What is the ethereum coinbase? I understand it is an account, but what makes it different? Is it the same as Etherbase?

I've read it's the "default account for your console session."

Does that mean, when I interact with a dApp in Mist, this is the account Mist presumes I'm interacting from? Does this imply that coinbase is a status that can be set to different accounts (but only one account at a time)?

1 Answer 1


Crypto currencies and blockchains in general allow you to work with arbitrarily many accounts at the same time. However often people want to have a default/primary account (e.g. miners have a designated mining address, average users will usually use one particular account even if they have multiple one for other purposes).

Coinbase or etherbase (they are the same thing) is just this. However to keep it simple and less surprising, your coinbase account is actually the first account in your keystore (i.e. in theory the first account you ever created). You can manually set your etherbase to a different account if you reorder them (i.e. rename) in your keystore folder (btw, Geth 1.3.x requires a specific (relatively strange) key naming convention, but 1.4 onward will be able to use arbitrarily named keys from the keystore folder).

  • 3
    Do you know if this has anything to do with the company Coinbase?
    – ethereal
    Commented Sep 8, 2017 at 12:29
  • 6
    I guess the company is named after this concept
    – yname
    Commented Oct 8, 2017 at 0:28
  • That terminology was a company waiting to happen. Commented Sep 16, 2022 at 8:33
  • @ethereal The term "coinbase" didn't derive from "coinbase dot com" and it's the other way around: according to Wikipedia, "The company is named after coinbase transactions, which are special transactions that introduce cryptocurrency into circulation in proof of work cryptocurrencies."
    – eth
    Commented Sep 19, 2022 at 15:57

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