Today, we are introducing Opera with Crypto Wallet. The new version of the Opera browser, currently available in a private beta on Android, combines easy-to-use crypto wallet functionality with support for Ethereum decentralized apps, or Dapps. This means users can now interact with Web 3.0 using our popular and fully-featured Opera mobile browser. It also makes Opera the first major browser to introduce a built-in crypto wallet. Needless to say, we are pretty excited about this.
We believe the web of today will be the interface to the decentralized web of tomorrow. This is why we have chosen to use our browser to bridge the gap. We think that with a built-in crypto wallet, the browser has the potential to renew and extend its important role as a tool to access information, make transactions online and manage users’ online identity in a way that gives them more control.
Bringing cryptocurrencies and Web 3 to the mainstream
The past 18 months have brought tremendous activity and new ideas around cryptocurrencies, tokens, decentralized apps and how they all play a role in the vision for Web 3.0. More and more developers are interested in building apps that use cryptocurrencies and want to use decentralized networks for some of their app’s functionality. Unfortunately, there are currently many challenges to reach wider adoption. These barriers range from users’ understanding of new terminology, to difficulties in acquiring cryptocurrency and to complicated installation procedures. People are more likely to adopt new solutions if they are user-friendly and seamless and this is what we are aiming to solve. We are hoping that by integrating Web 3 alongside the current web will make the technology more mainstream.
Bringing a crypto wallet functionality to a solid browser
In order to create a good, future-proof Web 3.0 browser, one must start with a great browser, and this is exactly what we’ve done. We took Opera, a full-featured, standards-compliant and Chromium-based browser and integrated crypto wallet functionality into it. This is only possible thanks to Opera’s long experience in making browsers for all kinds of devices and platforms.
Existing Dapp browsers have to, instead, rely on a default WebView system component for their browsing functionality, which has many technical limitations and drawbacks and makes them less user-friendly.
Users can now use Opera to access these emerging Dapps. We’ve decided to support Ethereum, as it has the largest community of developers building Dapps and has gathered a lot of momentum behind it. Opera with Crypto Wallet supports the Ethereum Web3 API, making interacting with these Dapps seamless to the user.
We plan on extending our wallet to support more cryptocurrencies and networks in the future.
Online payments with cryptocurrencies using Opera
In addition to being able to send money from wallet to wallet and interact with Dapps, Opera now supports online payments with cryptocurrency where merchants support exists. Users that choose to pay for their order using cryptocurrency on Coinbase Commerce-enabled merchants will be presented with a payment request dialog, asking them for their signature. The payment will then be signed and transmitted directly from the browser.
Although the current selection of merchants accepting cryptocurrencies is very limited, we think cryptocurrency payments will become more popular in the near future, as crypto wallets become easier to use and understand.
Easier from first use
In addition to the seamless integration into the browser, we wanted to make the wallet itself easier to use than existing solutions while still retaining a high level of security. Typical wallets require the user to create PIN codes or passwords. Opera instead relies on Android’s secure system lock to sign transactions so users don’t have to learn any new codes to use the wallet
Improved control of user’s privacy
Just so we’re clear: this is a user-controlled wallet, which means that the keys controlling the funds and assets are on the user’s phone and nowhere else.
Privacy is a very important aspect for browsers in general, but even more so for crypto wallet users. Our aim was to create a user-controlled crypto wallet that provides enhanced control and security of the keys which are used to control the wallet’s funds. Existing Dapp browsers and extensions unfortunately expose uniquely identifiable wallet information to all sites visited, raising risks of tracking or phishing attacks. Our wallet instead asks a user’s permission for each site requesting wallet information before exposing it, similar to how existing web permissions work (geolocation, camera or file system access, for example). This is again made possible by building a crypto wallet on an existing, full-featured browser.
As this is a very nascent app ecosystem, we’ve also added a “Dapp Explorer” to our browser, which help users discover Dapps. This is accessible from the wallet’s main view as well as from the Speed Dial, shown when opening the browser. It contains a list curated by Opera and we will keep updating it. If you are a developer and would like to be featured on this list, please get in touch at firstname.lastname@example.org
Tokens and Collectibles support
If you’ve spent any time reading crypto-related news lately, chances are you’ve heard of CryptoKitties. What may seem to be a silly internet game at first actually introduces the innovative concept of unique tokens/collectibles. Collectibles are digital, unique “assets” you can truly own on a public blockchain. We believe this will have big implications for online gaming and digital marketplaces and will grow in use in the near future. We’ve made sure Opera is the coziest den wallet for all of your digital cats, so don’t hesitate to make the move, they will love it :). And if you’re wondering, we will be adding support for more ERC721 Collectibles in the coming releases.
On top of that we also support all ERC20-type tokens, which are automatically added to your wallet’s home screen. Check out AirSwap in our DApp Explorer if you are interested in trading these tokens.
Important future platform for web developers
By introducing Opera with Crypto Wallet, we are dramatically reducing the complexity for users to try out this new exciting Web.
From a developer’s point of view, this makes your life easier as you can focus on building your Dapp or service and can have confidence that users will be able to reach it easily without having to go through a complex installation and onboarding process outside of your control.
Web3 PWA Support
Opera was an early supporter of Progressive Web Apps (PWA), a set of web technologies allowing developers to create web apps that feel like native apps and can appear on the user’s home screen. Developing an app for the web has many advantages for both users and developers, from having no installation process, instant updates and using much less of the precious storage space on modern phones. Such apps are also more accessible, as anyone with a web browser can access them. Many of the top web services, such as Instagram, Twitter and Google Photos, have adopted these technologies and have created very successful PWAs.
By allowing PWAs to use the Opera Crypto Wallet, we are now taking PWA support to the next level. This means that Dapp developers can now create native-like Dapps without having to embed a wallet on their own or relying on an external wallet app. Dapps can now be first class citizens on mobile!
Private beta for Android available now
We’re launching Opera with Crypto Wallet today as a private beta to get feedback from early adopters and developers alike to help us improve it even more before we release this to a wider audience.
If you’d like to test it, simply go to opera.com/crypto to request an invite. You will need to provide a Google or G Suite email account (the account you use for Google Play).
Once installed, simply tap on the red O logo in the bottom right and select Crypto Wallet to get started. You can then choose to create a new wallet or import an existing one using a standard 12-word backup phrase. Finally, simply tap the blue Dapp button to start exploring Dapps using the wallet functionality.
This is our first step towards making cryptocurrencies and Web 3.0 mainstream. We hope you give Opera a try and let us know what you think.
Find out more and join the private beta testing at opera.com/crypto.