The latest testament to the impact of cryptocurrencies on the world at large has come in the form of a recent Opera update. Taking up the mantle of becoming the first crypto-connected browser, Opera has released an integrated Ethereum wallet for Android users. Although it’s currently in private beta testing, the browser-based wallet will give users the ability to store cryptocurrencies inside Opera without having to download a seperate app to their Android mobile device.
For the system’s 322 million users, this is the second crypto innovation. Back in December 2017, Opera’s developers rolled out an anti-cryptojacking feature. Designed to stop hackers from infiltrating a user’s device via the browser in order to illegally mine coins, the feature signaled the start of the company’s crypto push. In releasing its latest crypto-friendly feature, Opera not only hopes to make storage easier and more efficient but also facilitate the proliferation of digital payments.
“Paying with the Crypto Wallet is like sending digital cash straight from your phone, and we’ve just made it easier. This opens up new possibilities for merchants and content creators alike,” said Product Lead of Opera Crypto, Charles Hamel.
Another Hot Storage Solution
For investors, the Opera wallet will turn Android mobiles into an alternative storage option to the current list of hot and cold storage solutions out there right now. However, what it will do beyond this is make the movement of assets a lot slicker. What’s more, security standards should also improve. Aside from Opera’s anti-cryptojacking provisions, the fact users can keep everything under one virtual roof (the Opera ecosystem) means there are fewer steps to carry out. Anytime a system has to connect two or more elements which are on different servers (which could be because they are different companies and/or different apps), there’s a chance hackers can seek into the cracks.
An integrated mobile wallet goes some way to addressing these issues and, in turn, reducing the risks of trading and storing coins. Perhaps the best example of this is the communication between the Android OS’s inbuilt security features and the wallet. In simple terms, Android’s security provisions will be used to lock the Opera wallet. This means the user doesn’t have to worry about generating a new passcode in order to unlock and authorize payments. By removing another potential crack (i.e. a passcode that could be stolen) and using Android’s internal security features instead, instances of fraud should be reduced.
While these security provisions will be a selling point for experienced traders, the bigger goal is to give inexperienced users a simple way to join the crypto economy. As much as companies are interested in users trading their coins, they want people to spend them. Indeed, if Opera’s innovation was simply just about storing coins, it wouldn’t be particularly newsworthy given the wealth of wallet options on the market. The Ledger Nano S is often the hardware wallet of choice for ETH holders, while web wallets such as MEW (MyEtherWallet) offer a secure online storage solution. However, while these alternatives are fine for investors, they don’t make it easier for users to spend their credits. Opera’s integrated crypto wallet will do this.
Web 3.0 to Give Cryptos Real Utility
Using web 3.0 technology, the wallet will make it possible for users to send coins directly from their phone (via the Opera Android browser) to a payment terminal. For the system to work, Opera needs third-party developers to create apps that make use of the new wallet. In this sense, the technology has created a foundation from which crypto payments can be made easier and more intuitive. This, in turn, would move us closer to cryptos replacing fiats. Indeed, ever since Bitcoin’s system went live in 2009, the goal was to create a universal payment system that everyone could use. In the years since, the industry has diversified and the potential of blockchains and cryptos as an investment asset has been the focus.
For cryptos to fulfil their true potential, they need to have some sort of utility for the masses. As Ripple’s xRapid has recently shown, blockchains may have the ability to transform the way payments are processed. However, on a daily basis, consumers won’t necessarily notice this. However, if the average person can go online and pay for something using ETH, BTC or any other crypto, the benefits of cryptos will be undeniable. At this stage, the Opera crypto wallet isn’t a finished product. What it is, however, is a glimpse at how cryptocurrencies could become more integrated into our daily lives.
Browser-based wallets may not offer a long-term storage solution for those with large holdings. What they will do is provide a seamless bridge between consumers and vendors. In that sense, browser wallets will be like a physical wallet. Perfect for small sums of money, but not where you’d keep your entire net worth. Should this prove to be the case, using cryptocurrencies may well become second nature within the next decade.