Coinbase acquires Cipher Browser

One of the biggest cryptocurrency exchanges, Coinbase has acquired the Cipher Browser, in order to boost its ethereum wallet and decentralized mobile browser. At the end of last month, Coinbase announced that it will be adding ERC20 tokens support and with Cipher Browser acquisition, Coinbase is certainly taking its ERC20 business seriously. However, the terms of the deal have not been made public.

Cipher Browser is basically “the world’s first full-featured mobile dapp browser and wallet for the Ethereum blockchain.” It allows you to interact with dapps that are powered by ethereum on your mobile phones. Furthermore, Cipher enables its users to send, receive and store the ERC20 and Ether tokens.

Coinbase already has its own mobile ethereum wallet and DApp browser, Toshi, which is available for both iOS and Android devices. In addition to letting mobile users access DApps like CryptoKitties, the app also has a built-in messaging system, which uses the Signal protocol to offer end-to-end encrypted chats.

Terms of the deal were not disclosed, but the company did reveal that Peter Kim, Cipher’s creator, would join Coinbase as Toshi’s new head of engineering and work to integrate many of Cipher’s features into Toshi.

One of those features will be support for testnets, which allow developers to test their apps in a sandbox that mimics real-world implementation without having to risk actual funds. The lack of testnet support in Toshi had been a sticking point for DApp developers.

That Kim will immediately transition to developing Toshi is not surprising, as Emilie Choi — Coinbase’s new vice president of corporate and business development — is a fan of “acqhiring,” a strategy whereby a firm buys out another company primarily for the staff and their expertise.

As BlockExplorer reported, Coinbase is also rumored to be in discussions to acquire, a paid messaging platform that rewards users with cryptocurrency for replying to emails and completing other microtasks.

The news comes as Coinbase has started a new incubator fund called Coinbase Ventures to give cryptocurrency startups and their founders a boost. While the popular cryptocurrency exchange expects the fund’s profits to be small compared to those of its overall business, the fund already has $15 million and is expected to grow, CNBC reported.

Coinbase Ventures is designed to help launch firms and aid founders in the cryptocurrency and blockchain industries. And, since Coinbase seeks to foster relationships within those spaces, it could very well invest in companies that may be viewed as competitors.

“You may also see us invest in companies that ostensibly look competitive with Coinbase,” the company wrote in a blog post. “There may be nuance to the way these startups are building out their products. Or, in some cases, we may be comfortable investing in companies that are potentially competitive, because it’s in everyone’s interest to see the ecosystem innovate.”


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