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Base Gains Momentum As Memecoin Stronghold

Propelled by low fees and easy access, memecoin degens have taken over Coinbase’s Ethereum layer-2 blockchain.

Base Gains Momentum As Memecoin

On the morning of April 3rd, Bitget Wallet launched its own memecoin - Donotfomoew (MOEW), on Base. “Just for funsies, nothing too serious We wanna see what the power of memes can do,” the team said on X. One hour later, a trader had turned $13 thousand worth of MOEW into $2 million.

A month ago, nobody would have guessed that the hottest excentricities of the memecoin gold rush (or should we say memecoin blackjack?) would be taking place on the Ethereum layer-2 blockchain inaugurated by Coinbase during the summer of ’23.

Yet, during the past weeks, the low-utility, high-volatility internet-culture-oriented monies have taken the protocol to new heights.

The commotion of short-term investors for projects such as Degen ($DEGEN), Brett ($BRETT), Toshie ($TOSHI), and Normie ($NORMIE) has helped push the protocol's market cap to an all-time high of $3.79 million on Sunday.

Degen, a project that gained popularity as a currency for tipping on Farecaster, can be said to have some utility. The others? So far, its just pure banter.

The blockchain’s total value locked (TVL) is $1.23 billion at the time of writing, up from $540 million on March 4th, and today, there were over 2.7 billion daily transactions (one month ago, there were less than 400 million).

Coinbase’s chain child was created to allow crypto exchange clients easy access to DeFi and NFTs. While memecoins were not part of the company’s grand vision for Base, the cultural phenomenon could not be stopped once Ethereum completed its latest upgrade on March 13th.

Dencun led to the immediate reduction of the fees of Ethereum layer-two solutions. According to a spokesperson from Base, the average transaction fees went from 0.10 to 0.01 cents.

The upgrade on its layer-one put Coinbase’s chain on the same level-playing field as Solana, which, since the price of Bitcoin began to rise, has been the go-to blockchain for meme coins’ short-term traders to try their luck in outpacing the whims of the crypto market.

Besides the accessible bridge to crypto that Base provides to degen users and its low fees, the protocol has one more thing going for it. According to co-founder of crypto research firm Delphi Digital Anil Lulla, “It’s Coinbase’s L2, so they immediately get a lot more attention and credibility than most others, simply due to the distribution potential.”

Nothing, however, can protect investors from the price fluctuations of an asset class with no intrinsic value. In the mere 24 hours between April 2nd and 3rd, Base’s market cap fell by 19%. During the same time, Solana’s market cap dropped by 14%, according to data from CoinGecko.

Both chains have since recovered. Several degens have not.