That’s the idea behind Toshi, a new open-source bitcoin node implementation created by Coinbase. According to the announcement post: “Toshi is a full Bitcoin node, that is 100% compatible with Bitcoin Core and makes it easy to build web applications. It provides an API to query blockchain data, is written in Ruby, and is backed by PostgreSQL.”
If you’re not technically inclined, the ability to query the block chain via an SQL database using a JSON API might seem like an esoteric issue. In practical application, however, this means that app and website developers have a powerful new tool to instantly access raw blockchain data. In effect, Toshi removes an entire layer of complexity from the development process.
One additional factor is Toshi’s favor is that it was initially developed for Coinbase’s own in-house needs, and is still being actively developed. Instead of being a simple castoff piece of code the company is open-sourcing now that they no longer need it, Toshi is planned to power “a key piece” of Coinbase’s infrastructure. This means that the software will be continually developed, at least for the foreseeable future. The company did point out that as a v0.1 release, many things are likely to change in the coming months, including stability and performance tweaks, as well as API features. A hosted version of Toshi is currently available.