The Protocol: Restaking Tokens Are Exploding, and Restaking Isn’t Even Live

BASE VS. BITCOIN? A series of posts appeared on the social-media platform X complaining that the U.S. crypto exchange Coinbase’s online payment protocol, Coinbase Commerce, didn’t allow payment from self-custody bitcoin (BTC) wallets. CEO Brian Armstrong replied that executives at the company “believe paying with crypto is going to primarily happen on layer 2 in the future and we want to help make that happen.” He added that “I think the market for people paying for everyday items on layer 1 will be pretty small, regardless of what chain (maybe other than Solana).” Currently, the fastest checkout on the company’s online payment protocol, Coinbase Commerce, is “with any ERC-20 on layer 2 (Base, Polygon, etc),” Armstrong wrote. “This includes Ethereum, USDC, wrapped Bitcoin and thousands of ERC-20 tokens.” Base, of course, if Coinbase’s own layer-2 network atop Ethereum, launched last year with much fanfare. Within a couple hours of Armstrong’s posts, Lauren Dowling, product lead for Coinbase Commerce, chimed in to explain that “the product is evolving,” and “the new Commerce product enforces the details of each payment onchain, supports hundreds of assets (native and ERC-20s) across Base, Polygon and Ethereum, & automatically converts payments to USDC onchain at a guaranteed rate to merchants.” Delivering the capabilities on the Bitcoin blockchain “without smart contracts and stablecoins was challenging & we therefore made the difficult decision to remove native Bitcoin & other UTXO support.” According to Dowling, customers can still pay in bitcoin from their Coinbase accounts. At least one notable bitcoiner, Udi Wertheimer of the Taproot Wizards project, came to Coinbase’s defense: “When brian armstrong and Coinbase say that the payment UX with bitcoin is bad, they know what they’re talking about.”

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