Why does Raiden need a token?

I understand that Raiden is now live (on alpha) on the mainnet. But I'm confused why it needs its own token (the RDN) to function. It just adds unnecessary friction to usage IMHO. Is there a token free version planned?

Submitted January 12, 2019 at 11:54AM }
via reddit http://bit.ly/2RFpi9F

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