Coinbase’s Base wants to have zk-proofs alongside optimistic rollups

Quick Take

  • Coinbase’s Base currently relies on the OP Stack, which uses optimistic rollups.
  • Coinbase protocols lead Jesse Pollak anticipates zk-rollups coming to the OP Stack and that Base will adopt them.

Coinbase’s Base network, which currently relies on optimistic rollups for its connection to the Ethereum mainnet, could expand to include zk-proofs.

Optimistic rollups and zk-proofs are the main two options for creating Ethereum Layer 2 networks at present. The core difference is that optimistic rollups assume transactions are legitimate unless someone proves otherwise, while networks that use zk-proofs submit regular proofs that all transactions are legitimate. The latter is arguably more secure but more expensive.

Coinbase doesn’t want to land on one side of the coin; it wants to take advantage of both approaches.

“Right now people talk about optimistic rollups versus zk-rollups and instead what we've said is, no, we're just going to build a great rollup and we're going to make it open source, we're going to make it configurable and we're going to start building optimistic stuff because that's the kind of like shortest path,” Coinbase protocols lead Jesse Pollak said in an interview at ETHCC in Paris. “But ultimately we want to have both.”

A collaborative effort

On May 30, the Optimism Foundation put out a request for proposal for a zk-proof designed for the OP Stack. Pollak said that three teams applied, including RISC Zero and O(1) Labs, the company behind the Layer 1 network Mina.

Pollak said that he expects to see multiple implementations of zk-rollups — in the form of zk provers — included in the OP Stack by 2024. He anticipates that these will find adoption among Base, OP Mainnet and other networks using its codebase.

Pollak highlighted that one perk of building in the decentralized space is that it allows for community contributions and corresponding network effects.


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