5 Reasons to Choose Base for Blockchain Development
Exciting news: Base is now live on Alchemy! Start building on Base today.
Base is a Layer 2 blockchain that takes advantage of optimistic rollups, a scaling protocol designed to boost the Ethereum ecosystem’s transaction throughput.
Understanding what Base is, how it differs from other optimistic rollup Layer 2 chains, and how it works is valuable information that can help inform developers decision to build on the Base L2.
This article will cover five reasons developers should build on Base, and how to do so.
What is Base?
Base is an Ethereum Layer-2 blockchain developed by Coinbase on Optimism’s OP Stack.
Base mainnet was officially launched on August 9th, 2023 with over 100 dapps such as Uniswap and Aave already integrated into the Base ecosystem.
The highly anticipated Layer 2 blockchain quickly surpassed its competitors in total value locked (TVL) and number of transactions.
5 Reasons to Choose Base for Blockchain Development
Built on the OP Stack, Base inherits much of the characteristics of Optimism mainnet including its optimistic rollup protocol, block production and execution mechanisms, and fraud proof processes.
Like Optimism mainnet, Base uses optimistic rollups to scale Ethereum’s transaction throughput in accordance with Ethereum’s long term goal for scalability.
Optimistic rollups maintain security by enforcing a one week challenge period where anyone can dispute a state transition using the fraud proof protocol. Base’s fraud proof system is not currently live.
This challenge period sacrifices user fund liveness when withdrawing to the Ethereum mainnet or moving funds across chains but provides much needed security in an optimistic protocol that inherently assumes (optimistically) that all transactions submitted to the L1 are valid.
It is important to note that the OP Stack has removed fraud proofs as a part of its EVM Equivalence update but is still committed to the development and integration of Cannon, a modular, trust-minimized, fraud proof VM.
1. EVM Equivalence
The EVM (Ethereum Virtual Machine) is the computational engine that acts as the state transition function for the Ethereum blockchain. At its core, Base uses the Optimistic Virtual Machine (OVM) for smart contract execution.
By using the same opcodes and a minimally modified Geth execution client, development on the OVM allows for integration with existing EVM tooling and resources.
Developers do not need extensive knowledge of optimisms internal workings to port over or even create new smart contracts that rely on optimistic rollup technology.
2. The Optimism Superchain
Given the momentum that Optimism has had and the weight that a major company like Coinbase brings, the Superchain dream is one step closer to fruition.
Developers that build on an OP chain (chains that use the OP Stack codebase and follow Superchain standardizations) experience many benefits such as:
1. Shared interoperability, sequencing, and governance
2. Open-source codebase with tested code that can be easily integrated into an OP Chain
3. Atomic cross-chain composability
The popularity of Optimism and the vision of a Superchain means that existing dapps and protocols need to only port over once to be fully cross-compatible with all other Superchains.
3. Coinbase Integration
As the largest crypto exchange platform in the United States and one of the largest centralized exchanges in the world, Coinbase boasts an impressive amount of transaction traffic, liquidity, users, and financial products.
Developers looking to build on Base expect to take advantage of Coinbase’s products, users, and assets.
The push from Coinbase to onboard its millions of users onto Base will provide users and developers deep liquidity, high transaction volume, easy fiat on-ramp integrations and a variety of financial tools that will enhance the web3 experience far beyond what other Layer 2 platforms provide.
Base has already launched its canonical UI based token bridge which is compatible with a Coinbase wallet, instantly opening up the door for tens of millions of users to move onchain.
4. Low Transaction Costs
Developers and end users can avoid paying exorbitant L1 gas fees on Base.
Transactions fees on Base are derived from the OP stack and consist of two separate fees: an L2 (execution) fee and an L1 (security) fee.
L2 Execution fee
The L2 fee is the smaller of the two fees and is the cost to execute a transaction on the L2 blockchain.
The L2 execution fee is determined the same way Ethereum calculates its fees after the implementation of EIP-1559.
Calculation of this fee can be done using the following equations:
L2_execution_fee = (L2_base_fee + L2_priority_fee) * L2_gas_used
note that L2_gas_used is the amount of gas for a given transaction and is approximately equal to the amount of gas necessary for the same transaction to be processed on Ethereum due to EVM equivalence.
Unlike Ethereum, however, the exact parameters for scaling base fee are not the same for any given OP Stack chain.
L1 Security fee
The L1 security fee (also known as the L1 data fee) is the larger of the two fees and is one of the primary differences in OVM vs EVM development.
The L1 security fee is the estimated cost to publish the transaction data within a rollup to the L1 and can be calculated using the following equations.
L1_data_fee = L1_gas_price * (tx_data_gas + fixed_overhead) * dynamic_overhead
tx_data_gas = count_zero_bytes(tx_data) * 4 + count_non_zero_bytes(tx_data) * 16
where dynamic_overhead and fixed_overhead are constants set by an OP Stack chain to scale cost of transactions based on network congestion and transaction complexity.
With almost negligible changes needed to port EVM compatible dapps, tools, and infrastructure to Base, along with at least 10x the cost savings compared to Ethereum from high transaction data compression, it’s easy to see why Base is becoming fertile ground for new development.
5. High TPS (Scalability)
Easily one of the most important reasons that developers choose to build on Base is the scalability that OP Stack chains provide to the Ethereum network.
Base’s optimistic rollup solution can theoretically help scale transaction throughput from 10x to 100x what is capable on Ethereum mainnet. Whereas Ethereum mainnet is only able to process ~15 TPS, with improvements to compression techniques, OP Stack chains such as Base would ideally be able to process up to 2000 TPS.
How to Build with Base
Building on Base is a streamlined process and can be easy for developers to jump into. The process detailed below is for developing and testing smart contracts on the Base Goerli testnet using Hardhat:
1. Install Node JS
2. Create and obtain free Base Goerli ETH on your wallet
3. Install and create a new Hardhat project
4. Configure Hardhat with Base Goerli by providing relevant network addresses (Chain ID: 84531)
5. Write your smart contract keeping in mind the notable differences in the OVM vs EVM (https://stack.optimism.io/docs/releases/bedrock/differences/#)
6. Deploy and verify your smart contract on the Goerli network