Traditionally, Ethereum Layer 2s have encouraged adoption by rewarding investors with native network tokens. Yet, since its mainnet launch in August, over $10B worth of ETH has flowed into the Base Layer 2 chain despite the fact that it has no such token incentive.
But how committed are the network’s developers to the tokenless model? In recent comments, Coinbase Chief Legal Officer Paul Grewal suggested that a Base token could still be on the cards.
In an interview with Decrypt during the Messari Mainnet event on Thursday, September 21, Grewal identified two factors that have informed Base’s tokenless design.
Firstly, he said that Base was built primarily to encourage experimentation and innovation. On the other hand, “the economics and the tokenization of the protocol is something that we are less focused on,” he noted.
Secondly, given the ongoing uncertainty over the legal status of crypto tokens in the United States, Grewal implied that the lack of regulatory clarity makes launching a new token less attractive.
However, going forward, he acknowledged that “a token could be viable at some point in the future. It’s not something we’ve ruled out entirely.”
Even without the incentive of token rewards, the rate at which Base has acquired new users has blown more established Ethereum Layer 2s out of the water.
According to CoinGecko, the network registered a million unique addresses within just eleven days of its launch.
Meanwhile, Optimism took 191 days and Arbitrum 303 days to reach the same milestone.
Less than 2 months since its genesis, Base has already eclipsed other L2s in several usage metrics. On its busiest days, daily transactions on the network have surpassed 1M.
Considering the total value locked (TVL) on Base, users have poured $2.61 B into the L2 chain, overtaking Solana and fast catching up with Optimism.
Commenting on the network’s achievements, Grewal said “we’re very excited about the early work being done on Base and the early adoption.” But he insisted that it’s still too early to grasp what kind of use cases will define Base as it evolves.
“For Coinbase, the goal has always been to expand the technology and to provide tools and technology for others to exercise their own creativity,” he observed.