If Coinbase succeeds, crypto will never be the same
How Base will likely make crypto unrecognizable.
GM POD fam!
You guessed it, this is another piece from Bears Are For Building. It’s a good one - and it ends with an awesome new program we’re testing for rewarding analysts, in case you missed it on Twitter!
But without further ado, let’s dive in to today’s executive insights:
Have you heard about Base?
One of the biggest announcements to come out of crypto in February was the launch of the new Coinbase blockchain, Base. It’s currently in testnet, and the data is live and freely query-able at flipsidecrypto.xyz.
When one of the world’s largest crypto exchanges announces they’re building a blockchain in the middle of a bear, you know we have to cover it here in Bears Are For Building.
So, let’s explore Base and how it might dramatically shift the Web3 landscape, all the way down to the data.
The Base Billion
It’s been refreshing to be nearly a quarter into the year without any major debacles (at least until SVB made headlines), and the Base launch really solidified hope for a productive year in the industry after what felt like a year of setbacks.
If you’re familiar with Coinbase, you know they’re one of the largest onramps into crypto in the world, and have built as seamless a user experience as crypto has ever offered. They’re bringing that same energy to Base, aiming to use the blockchain as a next step in onboarding users into Web3 — now, your Coinbase holdings can natively interface with a blockchain, and as the ecosystem’s dapps get built out and bridges get launched, every Coinbase user has almost no friction keeping them away from the rest of Web3.
Their goal is to onboard the next billion users to Web3, by making a blockchain accessible to the average person.
And so far, they’re off to a good start. They also seem to be doing it in sync with the values of the space.
Base makes use of Coinbase’s own security protocols as well as those of Ethereum, and is EVM-compatible. They’ve also got plans to decentralize it, which means it’s about as pure of a blockchain as you can imagine from a centralized crypto exchange.
Our Senior VP of engineering and product summarized it best:
“Base’s focus on developers and integration with Coinbase products makes it an extremely attractive blockchain to build on. We believe it has the potential to be an important blockchain in the EVM ecosystem.
Access to Base data will provide greater transparency to what is likely to be a fast-growing ecosystem.”
The geese are coming
The thing about onboarding a billion people is… that’s a lot of people.
Generous estimates put the current global crypto user population at about 400 million (though others are as conservative as 100 million). So Coinbase is shooting to bring at least 2.5x more people into the space than have ever been here before.
That amount of new activity will change the space rapidly. This is true with any environment. Put 10 ducks in a pond, and you’ve got a peaceful little duck pond. Add 25 geese, and things get violent.
Alright, I’ve never been the best at metaphor. But I can explain — while both are considered waterfowl (or, Web3 users), ducks (crypto natives) behave very differently from geese (crypto casuals).
That’s not a bad thing, as long as you can keep up. In a mass-adoption scenario like Base is working toward, the vast majority of onboarded users will likely not need to know much about blockchain and crypto to benefit from its use.
And that’s a good thing — we don’t need jargon and steep learning curves for the tech to benefit people. If you’re here, you already know what crypto can offer. And we know that convenience and ease of access wins in tech adoption.
So the more simply we can build useful tools built on-chain, the better off the world will be.
But that means crypto will look very different than it does today, because the majority of its users won’t need to be as involved as the average user is now.
What we do, not what we say
So, how can we prepare for the coming cultural disruption?
(Shameless plug, but what can I say, it’s true!)
On-chain behavior is constantly changing in crypto, which is one of the many reasons it’s so important to make reliable, human-readable data accessible to everyone in the space.
The more people get onboarded, the faster and more intense that rate of change becomes.
The longer Base exists, and the closer they get to their goal, the more important it is to watch the data closely.
What you build is best informed by the needs of the users, and as the user population continues to grow and change, you’ll need to rely on data to help you stay ahead of the curve.
What you’re looking for isn’t the narratives people talk about necessarily — it’s what people do that matters. And that’s exactly the information you find stored in on-chain data.
Even if you’re not an analyst, you can watch activity trends develop before your eyes by browsing dashboards at flipsidecrypto.xyz.
If you are an analyst, it’s never been more important for you to create and share your work to help people stay informed.
That’s why we recently launched Top 8 Rewards — the more people your dashboards help and the longer your work is in a Top 8 slot, the more money you earn. Check it out, and keep up the good work!
Want more executive insights on building better in Web3? Subscribe to Bears Are For Building for one weekly newsletter from Flipside executives.