Coinbase is bidding to bring bitcoin to the developing world with an SMS interface that lets users carry out basic actions through text messages.
Once they have set up an account - verifying a phone number and setting up their six-digit PIN - people can carry out various actions by texting commands to a dedicated number.
In all, there are nine commands: checking a balance, viewing recent transactions, sending a bitcoin address, creating a QR code image link for an address, requesting and sending bitcoins from an email or phone number, checking the bitcoin price, and buying and selling coins.
For example, to show someone a QR code for $100 in bitcoin, a user simply texts 'qr $100', or to pay someone back for lunch 'send 650-555-1212 $20 for lunch'.
For transactions that affect the user's bitcoin balance - send, buy, and sell -, Coinbase confirms the command with a voice call and asks the customer to enter their PIN to verify.
Coinbase says that the new service will help open up bitcoin to people who arguably have most to gain from the virtual currency - those in second and third world countries that don't have access to the Internet or smartphones.