Coinbase’s layer-2 blockchain Base is officially launching its mainnet to the public on August 9, alongside its “Onchain Summer” collaboration, Jesse Pollak, lead for Base and head of protocols at Coinbase, shared on TechCrunch’s Chain Reaction podcast.
The platform has been operating on the testnet, which is a test phase of the blockchain network, from late February until mid-July, when it launched its “builder only phase” for developers, Pollak said. “We’ve reached a point where we felt there was a critical mass and we wanted to turn on this thing for everyone.” Users can start bridging their funds onchain to mint NFTs and get a “taste for Base,” Pollak said.
Upon the launch, Base will also kick off its Onchain Summer initiative, which aims to reframe the narrative around crypto to “something fun and engaging” by partnering with big consumer brands such as Coca-Cola and Atari, he said. The initiative will partner with Coinbase and over 50 brands, platforms, marketplaces and creators.
“If you look at use cases people are building to bring media, music, food and games onchain. Just in the last six-nine months, the breadth and diversity of use cases has started to become mind-boggling, alongside other things you might expect like payments, stablecoins and messaging.”
Since mid-July, a number of developers have deployed a number of smart contracts, testing out the chain for themselves. So far, Base has seen over $68 million worth of ether bridged to the network and over $200 million in trading volume and transactions, thanks to memecoins like BALD surging (and later plummeting). BALD was tradable through LeetSwap decentralized exchange, which is built on top of Base’s chain.
“My first reaction was, ‘This is crypto; of course this is happening,’” Pollak said. “Was this in our plans? Absolutely not. We’ve been focused on builders and that’s who we remain focused on… but because Base is an open, permissionless ecosystem, you’re going to see people build all sorts of things. And that’s OK, that’s the beauty of crypto.”
In general, Pollak sees onchain activity growing extremely quickly.
In order to push toward their mission to “transform the internet,” the blockchain is partnering with Prop House to offer over 100 ether, or about $185,000, in grants, to builders building on Base this summer. “We’re excited to see other applications stand up alongside this activity happening organically.”
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