Brave Launches Built-In Crypto Wallet to Tackle Fake Extensions

November 18, 2021, 9:45 AM AEST - 1 week ago

The privacy-centric browser Brave has launched its new self-custody crypto wallet built into its desktop browser application, enabling users to store and buy cryptocurrencies, make use of DeFi, and store NFTs.

According to an announcement from Brave, its new browser wallet has a host of crypto-focused functionalities. One of the main reasons for the creation of the wallet is to counter fake and risky browser extensions that people use as crypto wallets.

Fighting Fake Extensions

While countless crypto wallet options exist (hardware wallets and software wallets), most are browser extensions. These extensions have inherent security risks, are more susceptible to phishing and asset theft, and require extra background processes to run, possibly creating performance issues on users’ devices. 

One of the biggest problems with extensions is how easy it is for criminals to make fake ones pretending to be a good wallet extension – such spoofing attacks are quite common.

Brian Bondy, CTO and co-founder, Brave

According to Brave’s chief training officer, the new implementation was “built from scratch, natively into the Brave browser”. It’s different from other Web 3.0 wallets such as MetaMask in that it does not require users to download an extension, but is rather built directly into the browser as a core feature. According to the firm, this is also meant to reduce security risks and reliance on extra CPU and memory.

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 […] 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.

Brian Bondy, CTO and co-founder, Brave

Bondy says the browser’s cryptocurrency wallet is similar to hardware crypto wallets as it implements its own BIP32 hierarchical deterministic wallet, meaning “the funds are always stored on the blockchain, but the keys to unlock those funds are stored in the Brave Wallet”.

The Brave Wallet will soon be available on Brave’s mobile app and by 2022, the wallet will integrate the Solana blockchain, making Solana (SOL) the default provider for DApp support. Initially, Brave provided in-browser crypto swaps and had an established DEX, but has now moved to create the infrastructure in the wallet.

The wallet will allow users to transact in “almost any crypto asset”, supporting all chains compatible with the Ethereum Virtual Machine (EVM), including Polygon, xDai, Avalanche and others.

What Users Can Do with the Wallet

Research has found that the number of global crypto users has more than doubled in the first half of this year, from a little over 100 million at the start of 2021 to 221 million in June. It’s estimated that currently 13 percent of Americans invest in crypto, and with numbers on the rise users need safe and trustworthy technology to work with their digital assets.

The crypto-friendly browser has gained major popularity due to its privacy-centred design and the way it approaches ads by rewarding users in Basic Attention Token (BAT), its own native cryptocurrency, for viewing privacy-protecting ads. However, the new wallet differs in that it is not connected to Brave Rewards. Here is a list of the Brave wallet functionalities:

  • see live and historical market graphs (price data powered by CoinGecko);
  • find best price match against a list of providers with built-in swap functionality;
  • send and receive assets;
  • buy with fiat via Wyre;
  • interact with DApps for any EVM compatible network;
  • manage portfolio with NFT and multi-chain support;
  • easily import wallet from MetaMask and other self-custody wallets, or Brave’s legacy Crypto Wallets extension, or hardware wallets such as Trezor and Ledger (no Ledger Live required); and
  • send and receive NFTs.

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