In an exclusive interview with Decrypt, Coinbase CEO Brian Armstrong clarified that the cryptocurrency exchange has no intentions of launching a native token for its layer-2 network, Base. Armstrong’s statement contradicts earlier remarks made by Coinbase Chief Legal Officer Paul Grewal in September, suggesting the possibility of a token in the future.
While Coinbase spokespersons confirmed the absence of plans to issue a Base network token, Armstrong expressed satisfaction with Base’s progress since its August launch. Currently ranking as the third-largest layer-2 network by total value locked (TVL), Base boasts about $500 million in TVL and has seen substantial engagement, with approximately one million wallets interacting with the chain.
Emphasizing Base’s broader significance beyond Coinbase, Armstrong stressed its interoperability with the wider crypto community. Built on the Optimism stack on Ethereum, Base aims to be a part of an ambitious internal goal at Coinbase to facilitate transactions averaging under one second and one cent. This objective involves making layer-2 the default on the platform, including integrations with technologies like the Lightning Network on Bitcoin and other fast layer-1 solutions like Solana.
Armstrong likened the industry’s shift to layer-2 networks as comparable to the internet’s transition from dial-up to broadband, emphasizing the importance of bringing new applications online. While pleased to see other exchanges exploring their layer-2 networks, he questioned the necessity for every application to have its own layer-2 and suggested industry consolidation around one or two networks for efficiency.
The interview shed light on Coinbase’s commitment to making layer-2 the norm on its platform and the company’s multi-year effort to significantly increase the share of transactions occurring on layer-2 networks. Armstrong expressed his surprise at other exchanges following suit, launching their layer-2 networks, and welcomed the exploration of layer-2 solutions by various applications within the crypto space.