1 million wallets deploy Coinbase-backed Base's smart contracts during testing

Quick Take

  • Over one million wallets deployed smart contracts on Base’s test network during the Builder Quest period.
  • The surge in activity revealed critical stress points in Base’s network infrastructure.

Base, a Layer 2 network in development by Coinbase, reported that more than one million wallets initiated smart contracts on its test network during the Builder Quest period.

This initiative was designed to identify potential issues in the network, which is still a testnet, under high stress conditions. With this surge in activity, the team was able to identify critical stress points in both the platform’s design and infrastructure, which it is now actively addressing. Yet it found these issues difficult to solve while keeping the whole system working as intended.

During this testing phase, the network faced a significant spike in activity and a flood of data-intensive transactions. In response, developers increased the Base block gas limit — allowing for more transactions per block and aiming to mitigate the sharp rise in base fees.

However, following this modification, the team encountered challenges in securely delivering batches of cryptographic proofs of its network blocks back to Ethereum’s Goerli testnet, which serves as the Layer 1 (L1) chain in this context. A Layer 2 network runs on top of a Layer 1 network and batches transactions to it.

The team noted, “After the implementation of this [doubling gas limit] adjustment, we faced issues due to larger L2 blocks when trying to batch blocks back to the Goerli L1.” After this, the team continued with fine tuning parameters regarding how it batches transactions. 

“We fine-tuned parameters and made adjustments, hoping to reach equilibrium," Base said. “Despite these changes, the system struggled to reach equilibrium and publish the unsafe blocks to the L1. It wasn’t until the quests slowed down that we could close the gap — emphasizing the need for a more robust, long-term solution,” the team acknowledged.

Built on Optimism’s development software stack, known as the OP Stack, Base is designed to serve as a rollup network, similar to Optimism. It aims to execute off-chain computations on a secondary layer to facilitate faster, cheaper transactions — all while maintaining the security benefits of the Ethereum mainnet. Furthermore, this solution could potentially become the default Layer 2 network for Coinbase’s on-chain products.

Base responds with system optimizations

Base’s core team has made two optimizations in an attempt to stabilize the system after seeing a major spike in activity. First, the core team said, it enhanced the data compression, aiming to better use the "L1 transaction call data." Second, the team modified their system to allow the submission of multiple batches of transactions for each L1 block, rather than a single batch at a time. These changes, the team stated, could address the technical issues previously observed.

“As we look towards mainnet, these changes not only pave the way for possible increases in block gas limit but also ensure that base fees remain low and accessible for users," the team said. "They [changes] also increase the reliability of writing L2 data to the L1, crucial for maintaining speedy withdrawals and transactions.” 

The Base team previously reported its testnet has drawn interest from a range of developers and projects, including Blackbird, Thirdweb, OAK, and Parallel. Additionally, notable DeFi platforms like Uniswap and Aave are considering deploying on Base once it goes live.

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