Coinbase, the big U.S. crypto exchange, plans to launch its new Base blockchain on Wednesday, CoinDesk interviewed Jesse Pollak, who’s leading the effort. Here’s an excerpted version.
Coinbase expects to get more revenue from decentralized applications or “dapps” that build atop Base than from the blockchain itself.
Coinbase has participated in discussions among developers over future upgrades for the Ethereum blockchain.
Coinbase aims to provide a “trusted interface, curated experiences” to people who previously have not spent a lot of time working with blockchains.
Coinbase, the big publicly traded U.S. crypto exchange, is preparing for the launch of its new Base blockchain on Wednesday, expected around noon ET (9 am Pacific time).
The new network, technically a “layer 2” blockchain built atop Ethereum, is expected to immediately vault into the top ranks of rival projects.
Even prior to its official public debut, there was already $133 million of deposits locked into apps and protocols on the new Base network, according to the crypto analysis firm Dune. That amount of “total value locked” or TVL – a common metric for evaluating blockchains and protocols – is enough to rank Base as the fifth-biggest layer-2 blockchain.
On Tuesday, CoinDesk had a zoom conversation with Jesse Pollak, creator of Base and head of protocols at Coinbase, about the new blockchain’s strategy, revenue potential and regulatory considerations.
A key point that Pollak emphasized: No publicly traded company has ever launched its own blockchain, so “there’s no playbook” for how to go about it.
The following Q&A has been edited for clarity and brevity.
CoinDesk: What does Coinbase get out of this initiative?
Pollak: Coinbase was started in 2012, before Ethereum, before smart contracts. It was really just a place to buy and sell bitcoin. And then over the last decade, it’s expanded, you know, adding more currencies, made it so you couldn’t just buy and sell, you could also save, you could stake, you borrow, you could lend. I think the kind of guiding North Star for Coinbase has been like, How do we enable people to safely and easily do things with crypto? That’s it. And I think historically that the aperture of what people can do with crypto has been relatively limited, right? It’s been mostly speculation, and mostly trading. And so that’s where Coinbase has focused most of the energy. That said, if you look at the “secret master plan” that [CEO] Brian [Armstrong] wrote in 2016, I think the vision has been, you know, a billion people in the crypto economy using millions of dapps that make their lives better.