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Coinbase has launched the mainnet for Base, its Ethereum layer-2 network, as part of its bid to spur the development of millions of new decentralized apps.
After months in development, Coinbase is launching its Base through a month-long launch event called Onchain Summer. Since it was announced last week, the enthusiasm around Base has been strong with just over $142 million in total value locked in the ecosystem, an almost 52% increase in total value locked from the week leading up to the launch, according to Dune Analytics.
"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.
Pollak characterized Base's launch as part of a more ambitious plan of bringing millions of more users on-chain, and doing that means showcasing more of what can be done with the technology than just focusing around cryptocurrencies.
Part of this effort is being demonstrated with the more than 100 decentralized apps (dapp) that will be available with Base’s launch, a portion of which were created by developers who received early access to the blockchain last month.
Unlike other layer-2 networks, like Arbitrum and Optimism, Pollak insists that Coinbase has no plans to introduce any native tokens to Base. He said tokens "distort" what is being done on a network, something Coinbase would rather avoid in favor of focusing on incubating developers.
"We want folks to see Base as kind of an opportunity for growth and expansion," explained Pollak. "But we also think it's really important that we incubate, and curate a Base native community where folks who are really building base first, and creating for this new kind of world."
By not issuing a token, 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.
Pollak said the SEC's lawsuit is unlikely to derail work on Base, because it is aimed at areas of Coinbase’s business that are not directly related to the ecosystem that it is trying to foster.
"That pursuit is something that is pretty separate and distinct from the questions that the SEC is asking around tokens and regulating them," said Pollak, adding that Coinbase has been "really encouraged" by recent legislative and judicial changes around crypto regulation that he hopes will mean clearer regulatory clarity is forthcoming.