Coinbase describes Token as a combination of a private, secure messaging app, a mobile browser for Ethereum apps, and an Ethereum wallet. The system was created to work like a global, open protocol version of China’s WeChat, India’s PayTM, and Kenya’s mPESA— all apps that drive large volumes of digital payments.
Because the app is made for small value payments, Coinbase opted to build Token for Ethereum, which has lower transaction fees than Bitcoin. In order to let users know who they can trust when it comes to money transfers, Token created a reputation system that allows users to build their trust profile each time they transact with others.
The impetus behind the new launch is to promote financial inclusion across the globe. In the blog post announcing Token, Coinbase wrote, “We believe that everyone in the world should have access to financial services, and with smartphones becoming ubiquitous, digital currency can make that happen.” The company has long term goals to “provide financial services to the 2 billion people in the developing world who have a cell phone, but don’t have access to a bank account; make it dramatically easier for people to build and use Ethereum applications; and shift digital currency from being just a speculative investment to being a payment network for useful goods and services.”
Founded in 2012, Coinbase serves as a digital currency wallet and offers tools to help merchants accept digital currencies at physical and digital points-of-sale. At FinovateSpring 2014, the company debuted Instant Exchange, a tool to help merchants avoid currency volatility when accepting digital currencies. Last month, Coinbase was granted approval to extend ether trades in New York and began offering margin trading to allow users to trade up to 3X leveraged orders on Bitcoin, Ethereum and Litecoin order books.