Our portfolio company Coinbase announced something yesterday that went largely unnoticed, but might be one of the most important things to happen in the Bitcoin space in a while.

They put out a bunch of developer tools under the name Toshi, including a full open source version of their Bitcoin node. When you combine Toshi with the core Bitcoin APIs it comes with and the Coinbase APIs, you get a platform for building Bitcoin applications that is unmatched in the market.

The reality is building on top of the Bitcoin Core is not a simple task. There is a lot you need to do to make it work. Coinbase has been building on top of the Bitcoin Core for over two years and has addressed many (most?) of the obvious needs and they are now making all of that technology available to developers who want to build Bitcoin applications but don’t want to get knee deep in the Bitcoin Core.

There is a free hosted version of Toshi, you can download and run Toshi on your own servers, or you deploy Toshi to Heroku with just one click.

If you are building Bitcoin applications or thinking about it, check out Toshi. I think making Bitcoin easier for developers is a big thing and I’m pleased to see Coinbase doing exactly that.

#hacking finance

Comments (Archived):

  1. scottythebody

    Love this. A lot of the smartest devs I know are hacking away at block chain and proclaiming it “huge”. Getting more of them on it is going to really get this thing blowing up.

  2. jason wright

    why is Coinbase now available in fourteen overseas territories but is still not available in the UK?’Naka’ would have been a funny choice, and just because of the way it sounds. It can mean ‘middle’, as in ‘in the middle’. irregular cardiac arrhythmia.

    1. pointsnfigures

      available in Scotland soon

      1. Nick Grossman


      2. jason wright

        that would be quite excellent – i’d cross the border and conduct my Coinbase business there.i am so hoping that Scots vote yes for independence tomorrow. however, the extraordinary and undemocratic blitzkrieg by London’s political, media, and corporate class in the last 10 days may have just edged it for the no vote, but only just. It’s now a country split right down the middle.

  3. PavlovMaxim

    Is Toshi something like Ethereum, or I just didn’t dig deep enough?

    1. Joel Monegro

      Not really. It’s an API and open source server to interact with the blockchain with simple REST calls.

  4. Steve Goldenberg

    SWEET. I was talking about Bitcoin and the blockchain to my wife last night and I mentioned that I thought it was a technology that is going to have as a big an impact on the world as the Internet has had. At first she was skeptical but then I reminded her of the he first time she used the Internet 16 years ago and considered how much had changed since then. It’s simply thrilling to think what this technology could like like in a decade or two.

  5. tyronerubin

    Nice talk from Google ZetigesitFred Ehrsam, Coinbase – A Viable Contender for The Internet’s Second Coming

    1. fredwilson

      i had not seen that. early candidate for video of the week!thanks

    2. Richard

      Was coinbase built using a remote team?

      1. jason wright

        he indicated that. a euro currency eastern European country. Slovenia, maybe.

  6. JimHirshfield

    Very cool. Would love to see some sample apps built using these APIs. Particularly interested in apps that are transactional but not obvious financial transactional.

  7. pointsnfigures

    Great idea to move the ecosystem along.

  8. Mario Cantin

    Very smart move.

  9. greyenlightenment

    I hope bitcoin goes to $4,000 by end of year

  10. Sebastien Latapie

    I would love to see some example applications to help me better understand what this does. I’m already lost as to how this would work (need to go revisit the simple bitcoin explanation). Is it limited to Bitcoin as a financial transaction tool? Or can it be broader?

  11. Rob Underwood

    My son’s name is Toshi, so when I saw this post I was like “WHOA!” Here’s a picture of him at a Mets game earlier this year –…. Unlike the hosted version of the developer tools, I can give this Toshi a hug each night. Toshi’s hobbies are chess and minecraft.I am excited to see more development tools coming out for Bitcoin. Only when developers start really embracing Bitcoin as a platform on which to build new businesses will innovation around cryptocurrency start to take off.

    1. fredwilson

      he’s got a nice twinkle in his eyeswhat does he think about the Microsoft acquisition of Minecraft?

      1. Rob Underwood

        Thank you.He thinks Microsoft got a huge bargain given the many many hours children (and adults) are playing Minecraft now, which is really a huge platform strategy.He’s loving helping his older brother Taka to make their own mod in Java (through this course,…. They are better programmers already than their old man! (And he tells me he’d prefer to see Minecraft migrate from Java to Scala, but is worried instead Microsoft will introduce .NET in the mix)

        1. David Semeria

          How old is he? Scala is definitiely not for the feint hearted…

        2. fredwilson

          i’d like to hire Toshi when he’s hireable

  12. theschnaz

    Looks cool, I’m going to check it out. Thanks for posting!

  13. mike

    @fredwilson, this is getting too complex for much of us. what type of applications do you expect to be built? any predictions on how the bitlicense settles?

    1. mike

      apologies for the poor grammar

  14. Lightedstar

    Awesome; thanks for the heads up!

  15. William Mougayar

    Developing for Bitcoin is like treacherous waters. Anything that facilitates it is a good thing.