Opera has launched its Web3 "Crypto Browser" into beta with features like a built-in crypto wallet, easy access to cryptocurrency/NFT exchanges, support for decentralized apps (dApps) and more. The aim is to "simplify the Web3 user experience that is often bewildering for mainstream users," Opera EVP Jorgen Arnensen said in statement.
A key feature is the built-in non-custodial wallet that will support blockchains including Ethereum, Bitcoin, Celo and Nervos from the get-go. It also announced partnerships with Polygon and others. The idea is to let you access your crypto without the need for any extensions, with the option of using third-party wallets as well. You can purchase cryptocurrencies via a fiat to crypto on-ramp, swap crypto directly in-wallet, send and receive it and check your wallet balance. It even has a secure clipboard that ensures other apps can't data when you copy/paste.
The other primary function is support for Web3, aka blockchain-based decentralized internet, aka the buzzy new thing among crypto enthusiasts (and skeptics). On top of providing extra security via blockchain encryption, it allows users to access things like GameFi "where you can earn as you play your way through all sorts of metaverses," Opera notes. It also offers a "Crypto Corner" with the latest blockchain news that also "lets you grow your Web3 skills," according to Opera.
Opera's rival Mozilla recently announced it would accept cryptocurrency donations, but was hit by a backlash from users including co-founder Jamie Zawinski over the environmental impact of blockchain. Perhaps anticipating a similar reaction, Opera said it was working toward implementing the more energy-efficient Etherium Layer 2 standard "as quickly as possible."
Other companies like Ubisoft jumping on the blockchain train with NFTs and other offerings have been hit by similar criticism. However, Opera at least gives its users a choice with multiple browser options, as it also offers its regular Opera browser and one that's dedicated to gamers. The Crypto Browser is now available for Android, Windows and Mac, with an iOS version coming soon.