What is Base?
August 22, 2023

Base is an Ethereum-based Layer 2 blockchain built by Coinbase, created with the intention of onboarding developers and users.

What is Base?

Base is a blockchain built by Coinbase as a Layer 2 chain for the Ethereum network. It was announced in February 2023 by Coinbase with the stated purpose of integrating with Coinbase’s suite of products and onboarding the next billion users to web3. The Base blockchain is compatible with OpenSea.

How does Base work?

Base is a blockchain, which is a decentralized system of computers keeping a shared record of data through a consensus mechanism, built to interact with the Ethereum ecosystem. Ethereum is one of the most popular open-source blockchains built with smart contract functionality.

The Base blockchain operates as an EVM-compatible Layer 2 scaling solution, meaning that it processes its own transactions and then stores a compressed summary of that transaction data on the Ethereum chain. As part of its goal to be more scalable than its L1, Base aims to feature low gas fees and higher transaction throughput. According to Base’s documentation, “Base is designed to deliver the security and scalability of Ethereum at a fraction of the cost.”

Base is open source, meaning it’s permissionless for developers to build and deploy dApps and smart contracts to the chain. 

Coinbase has made Base a little different than other popular blockchains. Unlike some other Layer 2 chains, the Base chain does not plan to feature a network token, meaning there will be no governance of the network available via token. 

In their announcement, Coinbase emphasized that Base was designed to provide “easy, secure access” to Ethereum, other L1s, and L2s, explaining it’s “a bridge, not an island.” 

What is the OP Stack?

Base was built using the OP Stack (or Optimism Stack) piloted by the Optimism Collective with the intention of remaining decentralized, permissionless, and open to anyone. According to Optimism’s documentation, “The OP Stack is primarily focused around the creation of a shared, high-quality, and fully open-source system for creating new L2 blockchains. The OP Stack can be thought of as software components that either help define a specific layer of the Optimism ecosystem or fill a role as a module within an existing layer.”

The current OP Stack was built to support something called the Optimism Superchain, which is “a proposed network of L2s that share security, communication layers, and a common development stack (the OP Stack itself).”  The purpose of the OP Stack is to make it easy to create an L2 that will be compatible with the Superchain when it launches.

Base is joining Optimism as a Core Dev on the open-source OP Stack, and working to create a thriving community of other developers. 

Introducing the OP Stack — The Optimism Collective
Introducing the Optimism Stack

How to build on Base

Developers interested in building with Base can access developer documents for Base and apply for support from the Base Ecosystem Fund, which was set up to invest in and enable early-stage projects building on the blockchain.

Base is also supporting developers interested in working with Ethereum-based smart contracts with its Base Camp educational program.

The Base mainnet is open for developers to submit their dApps and protocols for launching on the blockchain.

What is the future of Base?

Coinbase has announced it will build a developer platform for Base so independent builders can deploy dApps via APIs and offer account abstraction, gasless transactions, onramps with fiat currency, deep integrations with Coinbase’s products, and multi-chain functionality using Base’s bridges.

🧠 Q&A

What gas fees will I pay when buying an NFT?

In web3, the term “gas fee” refers to the payment needed to execute transactions on the blockchain. Gas fees increase when more people use applications that run on top of a blockchain’s network, therefore competing for space within the block. Think of it like Uber’s surge pricing model that increases the cost of booking a ride during the busiest commuting times. OpenSea also doesn’t control gas fees, set gas fees, or receive any of the gas fees incurred by users on the platform. Instead, they all go to network validators or miners.

When you start the NFT purchase process using OpenSea, you’ll see the gas fee broken down by your wallet provider, so you can watch the fee refresh and complete the transaction when it’s low.

How are NFTs connected to blockchain technology?

NFTs operate on blockchain technology, making it possible to verify their ownership and easily transfer them from one owner to the next. Ethereum, Solana, and Klaytn are three examples of blockchains that store NFTs. 

A blockchain is a digitally distributed ledger that records transactions and information across a decentralized network. Most blockchains are verified by many nodes (read: computers), which is why you’ll hear them described as “decentralized.” Different blockchains may verify their transactions using different methods but ultimately operate similarly. 

Blockchain technology allows users to easily transfer, collect, and verify their NFTs. The provenance of an NFT is one of its biggest advantages.

How do I properly vet an NFT before buying it?

Web3 technology is still new and constantly evolving, so while no single action guarantees protection, there are best practices that can help. The best rule of thumb is that if something looks too good to be true, it probably is. Never share your wallet’s seed phrase, be careful when taking actions using your wallet, and make sure to thoroughly evaluate NFTs before buying.

OpenSea also has an icon visible via a blue checkmark badge on a collection or account. A blue checkmark badge on an account means that account has been verified. A blue checkmark badge on a collection means the collection belongs to a verified account and has significant interest or sales. (OpenSea does not endorse verified accounts or badged collections, and OpenSea makes no representations regarding the NFTs in a verified account or badged collection.)

OpenSea makes no representations or guarantees regarding the collections highlighted in this article.  Users must do their own research and use their own judgment before buying any NFT, including those included in the collections highlighted in this article.  The descriptions of the collections highlighted in this article were adapted from descriptions provided by the NFT creators, not OpenSea.