On August 9, 2023, Coinbase, a leading crypto wallet and exchange, announced the release of “Base,” which it describes as “a ‘bridge’ for users into the cryptoeconomy.” Its goal? To house Coinbase’s existing on-chain products and an open ecosystem for millions of new decentralized apps.
Base was much-hyped even in its development stage. “I think it’s incredibly exciting that there’s been so much energy and appetite for folks to come and use Base, even before we publicly launched,” said Jesse Pollak, Coinbase’s senior director of engineering, in an interview with Decrypt.
The company says it has no plans to release a corresponding token at this time. In so doing, Coinbase may also be avoiding a regulatory minefield at a time when it is already facing serious legal pressure. On June 6, Coinbase was sued by the Securities and Exchange Commission for allegedly operating as an unlicensed securities exchange.
The agency also accused Coinbase of dealing in unregistered securities, among which it said were popular tokens like Solana, Polygon and Cardano.
Thus far, Base has enjoyed early overall success. As of September 19, 2023, Base has overtaken Solana to become the ninth-largest blockchain by TVL (total value locked). Per DeFiLlama data, DeFi protocols on Base have amassed deposits totaling $370.50 million, in contrast to Solana’s $310.25 million.
Base’s recent growth can be attributed to heightened activity on Web3 social media platform Friend.tech, as well as the recent addition of reputable DeFi applications to the blockchain over the past few weeks.
Friends.tech, released officially on August 19th, is a social token-driven platforms, which allow users—including individuals as well as brands and businesses—to create and monetize online communities using blockchain technology. After it suffered an initial devastating setback in late August, in which its revenues plummeted 90%, the media heralded its demise. In mid-September 2023, it seemingly got its second wind.