Opera Software has continued its trend of building specialized browsers with The Crypto Browser Project, a specialized Web3 browser optimized for the use of the blockchain and cryptocurrencies, together with its own dedicated wallet.
It doesn’t appear that Opera plans to replace its desktop browser with its Crypto Browser, although the language Opera used was a bit vague. (Opera already offers a specialized gaming browser, Opera GX.) “Today, we are taking our Web3 effort a step further by allowing you to test experimental browsers on Android, Mac and Windows that will become our flagships for you to interact with Web3,” Opera said in a blog post.
Though Opera’s browser is still built upon the same Chromium underpinnings as its current desktop browser, Opera also built in a number of Web3 features. (In some circles the term “Web3” has become synonymous with the blockchain, referring to a decentralized web that’s governed by tokens.) In Opera’s case, that includes designing in a more fully integrated non-custodial crypto wallet as well as quick links to crypto news, airdrops, and, yes, NFTs. The Crypto Browser Project also includes support for what Opera calls distributed apps, or dApps —a suite of decentralized apps that can provide more functionality than traditional plugins, according to Opera.
Opera said that its native, non-custodial crypto wallet would still allow for users to select an alternative wallet, such as Metamask, through a new wallet selector. The wallet’s clipboard monitors itself to ensure that no other app alters the wallet data. Opera supports Ethereum, Bitcoin, Celo, and Nervos, and the company said it has announced partnerships with Handshake, NEAR, Polygon, and Solana.
The Crypto Browser Project also includes a sidebar, called the Crypto Corner, in which you can access Opera’s crypto wallet. The Crypto Corner also includes “access to the latest blockchain news, upcoming airdrops, an industry events calendar, NFTs, crypto communities, educational content, podcasts, and videos as well as crypto prices, gas fees, and market sentiment—all in one spot,” Opera said. You can also access “Crypto Twitter,” Discord, Reddit, or DappRadar directly from the browser’s speed dial.
Opera also said that it is preserving features like its anonymous, unlimited “VPN” proxy, which doesn’t log user data.
Although Opera is touting its commitment to crypto, rival Brave staked out an earlier presence in the crypto community, with its own integrated crypto wallet and even its own cryptocurrency.
Users can download the new Crypto Browser for Android, Windows, and Mac, Opera said. An iOS version is coming soon, Opera said. An official launch of the Crypto Project is coming soon in the next few months, the company said.
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As PCWorld’s senior editor, Mark focuses on Microsoft news and chip technology, among other beats. He has formerly written for PCMag, BYTE, Slashdot, eWEEK, and ReadWrite.