Decentralizing Base with the OP Stack and Optimism

As a collaborative project between Coinbase and Optimism, Base was designed from the start to embrace decentralization. Base runs on Optimism's open source OP Stack and plans to progressively decentralize operations like transaction sequencing. This path allows Base to balance usability today with permissionless community control tomorrow.

The Importance of Decentralization

Decentralization is a core ethos of cryptocurrency and Web3. Rather than central authorities, public blockchains rely on distributed nodes checking and enforcing rules.

As an Ethereum scaling solution, Base inherits this decentralization philosophy. While Base development is currently centralized under Coinbase, the roadmap focuses on progressively decentralizing over time.

Decentralized networks support permissionless innovation, censorship resistance, fault tolerance, and align incentives between builders, operators, and users. Base embraces collaboration to accelerate the decentralization journey.

Launching on the OP Stack

Base runs on Optimism's OP Stack - an open source framework for building scalable L2 rollups. The OP Stack handles sequencing, cross-rollup communication, and consensus for chains like Base and Optimism.

Using a shared stack improves interoperability and reduces duplicate work across L2 teams. The open source OP Stack code is maintained by a community of developers.

By launching on the OP Stack, Base avoided a custom closed-source stack that would centralize control under Coinbase. The OP Stack gives Base decentralization right from the start.

Core Development Collaboration

In addition to using the OP Stack, Base is contributing developers to the OP Stack's open source development. Alongside Optimism, Base developers are now working on the OP Stack's core protocol.

Jointly evolving the technology provides opportunities to build in decentralized mechanisms and governance. Core development collaboration also improves interoperability between the chains launching on the OP Stack.

Together, Optimism and Base will accelerate development of features enabling permissionless participation, trust minimization, and progressive decentralization on the OP Stack.

Enabling the L2 Superchain

The long term plan is for OP Stack chains like Base and Optimism to form an "L2 superchain": a decentralized network of interoperable L2s that scale Ethereum as a whole.

The superchain will sequence transactions, pass messages, and transfer assets between participating L2s - forming a mesh of Ethereum rollups. Launching Base as an OP Stack chain lays the groundwork for superchain interoperability.

Developers will be able to deploy dApps on the most suitable L2 while still composing functionality across the superchain. Decentralized inter-rollup communication unlocks new innovative cross-chain architectures.

Decentralization Principles

Four principles guide Base's decentralization roadmap:

  1. Decentralization is a top priority - The Base and OP Stack communities value permissionless participation and trust minimization as top priorities.
  2. Decentralization takes time - Robust decentralized systems require complex engineering and safeguards. The process won't happen overnight but we're committed for the long-term.
  3. Collaboration drives decentralization - By pooling engineering resources, we can build features like fault proofs, fraud proofs, and decentralized sequencers faster together.
  4. Cooperation is decentralization - Jointly designing mechanisms like superchain governance decentralizes control and decision making power.

2023 Decentralization Roadmap

The near term roadmap focuses on reducing trust assumptions and distributing control:

1. Launch community fault provers - External validators who identify and challenge invalid state roots, strengthening security.

2. Decentralize contract upgradability - Initially via smart contract "Security Councils" with multiparty control.

3. Launch initial superchain - Allow permissionless L2s to join while coordinating sequencing in a decentralized way.

4. Progress towards community sequencers - Gradually transition block production from Coinbase nodes to diverse independent nodes.

These milestones will move Base towards stage 1 decentralization on Vitalik's rollup decentralization spectrum. Ongoing collaboration with Optimism will accelerate the journey to full decentralization.

Aligning Incentives for Decentralization

Finally, Base also aligns incentives by sharing fee revenue with the Optimism Community. The funds support public goods development that benefits the entire OP Stack ecosystem.

This mechanism allows Base to contribute to open tooling, infrastructure, and research that enable permissionless participation by other teams. A better OP Stack means a better Base.


From the OP Stack foundations to core development collaboration, Base embraces decentralization as a key principle. While the initial rollout focuses on usability and adoption, the roadmap lays a path to permissionless community control.

Through cooperation on technology, governance, and funding, Base and Optimism will open the door to a flourishing L2 ecosystem founded on the ideals of Web3.

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