Brave Adds Crypto Wallet, NFTs, DApps Natively In Browser | #phishing | #scams


Brave is known for building a privacy-safe browser and has long let users of its desktop and mobile apps earn cryptocurrency for watching ads. But now the company is doubling down on crypto and adding a full built-in native cryptocurrency wallet to the browser.

I spoke with Brave CEO Brendan Eich on the TechFirst video podcast:

Not only will building a wallet into the browser be significantly more secure than browser extension wallets like Metamask, this means Brave will now natively support crypto transactions, including sending and receiving NFTs, connecting and interacting with distributed apps (DApps), buying and sending cryptocurrency, and more.

The new Brave wallet will enable:

  • crypto swap or trade functionality, along with the ability to find the best available price
  • buying crypto with USD or other fiat currency
  • interactions with any Ethereum-based DApps
  • sending NFTs (non-fungible tokens)
  • importing wallets from other crypto wallets

Only 13% of Americans currently own cryptocurrency, Brave says.

Making it simple, native, and integrated is critical to wider adoption.

“The crypto boom has vaulted blockchain applications into the mainstream, but like any rapidly-growing innovation, this swift rise is not without challenges. One of the hurdles is the crypto wallet industry’s reliance on extensions, which introduces friction for DApp adoption and often leads to users losing funds via fake extension phishing scams,” Brian Bondy, CTO and co-founder of Brave, said in a statement. “The Brave Wallet requires no extensions and is instead browser-native, removing key performance and security concerns while preserving the core features of popular crypto wallets. The Brave Wallet offers our over 42 million users, and anyone seeking a crypto wallet without extensions, a high-performance, highly secure, and full-featured wallet built for today’s crypto user.”

The Brave wallet is a self-custody wallet, meaning that users are fully in control of their cryptocurrency.

Listen to my conversation with Eich here:

It’s worth noting that self-custody wallets can be harder to use and higher-risk than managed wallets: if you lose your secret key phrase and can’t access your cryptocurrency, it is gone for good.

“I guess you could think of self custody like … grandpa putting money in the mattress, or people keeping cash in a lockbox at home,” Eich told me. “That’s self custody: you’re the custodian, you have to secure it against burglars … and any light- fingered people in your house.”

While the Brave wallet will start with support for Ethereum and EVM-compatible (Ethereum Virtual Machine) chains. Support for Bitcoin and Solana will arrive “rapidly,” CEO Eich says.

In 2022, Brave will integrate the Solana chain and make Solana — a high-volume and low-cost alternative to Ethereum — the default for distributed apps on Brave.

For Eich, building the wallet into the browser is essential for security. Other browser-based cryptocurrency wallets are generally built as browser extensions in Chrome. (Brave is based on the Chromium codebase, which Google Chrome is also built on.)

“If you use an extension, you’re kind of at the mercy of Google’s rules for that extension in Chrome, and you cannot … take over the entire canvas or the user interface, [so] you cannot be sure that you can put trusted user interface elements that cannot be impersonated or spoofed by the page up,” Eich says. “People are getting fake Metamask extensions by mistake or by being tricked and they’re installing them, and then they’re putting their precious crypto in through their key that they remember … that extension could steal it.”

While Brave offers BAT (Basic Attention Token) crypto to its users who opt in to watching ads, the default BAT wallet is separate.

“Users can store redeemed BAT from Brave Rewards in the Brave Wallet after going through the custodial process, but the two features are otherwise not connected,” Brave says.

Whether the new Brave wallet will be simpler for end users remains to be seen.

As you can hear in the interview with Eich, there are still massive complexities in the crypto space which not only limit who can participate in the space, but also provide significant space for fraudsters and con artists to flourish. If Brave can help open it up more, that’s likely a positive which will help others join the crypto party.



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