Meme Coin Mania Drives Degens to Base, the Ethereum Level-2 Chain from Coinbase

Meme Coin Mania Drives Degens to Base, the Ethereum Level-2 Chain from Coinbase


“If you build it, they will come,” a mysterious voice whispered to Kevin Costner in Field of Dreams—yet the phrase seems to ring equally true for degens in search of lucrative gains on Coinbase’s Ethereum layer-2 network Base.

The network, which Coinbase launched for developers on July 13, has seen an influx of recent activity related to meme coins. Traders are snapping up obscure tokens like BALD, COIN, and BASED on the network using the decentralized exchange LeetSwap.

LeetSwap has recorded nearly $200 million in trading volume over the past day across 377,000 transactions, according to DEX Screener. Aside from RocketSwap, LeetSwap is the only other decentralized exchange on Base where tokens can trade without reliance on financial intermediaries.

More than half of LeetSwap’s daily trading volume was comprised of BALD transactions. The token, possibly a reference to Coinbase CEO Brian Armstrong’s shaved head, has surged close to 3,100% over the past day to $0.06718.

BASED had bounced more than 1,000,000% over the same period, and it currently trades hands at $0.02916. The token, despite being around for less than a day, has already notched a market capitalization of $291 million.

Other nascent tokens have notched dizzying gains. Not to be confused with Coinbase’s stock ticker name on the Nasdaq, COIN eclipsed $0.17 on around $1.1 million in daily trading volume, posting gains of 15,400% over the past 24 hours.

Base’s public launch is slated for August. And at the moment, there’s no official way for traders to bridge Ethereum from its mainnet over to Base. However, a so-called Portal Proxy Contract allows developers to do just that.

On Sunday alone, $54 million of Ethereum had been bridged to Base, according to a Dune Analytics dashboard. The day before, less than $750,000 worth of Ethereum was ported over to Base.

However, withdrawing tokens from Base before its public launch is less straightforward than sending Ethereum to a smart contract. Coinbase provides a link to a GitHub repository for developers with details on how to achieve that.

Coinbase built Base in collaboration with Optimism, the Ethereum scaling solution that uses Optimistic Rollups to process transactions in batches and reduce fees.

Decentralized exchanges are a common venue for meme coin mania to take hold. Anyone can create a token, and without strict parameters for which ones get listed, decentralized exchanges are perhaps about as Wild West as crypto gets.

Noted crypto influencer Lady of Crypto said on Twitter that degens were effectively gambling with their hard-earned Ethereum. While she said she’d bridged over some funds to partake in the mania, she also warned followers to be vigilant against scammers and rug pulls.

“I fully expect to lose it all,” she said. “If you are going to gamble on BASE, make sure it’s money you can afford to lose.”

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