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Coinbase launches new standalone wallet (but it supports only Ethereum for now)



Coinbase has re-launched its wallet offering to try and become the “gateway to the decentralized internet.” Hopefully, it’s more than just a re-branding exercise.

In a recent blog post, Coinbase announced that it is revamping its wallet offering, retiring Toshi and making way for the Coinbase Wallet – an undeniably direct, and to the point name. Perhaps all the new users Coinbase is registering didn’t understand what a “Toshi” is.

However, Coinbase are keen to clarify that this is not just a renaming or rebranding exercize to raise awareness of a pre-existing product. The original Toshi app was lauched around a year ago and has become one of the preferred choices for those into their cryptocurrency.

The popular cryptocurrency exchange has highlighted some of the new features, which seem more comprehensive than your typical stand alone wallet app too.

As a Coinbase Wallet user you will be able to do all the things you would expect, like manage and send cryptocurrency to another wallet. For now, users will only be able to use the wallet with Ethereum ETH and all your ERC20 tokens, but support for Btcoin, Bitcoin Cash, and Litecoin is on its way.

You will also be able to use the app to receive airdrop tokens, buy and store non-fungible (unique and unreplicable) tokens, and also access a whole world of dApps (decentralized applications).

To some this might not be surprising, given that Coinbase has made a range of acquisitions latley. Most noteably was the acquisition of decentralized appp browser and wallet, Cipher Browser. Not to mention Coinbase also announced this week the acquisition of Distributed Systems to aid in the development of identity management apps. Perhaps the Coinbase Wallet is shaping up to include an identity management feature in the future.

Importantly as well, Coinbase stated that the app, and your private keys, are stored and secured in your smartphone’s “Secure Enclave” and authenticated using “biometric authentication technology.”

Assuming that the “Secure Eclave” is a type of trusted execution environment (TEE), (a section of the phone’s hardware which keeps sensitive information separate from the main CPU and storage), your funds should be as secure as they possibly could be on a smartphone – at least in principle.

Given our recent investigation into smartphones as cryptocurrency wallets, the point that you should never store more than you can afford to lose on a phone should remain, even if your wallet app is the gateway to the decentralized internet.

Published August 16, 2018 — 09:53 UTC

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