Microsoft, the global software giant, recently integrated a prototype for a cryptocurrency wallet into its Edge browser. The wallet permits the buying, selling, and swapping of six cryptocurrencies. It also has a decentralized application explorer, the ability to buy cryptocurrency through Coinbase and MoonPay, and a news feed. It is completely non-custodial, with users in charge of their wallet’s private keys.
Albacore, a pseudonymous software researcher based in Central Europe, discovered the code for the wallet and posted images of the UI on Twitter this past Friday:
The researcher noted that Microsoft tests a lot of new features for its Edge browser that never see the light of day. But Albacore added that because Microsoft has already integrated the wallet into Edge, the company is likely serious about its intentions to eventually launch it.
If Microsoft does release its Ethereum wallet to the public, it would enter a hotly contested Web3 wallet market that includes MetaMask, Coinbase Wallet, and WalletConnect. Other companies not solely associated with Web3 like Robinhood have also launched non-custodial crypto wallets in the past year.
But it may make Edge more popular, especially if the UI is easy to navigate and accessing the wallet is simple. Currently, Edge lags far behind the top two internet browsers (Chrome and Safari), accounting for just 4.2% of internet users in 2023 according to the latest statistics.
When approached for a comment, Microsoft did not speak directly about the Ethereum wallet, saying instead that the company regularly tests new features and that it is looking forward to gathering feedback from its testers.
Web3 Wallets a Hot Topic in the Past Year
While Microsoft’s new Ethereum wallet is big news, it is not the only company launching Web3 wallets or innovating within that part of the next iteration of the internet. Here are three stories from the past three months that show Web3 wallets remain a hot topic, even during this frigid bear market.
First, three weeks ago, gaming company Unity introduced an online storefront for blockchain companies, including for Web3 wallet MetaMask. The most popular Web3 Ethereum wallet shared that the move would bring “Web3 values to the gaming industry” and help usher in a “whole new era for gaming devs.”
Next, two months ago, Robinhood continued the rollout of its Web3 wallet. Currently, it is still in beta mode, available to just 10,000 users, but the company has introduced new features significantly, including the ability to swap cryptocurrencies on the Ethereum blockchain and view NFT collections.
Lastly, three months ago, Ledger released a new NFT hardware wallet. The Ledger Stax wallet, as it’s called, can securely store over 5,000 coins and allows users to display their non-fungible tokens. For the design of the wallet, the company worked with Tony Fadell, who designed the iPod.
Microsoft’s prototype crypto wallet is big news, and the move shows that Web2 companies are still interested in entering the Web3 space. If its wallet is successful, it wouldn’t be surprising to see more companies follow suit and create their own.