, batcher, challenger, sequencer window, and other critical upgrades. This also means that Base and OP Mainnet will share upgrades, so the chains’ blockspace remains compatible, homogenous, and eventually interoperable in a Superchain future.

  • A 1-2 challenger key structure that will let either the Base team or the Optimism Foundation delete invalid output proposals in the event of a failure or misbehavior. Output proposals are proof of withdrawals from L2 to L1 that aim to prevent double spending. This challenger key structure aims to ensure the validity of output proposals, while preventing one party from having singular control.

In parallel, we are continuing to work on decentralizing the control of the upgrade keys to a Security Council, where a set of independent, geographically distributed community members will execute protocol upgrades as determined by OP governance for OP Mainnet, Base, and other members of the Superchain.

With our commitment to this framework, we hope to lead the way in creating open, permissionless, homogenous blockspace across the Superchain and thereby enable the global onchain economy.

Funding and supporting public goods

Finally, as we look to onboard the next billion users, we want to create a virtuous cycle that ensures sustainable funding for the open-source OP Stack and other public goods that enable Base, thereby creating more innovation and growth. To support that virtuous cycle, Base is working together with the Optimism Collective to:

  • Contribute a percentage of the Base sequencer revenue to the Optimism Collective. This amount will be contributed onchain, split from sequencer revenues and routed to the Optimism Collective to be allocated towards Retroactive Public Goods Funding (RetroPGF) or other ecosystem projects. Base has committed to contribute either 2.5% of Base's total revenue from sequencing or, if it's more, 15% of the profit Base makes from L2 transactions after subtracting the costs of submitting data to L1.

  • Participate in onchain governance. Base will take part in onchain governance to ensure the stability and integrity of the OP Stack and Superchain, alongside participating in the Law of Chains and supporting public goods funding. As part of our participation and contributions to the Optimism Collective, over the next six years, we will have the opportunity to earn up to 2.75% of the OP token supply, to enable us to participate as an active governance member. As part of our continued commitment to decentralization, our voting power at any point is limited to no more than 9% of the total votable supply. We also commit to providing transparent communication on how we will participate in governance.

Commitment to the Superchain vision

Base is committed to furthering the Superchain vision of an open, global and onchain economy via decentralization. Through our joint efforts with the Optimism Collective, we aim to create a more resilient foundation for the OP Stack and the Superchain.

We are excited for others to join the Superchain vision to help bring the next million builders and billion users onchain.

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