Coinbase is to use the Ethereum decentralised platform to bring a web browser type experience to mobile phones, allowing the user to access financial services via an open network.
Token is the name of the new unit, and Coinbase listed the primary functions of the service as a private messaging app, a user controlled Ethereum wallet, and a browser for Ethereum apps.
A driving force behind the initiative is the success of WeChat, a digital payments service in China that is being widely used, and also works on a basis of open protocols.
Given the ubiquitous nature of cyber threats, security is regarded as central to the new service. A feature geared towards achieving this is the built in reputation system, aimed at advising the user on trustworthy connections. As transactions increase with a specific user and app, trust levels are built upon.
Token is also designed so as not to host any other apps accessed by the user, a further feature that is beneficial to security and overall control, keeping the user in command of their funds.
In the introductory blog post by Coinbase, some long terms goals are set out with a humanitarian direction, it says it aims to: “Provide financial services to the ~2B people in the developing world who have a cell phone, but don’t have access to a bank account.”
The blog post details the reasons behind this angle further by quoting The Gates Foundation, which said: “Worldwide, more than 2.5 billion adults do not have an account at a financial institution…Women, in particular, are largely excluded from the formal financial system.”
Ethereum have also provided the platform for the recently initiated Enterprise Ethereum Alliance, an alliance between major organisations such as J.P Morgan, Accenture, and Microsoft to work towards the uptake of Blockchain. This use case represents further interest in providing open-source services.