Coinbase has officially announced Token, an open source browser for the Ethereum network that will provide universal access to financial services. Token was developed just like a usual web browser that lets you access an open network. It does not host any of the apps you access, and you can be sure that you are always in control of your own funds.
Token consists of three things – a private and secure messaging app, a user controlled Ethereum wallet, and a browser for Ethereum apps. The developers have incorporated a reputation system in the open source browser for you to know for sure who you can trust. It takes some time for every user and app to build a reputation as they transact with others on the platform.
Token is largely inspired by apps like WeChat that are driving a large volume of digital payments in China. The aim was to create something for the rest of the world that works on open protocols.
Our plan is to build it out as a separate legal entity and brand, separate from Coinbase. Similar to what we're doing with GDAX.
— Brian Armstrong (@brian_armstrong) April 20, 2017
Nowadays, the world is facing a problem that many people still don’t have access to financial services. The solution can be found in digital currencies as far as smartphones become more mainstream.
“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…A growing body of evidence suggests that access to the right financial tools at critical moments can determine whether a poor household is able to capture an opportunity to move out of poverty or absorb a shock without being pushed deeper into debt”, the Gates Foundation says.
The Token’s developers have set three ambitious, long-term goals:
- To make financial services available for ~2B people in the developing world who have a cell phone, but don’t have access to a bank account.
- To significantly facilitate the development and usage of Ethereum applications.
- To prove that digital currency is not a speculative investment but a payment network for useful goods and services.
There are a number of protocols underneath the Token including the Signal Protocol from WhisperSystems, the Ethereum network, and the SOFA protocol. In the future, the team is planning to support Dapps via web3.js in an integrated webview and uPort as a decentralized identity system.
As Token is launched today, there still can be some bugs. But as far as it is a testnet Ethereum, you will not lose real money even if you encounter an issue.