Crypto markets may be down, down, down, but that isn’t stopping Opera’s crypto features — first released in beta in July — from rolling out to all users of its core mobile browser today as the company bids to capture the “decentralized internet” flag early on.
Opera — the world’s fifth most-used browser, according to Statcounter — released the new Opera Browser for Android that includes a built-in crypto wallet for receiving and sending Bitcoin and other tokens, while it also allows for crypto-based commerce where supported. So on e-commerce sites that accept payment via Coinbase Commerce, or other payment providers, Opera users can buy using a password or even their fingerprint.
Those are the headline features that’ll get the most use in the here and now, but Opera is also talking up its support for “Web 3.0” — the so-called decentralized internet of the future based on blockchain technology.
For that, Opera has integrated the Ethereum web3 API, which will allow users of the browser to access decentralized apps (Dapps) based on Ethereum. There’s also token support for Cryptokitties, the once-hot collectible game that seemingly every single decentralized internet product works with in one way or another.
But, to be quite honest, there really isn’t much to see or use on Web 3.0 right now; the big bet is that there will be in the future.
Ethereum, like other cryptocurrencies, is in a funk right now thanks to the bearish crypto market, but the popular refrain from developers is that low season is a good time to build. Well, Opera has just shipped the means to access Ethereum Dapps… will the community respond and give people a reason to care?
Pessimism aside, this launch is notable because it has the potential to get blockchain-based tech into the daily habits of “millions” of people, Charles Hamel — Opera’s product lead for crypto — told TechCrunch over email.
While Opera can’t match the user base of Apple’s Safari or Google Chrome — both of which have the advantage of bundling a browser with a mobile OS — Opera does have a very loyal following, which makes this release one of the most impactful blockchain launches to date.
Note: The author owns a small amount of cryptocurrency. Enough to gain an understanding, not enough to change a life.