Kai’s been playing with words for a living since 2009 and bought his first bitcoin at $19. It’s long gone. He’s previously written white papers for blockchain startups and is especially interested in P2P exchanges and DNMs.
You may not have noticed, but crypto’s first killer app is already here. It’s called the mobile browser. Until recently, mobile internet browsers were little more than a means to connect to the web on the go. Then, developers began integrating crypto-friendly functionality such as wallet, dapp store, and VPN, supercharging the humble mobile browser and transforming it into a powerful toolkit with a range of applications.
Mobile web browsers are quietly evolving into highly versatile tools for cryptocurrency users. In the process, they’ve lowered the barriers for entry for beginners by making it easy to take the first steps towards owning and using cryptocurrency. Quietly yet steadily, a number of software and hardware developers have been adding functionality to feature phones through infusing them with the tools required to browse the Web 3.0. It’s still early days, but the progress that has been made in bringing everyday usability to crypto assets bodes well for wider adoption.
Dream Team is an esports token that can be used for payment, sponsorship, and competition prizes in the $750M gaming market. While creating use cases for the project’s token has been a relatively straightforward exercise, getting it into the hands of its intended audience – pro players and the millions of fans who watch their live-streamed antics – has hitherto been hard. Now, thanks to the emergence of in-browser crypto wallets, young, mobile-oriented audiences can receive and award tokens such as Dream Team’s seamlessly while streaming their favorite esports events. Opera’s crypto-friendly Android browser has been pivotal in driving this trend, with Brave hot on its heels.
Until Opera came along, spending cryptocurrency in-browser was largely constrained to desktop devices, with Metamask handling ETH and ERC20 tokens and Badger taking care of all things BCH. With the introduction of Opera’s integrated ETH wallet, however, it’s now simple for users to browse, buy, send and receive crypto all within their web browser. On March 20, Opera went one step further, introducing an in-browser VPN for mobile users that can be activated in two clicks. At the same time, its new Android update introduced crypto pairing, enabling mobile users to link their Opera cryptocurrency wallet with their desktop browser, explaining:
With the recent improvements to our Crypto Wallet, including our efforts to dramatically simplify the acquisition of funds, we are fulfilling our goal to make Opera for Android the natural choice for stepping into blockchain technology and Web 3.0 for the first time.
The greatest progress that has been made in mainstreaming cryptocurrency through mobile has arguably come courtesy of HTC and Samsung, working in conjunction with companies such as Opera. The former’s Exodus smartphone includes a hardware wallet that integrates with the Opera browser. Users benefit from having their funds securely stored on the phone’s Zion wallet, while still being able to spend their crypto within the Opera browser, which also grants access to a plethora of dapps through the Opera Dapp Store.
This week, a software update to the Exodus phone added Zion wallet support for stellar. The wallet already supports bitcoin core, litecoin, and ethereum. In addition, Zion now enables crypto to be purchased directly via credit card in conjunction with Simplex. There’s a 5% fee and $10 minimum fee, but it’s another small step towards making it easier to purchase crypto assets and spend them directly within the Opera browser. In the last three weeks, Brave has also rolled out Brave Rewards Beta on Android, enabling users to reward content creators using the native BAT token.
There’s still work to be done in improving the UX and the range of cryptocurrencies these browsers support. Nevertheless, significant strides have been made in making it easier to spend and send cryptocurrency on mobile. Out of nowhere, the humble mobile browser has risen to become one of the most valuable drivers of mainstream cryptocurrency adoption.
What’s your favorite mobile browser and have you used it to store and send cryptocurrency? Let us know in the comments section below.
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