A Q&A about Opera’s new browser crypto wallet with Charles Hamel, Product Manager of Opera Crypto.

What is Opera?

Opera delivers browsers and AI-driven content delivery solutions to over 320 million people worldwide. Initially founded in 1996 in Norway, Opera recently completed its IPO in July 2018 and is officially entering the crypto ecosystem.

What is Opera’s crypto wallet?

The Opera browser now offers a native crypto wallet with Ethereum integrations built into the existing browser. Most cryptocurrency wallets today are either plugins, extensions, or separate hardware wallets. Opera’s native crypto wallet creates a one-touch process to send and receive cryptoassets as well as explore the decentralized applications of web3.

Q&A with Charles Hamel, Product Manager at Opera Crypto

ConsenSys Media sat down with Charles Hamel, Product Manager at Opera Crypto and asked him a few questions about the first mainstream browser to transition to Web3.

What is Web3 and why does it excite you?

Web3 is this convergence of different technologies, cryptography, consensus protocols, and distributed systems to enable something that hasn’t been possible on the internet until today. It’s really exciting from a developer point of view because previously applications were built with API’s that sometimes went away or required permission, but with a smart contract, it’s possible to have apps that won’t go away, where permission cannot be revoked. Web3 is a new trust layer that enables people to identify themselves in an independent way, facilitates payments and value transfer between people, and allows for new applications that have not been native to the web.

What are some of the biggest barriers to mainstream web3 adoption and how does Opera overcome them?

The main barriers to web3 adoption are problems with the design, usability, and overall accessibility. Opera’s native wallet will automatically detect dapps, show ERC20 compliant tokens, or allow a user to access their digital collectibles. Wallets usually require PIN codes or passwords, but Opera allows an individual to sign transactions with Androids biometric(thumbprint) lock system and securely stores a person’s wallet on their phone.

Another barrier people forget about is the mental capacity of using new technology. From a user perspective, Opera’s native browser helps overcome the mental and cognitive load because we aren’t leading users away or asking anything more of them, it’s part of the web they know today. People are already familiar with using browsers and now we are introducing a native wallet application that opens new doors to the new web.

Why did Opera decide to launch on Android first and will the crypto wallet be launching on IOS?

When it comes to mainstream adoption, Android holds a dominant position in many parts of the world. It’s also easier for an alternative browser to develop on android because IOS has Safari built into their system. However, we understand that IOS is an important platform to reach and will address it at some point.

Why did you choose to build Opera Crypto wallet on Ethereum?

Opera decided to build on Ethereum for three primary reasons.

  1. The ethereum community has created prevalent developer tooling and a lot of exciting activity is already happening on the Ethereum blockchain.
  2. Decentralization is incredibly important and the key to Opera’s wallet providing value in the future. Ethereum is the best smart contract platform making it the optimal choice.
  3. Ethereum already has utility, use cases have emerged from an open finance perspective as well as from the end user side, which is an encouraging sign for the future of Ethereum.

How has ConsenSys been able to help Opera’s mission to bridge web2 and web3?

Opera has partnered with ConsenSys companies, Infura and Airswap. Infura is an infrastructure platform that provides Opera’s crypto wallet secure, reliable, and scalable access to Ethereum. We partnered with Airswap to create a really smooth and seamless process for exchanging cryptocurrencies. Airswap helped our team polish the user interface so it feels even more integrated into the browser.

Although the wallet has only been available for a week, how has the initial feedback been?

Everyone that has tried the wallet has been impressed, but people are really impressed when they have the mobile pairing with desktops that allow individuals to use their mobile wallet with a desktop browser. It really allows users to browse web3 seamlessly.

Opera has an extensive user base in many emerging markets, but how does the crypto wallet help people in emerging regions?

Opera has the potential to provide an even greater impact on regions that aren’t privileged with the established systems of developed nations. In many cases, such as sovereign identification and transferring value, Web3 and cryptocurrencies offer faster solutions to problems in those emerging markets.

What’s in store for the future of Opera Crypto?

Opera will continue to improve the crypto wallet, look at new features and partnership with decentralized apps in order to make sure we understand what their needs are to create a symbiotic relationship. We are excited and committed to merging the gap between web2 and web3.

So what are you waiting for, download the Opera Browser and start using their new crypto wallet.

Disclaimer: The views expressed by the authors and contributors above do not necessarily represent the views of Consensys AG. ConsenSys is a decentralized community with ConsenSys Media being a platform for members to freely express their diverse ideas and perspectives. To learn more about ConsenSys and Ethereum, please visit our website.


Ecosystem Spotlight: Opera, The Blockchain Ready Browser was originally published in ConsenSys Media on Medium, where people are continuing the conversation by highlighting and responding to this story.