Bitcoin exchange and virtual wallet operator Coinbase is bidding to emulate China's hugely popular WeChat through a new unit that will offer a secure messaging app, an Ethereum wallet and a browser for Ethereum apps.
Similar to a web browser, the new platform, called Token, is a piece of software that runs on phones and allows users to access an open network.
The system offer a private and secure messaging app and a user-controlled Ethereum wallet for making payments as well as a browser for Ethereum apps that developers build.
The platform has a built in reputation system, with every user and app building their rep over time as they transact with others.
In a blog, Coinbase says that it has created Token in an effort to bring the kind of digital payments success seen by Chinese messaging app WeChat to the rest of the world.
Specifically, the firm is talking up Token's ability to boost financial inclusion by tapping into the ubiquity of smartphones and the potential of digital currency.
In addition, Token is designed to make it a lot easier for people to build and use Ethereum apps and to help shift digital currency away from being an investment to being a proper payment network.
A Token developer preview has gone live using testnet Ethereum so no real money is involved. A move to mainnet is planned in the next few months.