Cryptocurrency based browsers and smartphones are important pillars in growing the adoption.
Customer experience is one of the key factors that enable ease of use of technology products. The ability of customers to easily use a product, regardless of the complexity of the underlying technology is the holy grail of user adoption. Cryptocurrencies are still undergoing this moment and the search for ease of use of crypto assets is still ongoing. It started with crypto exchanges that enabled people to buy cryptocurrencies in a much easier way. Now, a lot of focus is on what is being called ‘web 3.0’ that entails apps built to enable easier interfacing with the decentralized web. The browser and smartphone are at the centre of web 3.0 and how these two aspects are built could dictate how millions of users will interact and use cryptocurrencies and other crypto assets.
Cryptoassets unlike most consumer internet-based applications entails financial and crucial personal data. Therefore robust strategies need to be adopted that do not compromise of safety of digital assets while also giving great customer experience.
The two main pain points could be summarized as
- Integrating micropayments
- Safety and Storage of private keys
Lets see smartphones and browsers are trying to solve this
HTC Exodus 1
One of the world’s leading smartphone makers, HTC went into full crypto-smartphone mode last year with announcement that it was building a blockchain-centric smartphone called Exodus 1. More updates this year show that the smartphone has the following features:
- Ability to trade and store cryptokitties
- Partnered with Opera browsers in order to support making of crypto micropayments
- Support for Etheremon and Decentraland DApps
- Numbers: one of the most interesting app on the smartphone that tracks user data on walking, sleeping, driving and more and also ‘allows you to sell your own data to third parties’ according to TheVerge.
- Its own in-built cold storage called ZIONVault
The phone opened up to the market last year on pre-order but will be available from March for $699.
One of the best-funded projects in the ICO boom raising $157.8 million, Sirin Labs announced in December 2018 launch of blockchain smartphone. The phone, called Finney has key features such as
- Cold storage wallet that is separate from the main physical phone hardware that is activated whenever you want to make a transaction. Check out this explainer video.
- SerinOS, a ‘Google-certified’, ultra-secure modification of android OS
- ‘in-built cyber security suite’ token conversion services, DApps, crypto wallets
- SRN Token: to be used as the mode of payment for Sirin labs products and service
- Other smartphone related features: 6 inch Android 8.1 snapdragon 845 processor, 6GB RAM, 128 GB built-in storage, 12MP/8MP front and rear cameras respectively
Cost: $1000 sorely with Sirin labs token, this seems to be targeting existing crypto users.
This blockchain startup launched $80 smartphone that targets users in the developing markets. It comes with cloud mining integration to enable users earn crypto through mining. For start, users will only be able to mine Electroneum native token ETN and earn ‘upto $3’. Users can then use tokens for services such as online shopping or exchange with other cryptocurrencies on exchanges. Before the launch of the phone, Electroneum project was launched in 2017 as a cryptocurrency targeting mobile audiences and smartphone users. It is currently trading at $0.007051 and ranked #64 on coinmarketcap.
Other features include:
- Google Mobile Service (GMS) certification
- Operating system: Android 8.1 Go Edition
- CPU: Quad Core 1.3Ghz
- Storage: 8GB internal and up to 32GB expandable.
- Display: 4.5 Touchscreen
- Connectivity: 4G Dual Sim, Bluetooth 4.0 GPS
- Cameras: 5MP/2MP
Samsung Galaxy S10
At the Mobile World Congress in Barcelona in February 25, A Samsung official said that the new phone coming up would have crypto wallets functions for Ethereum and bitcoin. As reported by TheVerge, the news was made during a presentation at the event. The functionalities will entail a cold wallet for storing crypto and private keys and hot wallet for crypto transactions.
The news has not been confirmed by the company itself but has appeared on major outlets such as TheVerge and Cointelegraph.
Opera crypto browser
In 2018, Opera browser announced launch on a built-in cryptocurrency wallet on its android app becoming the first browser to do so. It began supporting Ethereum based dapps.
Following up with their strategy, recent updates in February 2019 indicate that Opera has partnered with Safello, a regulated online crypto brokerage, to allow users in Sweden, Norway and Denmark can easily buy Ethereum from the browser with payment built-in that integrates with Swish in Sweden Visa, MasterCard in Norway and Denmark. With no account creation process, users can quickly undertake ID verification.
This is another blockchain powered browser aiming to introduce new ways of controlling ads on the web. It uses native token called the Basic Attention Token (BAT) that advertisers use to make payments to Brave users for consuming ads. Latest updates by the company show they have 5.5 million monthly active users and continue to add more features and partnerships. One of them is serving as a default browser on the platform HTC Exodus same as opera and it will be up to the user to choose.
An ordinary smartphone can support crypto functionalities by downloading the appropriate apps or downloading browsers such as Opera which support crypto wallets. However, developments are being made beyond that to ensure better safety and security and other functionalities. That is why smartphones are racing to make announcements that they will be adding cold storage different from the existing smartphone hardware. A company such as Samsung launching a crypto supported wallet that incorporates cold storage would have more impact than other smaller companies.