Web 3.0 is used to describe the technologies that connect blockchain and cryptocurrencies with distributed applications or DApps on the internet. A whole new range of possibilities will be added to your internet experience. Your web browser will need to adapt to make use of it. And the most commonly used browsers are not doing it. It seems the browser race to Web 3.0 not only started late but only has 1 participant.
Browser market shares
Chrome has speed and lots of third-party extensions, Firefox has security and privacy, Safari is the alternative to everything Google and ships with the iPhone, while Edge is tightly bound to Windows 10. Chrome seems to have won the browser war and is chosen by more than 60% of the users. Second place Safari has only 15% and third place Firefox a mere 5%. But none of them are enabling you to spend your cryptocurrencies in distributed web applications or pay with cryptocurrency in a webshop! How will DApps ever get millions of users if you have to be a cryptocurrency expert to use them.
Cryptocurrency is INTERNET money
Cryptocurrencies only exist on the internet so it is a real surprise internet browsers are not able to support them. Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies can and should be used for their intended purpose, to pay for goods and services on the internet. Until recently there was not one browser that would let you do that while Bitcoin has been around for more than 10 years. We all know the next surge in cryptocurrency prices will depend on mainstream adoption and how can this happen if you basically can’t use cryptocurrency on the internet.
Metamask and other plugins
There are browser extensions that try to help you a bit. The popular add-on MetaMask will help your Chrome or Firefox browser to connect your Ethereum wallet safely to a website. You can pay with Ethereum, use Dapps or trade ERC-20 tokens on a decentralized exchange. But no other currencies are available and if you are not technical it might be difficult to use. Steem Keychain is an extension for accessing only Steem-enabled distributed applications. The Tippin Chrome extension provides you the option to tip other Twitter users via the Bitcoin Lightning Network. But it only works with Bitcoin and only on Twitter. The problem with browser extensions is their limited scope in currencies and inability to connect to a wide range of distributed blockchain apps. With plugins there is also the risk involved with installing third-party code into your browser. You need to think twice when that code has full access to your cryptocurrency wallet!
More and more webshops have payment options for Bitcoin or other cryptocurrencies but you will always be redirected to a third-party cryptocurrency payment provider and you cannot pay the merchant directly. The payment provider will ask you to transfer a certain amount to a certain wallet. This requires your to start your wallet application, login with the password and confirm the transaction with your private key. And then you have to wait for it to clear. This is not fast nor easy compared to regular (IDeal) payments with Euros. The payment providers also charge a fee to the merchant and together with the low adoption of cryptocurrency this has already led several webshops to abandon the acceptance of cryptocurrencies.
Built-in wallet is the best solution
If you want your internet browser to have the easy payment options with cryptocurrencies directly to the merchant, at no extra costs, it must have a built-in wallet. A built-in wallet is easier and faster for both the user and the merchant because of the direct payment. It is safer because no redirects to possibly hacked websites are necessary. And without a third-party payment provider it will be cheaper. Additionally no government can restrict your access to certain goods or services. This can be a problem if the laws in your country are more liberal than the laws that govern your payment provider. What currently available internet browsers are available with a built-in wallet?
The first browser with a built-in wallet was created by Brendan Eich and launched in 2019. Brave wants to radically change the way digital advertising comes to your screen and give you – the user – more control and at the same time give the content provider more revenue. Brave blocks all advertising by default and therefore loads web pages noticeably faster. Third-party trackers of your location, behaviour and browsing activities are also blocked to protect your privacy. Users can opt to receive certain advertising and control the frequency and scheduling and receive BAT tokens in their Brave rewards wallet for their attention. BAT Tokens can be spent to reward creators of blogs and vlogs you like.
This is a good start and we like the attention to privacy. The Brave browser currently has a very small market share and it does not support other cryptocurrencies than BAT token. Not good enough for mainstream adoption. Until a few months ago this was a closed system. Now you can choose to verify your wallet with Uphold. After the required KYC you can take out BAT tokens earned via Brave rewards and convert them to fiat or other cryptocurrencies. What we would really like is the wallet being able to support multiple currencies and connect with Dapps.
The first major browser to access the new Web 3.0 is Opera R3. The new version of Opera Touch on iOS and Opera for Android has a built-in crypto wallet with multiple currency support. You can interact with DApps in your browser or simply pay a merchant directly from your Opera crypto wallet. There is no need to install any browser extensions or create a new wallet. Opera was already able to store and use Ethereum, ERC-20 tokens and ERC-721 collectibles. As of today they have added Bitcoin support and integrated Tron, which has lots of popular DApps and also enables TRC-10 tokens like BitTorrent You have full control of your funds and private keys. Opera currently has a 2.5% browser market share. And that is likely to grow significantly if the other browsers do not adAppt.
Some wallet providers like Trust wallet have built their own solutions because of the lack of functionality in internet browsers. DApp browsers are internet browsers inside the wallet able to connect and interact with decentralized applications and corresponding cryptocurrencies. As with most browser extensions they are limited to one cryptocurrency, one blockchain and the browser is not actually one you would use for your daily internet.
Not Chrome, Safari and Firefox
Mozilla outright rejected the idea of putting DApp capabilities into Firefox. Adoption of cryptocurrency payments and working with DApps does not seem to be a priority. Safari chooses Apple Pay with fiat money to integrate payments. Chrome continues to rely on browser extensions of which there are many. As described above, they are limited to one cryptocurrency, have no standard interface, and most have too little adoption or history to be sure they are a reliable storage for your internet money.
The future of internet money is in the hands of a small market share browser Opera. And that is not in line with the growing adoption of cryptocurrencies and DApps. One of two things need to happen. More users for DApps will force other browsers to adapt. You can see usage statistics on Dappradar. Or Opera and other new browsers with built-in wallets will gain more market share and will become the new popular browsers on the Web 3.0.