#296: Coinbase Gears Up for Onchain Summer II

PLUS: 💼 Dragonfly's Crypto Comp Report and Animecoin's GachaGrab feature

Base’s Onchain Summer II

The days are getting longer, the weather’s getting warmer (at least for us here in the northern hemisphere) and the kids are out of school or will be soon. Do you feel it? Summer is coming 😎

And if summer is coming, it means Onchain Summer by Base (Coinbase’s Layer 2 network) is coming as well. But before we get into that, let’s look into some other efforts from Coinbase that caught my eye and how it complements what the Base team is up to.

Coinbase’s pizza ad campaign

A couple weeks ago, Coinbase came out with their latest ad campaign, which is pizza-themed.

Coinbase (more specifically their creative team) does a masterful job making crypto and the pain points it addresses more ‘real’. I imagine all of us have eaten pizza before, and most of us have ordered pizza before. If our pizza was delivered half-eaten, we’d be up in arms.

Coinbase isn’t a one-hit wonder with these types of themes and how they’re represented. The Mint a Penny campaign from a few months ago pushed the message of how pennies can still be valuable by showing as well as telling, and their Break the Cycle ad campaign hammers home the message that ‘just because you’re born into a system, doesn’t mean you have to live with it’.

Ad campaigns with this level of quality and scale can’t be pulled off by most in this space. However, it provides the inspiration that we need and encourages us to continue explaining concepts more simply and clearly, especially if the product/company is consumer-facing.

Coinbase Smart Wallets

During May’s Base Builder Fridays (a monthly call for updates on the Base ecosystem), Jesse Pollak shared updates on the Smart Wallet.

TLDR on what Smart Wallet does, allowing users to:

  • Onboard to use a crypto wallet in seconds, not minutes

  • Spend their Coinbase balance without needing to transfer that balance out first

  • Use other payment methods (debit card, credit card, etc.) to pay for onchain transactions, not just crypto. There’s no more ‘refilling’ your wallet balance.

  • Conduct transactions with multiple transactions, set spending limits, or creating access controls

  • Skip the hoops of installing additional extensions, apps, wallets, etc.

Is this…the mass consumer onboarding moment we’ve been waiting years for?!

Maybe, maybe not. This certainly is another tool in the toolbox to make that vision a reality though.

If any teams or developers interested in getting their dApps compatible with Smart Wallet, check out their docs here. Smart Wallet is currently only available on testnet, and will be available on mainnet by early June, which is just in time for…

Onchain Summer II

A couple weeks ago, Base announced that Onchain Summer will be coming back this year.

Onchain Summer was a campaign launched in August 2023 as a way to jumpstart attention, activity, and interest in the Base L2, partnering with notable teams and platforms such as Parallel, Coca-Cola, Zora, Atari, Optimism, and more.

Considering the fact that we’re seeing a second edition of Onchain Summer, this campaign/event/initiative/whatever you wanna call it is one that Base is claiming as its own. And this year, it seems like Onchain Summer is going to be longer than a month.

At this rate…

500 Days of Summer was a great romcom, fight me 😤

TLDR for Onchain Summer II:

  • Base and partners are offering over 600 ETH (~$1.75 million) in prizes, grants and gas credits for builders

  • Starts on June 3rd and ends in August

  • There will be 3 phases for the campaign, each with a different focus

    • June: Buildathon, a month-long online hackathon

    • July: Onboarding

    • August: Grow

  • The best projects from the Buildathon will receive promotional support from Base and Coinbase

Ecosystem Building Takeaways

For anyone out there building an ecosystem or community of their own — Sure, it’s completely unfair to compare yourselves against a $50 billion company. However, there are some themes to take from how Base is approaching Onchain Summer.

Drumming up developer interest

One recent and applicable comp to Base’s Onchain Summer initiative is Blast’s Big Bang competition. As different as their styles might be, the two ecosystems have to solve the same problems of how to acquire and retain builders to grow the broader network and increase the number of reasons users should transact on their chain.

As always, this isn’t comprehensive, but we can see the similarities and differences between the approaches of two emerging L2 ecosystems that continue to vie for limited developer talent available in the space.

Seasonal vs. Evergreen efforts

Although Onchain Summer II will last three months, which feels like forever in web3, it isn’t. That said, initiatives like Onchain Summer (especially since it’s 3 months now vs. 1) will have an evergreen impact. I would imagine a number of Buildathon winners may have the legs to grow beyond 'Onchain Summer season’ into something more ‘evergreen’ and last long after.

Positive flywheel

As Onchain Summer goes into its second year, it’s no surprise that this year’s edition will be bigger than last. On top of that, there will be a ‘cohort stacking’ type of effect for Base as a network. What do I mean by that?

Past - Base has grown and thrived as a network over the past year, whether it’s memecoins, Farcaster Frames, or even other ecosystems like $DEGEN (which has become a Layer 3 network as well).

Farcaster Frame volume over the past few months, Source

Present - In this case, I’m referring to present as relative to when Onchain Summer II occurs (June - August 2024), not literally today. A new crop of projects and experiments will launch thanks to the Buildathon and Smart Wallet launch.

Future - This is where the halo effect of an initiative like Onchain Summer comes into play, showcasing its ‘evergreen’ impact. An example of this that comes to mind is friendtech. Although friendtech launched during Onchain Summer last year, they weren’t featured. The socialfi app has had its ebbs and flows, with v2 giving it a renewed spark of interest and volume over the past month. Maybe they’ll do something with the upcoming Smart Wallet feature? 🤔



I know I was really trying to shoehorn in this ‘past, present, future’ framework lol.

It boils down to this: I believe Onchain Summer II is going to lead to a new class of interesting apps and projects, vacuum up a lot of attention, enable new capabilities via Smart Wallets, and hopefully bring in a new cohort of users.

Don’t be surprised if the influencers, newsletters, and podcasts start talking about Base and Onchain Summer once June comes around.

I’m looking forward to what Onchain Summer II has in store. It’ll be more than just good weather 🌞

Dragonfly’s Crypto Compensation Report

I was late to this one since I was out on my honeymoon, but I think it’s still worth sharing. A couple months ago Dragonfly (a VC fund) released the 2023 Crypto Compensation Report.

The report provides helpful insights into salary, equity, and token compensation insights across various types of roles, and also breaks down these metrics by US and International.

Some interesting nuggets:

  • US-based companies offer higher compensation across nearly all roles and seniority levels when compared to international-based companies, with some exceptions

  • US-based founders have slightly higher salaries, and significantly more equity ownership across the various fundraising stages

  • Most companies don’t adjust for cost of living in the early stages and are more likely to in the later stages

Note that this is based on a survey conducted across 49 companies in Dragonfly’s portfolio, so this isn’t representative of the whole industry, although it provides a solid directional idea.

So if you’re on the hunt for a new role, recruiting for that perfect candidate, or want a reference to put in your back pocket, this is a helpful set of datapoints to reference!

AnimeCoin launches GachaGrab

Also a development while I was out on my honeymoon, AnimeCoin (the token that will power the AnimeChain, founded by the Azuki team) launched GachaGrab, a fun way to reward Azuki ecosystem NFT holders.

This stuck out to me because of how polished the feature was and also the fact that I was in Asia at the time of the announcement and gacha was EVERYWHERE.

How does GachaGrab work?

  • Azuki ecosystem earn credits over time. Once the NFT earns 100 credits, you can spin to win a gachapon (those little ball things). Only unlisted NFTs can earn credits.

  • Credit earn rates can be boosted by creating squads — combinations of Azuki ecosystem assets. Boosts range from +6% to +10%, and some squad combos have a higher chance to reveal special Elemental, Gold, or Spirit gachapons.

  • Bonus credits can be earned from completing bonus quests

  • Credits can continue to accumulate even if you don’t spin. For example, I have 4 Beanz but I have 12 spins.

  • Gachapon rarity odds are based on your Azuki Collector Status Tier and Level

  • Gachapons earned from the NFTs will stay with the NFT if it is sold or transferred to the new owner

  • “No one knows what’s inside them, but we’ll find out soon!” My gut tells me it has something to do with the eventual token that will be released?

So in the spirit of doing this live here, I just ‘spun’ 12 times and got the usual low-end gachapons like the low-end collector that I am 😂

Anyway, this is a fun mechanic and another example of a combined engagement + retention mechanic that can scale as the ecosystem scales:

  • New collections (eg: Azuki launches a new collection)

  • New projects (eg: AnimeChain partners with another project)

  • New features (a new type of gachapon) can be added and layered on.

GachaGrab is also an elegant way to reward community members and encourage holding:

  • Holders: if you sell your NFT, you lose the gachapons associated with that NFT

  • Collectors: giving bonuses and higher credit earn rates to those with a higher Collector Status

Lastly, this is a great example of how web3 enhances a traditional mechanic like gacha (first invented in the 1960s!). Physical gacha machines are neutral — They don’t know if you are a massive Hello Kitty fan, they don’t know what how many times you’ve spun before, and they can’t tell if you spun the same items 3 times in a row (that would suck).

The modern version of this that has been adopted by mobile games over the past decade, and now web3 via AnimeChain puts on an entertaining new twist while giving a nod to the past.

See you next week!

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