Coinbase has launched Toshi, an open source iteration of its full bitcoin node that comes with an API. The iteration is developer-friendly, allowing them to build in functionality to query up-to-date blockchain data.
The conventional Bitcoin Core protocol was not designed to be easily queried, such as through a SQL database, or to scale millions of users across multiple servers.
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Developers can also host their own version of Toshi.
Coinbase notes that Toshi is in version 0.1 and performance and stability will be enhanced over time.
Bitcoin technology providers have been increasingly diversifying their portfolios, with trading, mining, APIs, wallets, ATMs becoming common to many. Many are starting to the see the advantages of investing in the groundwork for up-to-date blockchain data and API functionality. Gem, for example, makes this their business. Earlier this week, Coinkite announced their launch of Obelisk, a technology that functions as a full bitcoin node and data server.