Web 3.0 Opera Browser Launches Instant Crypto Purchases
02.06.2019

Opera, the small but significant Norwegian web browser company, continues to position its product as the best choice for out-of-the-box cryptocurrency integration.

In December, Opera announced that its mobile browser would come with an integrated cryptocurrency wallet. And from today, Opera users in Denmark, Norway and Sweden will be able to top up the balance of that wallet almost instantly, through a partnership between the browser maker and Swedish crypto exchange Safello. Since details of the user’s identity are automatically passed on to Safello, the cryptocurrency purchase can be made without the need to create an account on the exchange.

In an email to BREAKERMAG, Charles Hamel, Opera’s product lead for crypto, said that the team had identified three key hurdles to the mainstream adoption of crypto. Firstly, the separation of wallet and browser made it harder to use cryptocurrencies online; secondly, the process of obtaining cryptocurrency was burdensome; and thirdly that friction from the first two aspects was making it hard for developers to scale their products.

“We hope that by removing all this friction, developers will be able to reach a wider audience more easily, and in turn build new web3 services that have a more mainstream appeal,” Hamel said. The familiarity of the browser environment was also attractive to users compared to the hurdle of learning to use a new application, he added.

As is usual for instant purchase functions, the exchange extracts a premium in the form of fees. Safello usually charges a 7 percent fee on the quick buy option, although for a limited time users in Sweden will be given a discounted fee of 2.5 percent, while Danish and Norwegian users receive a discounted fee of 5 percent.

The roll out of the simple purchase option is part of Opera’s ongoing effort to remove as many pain points as possible for cryptocurrency use online.

The new feature will allow users to buy ether with just a few clicks from the browser’s main menu. To access the instant purchase function, they must first be signed up to the electronic identification system BankID, which operates in Norway and Sweden, or NemID, in Denmark.

Both NemID and BankID are widely used for online identification in Scandinavia, and can be installed as a mobile application on a user’s smartphone. A demonstration video provided by Opera shows the browser triggering a call to the BankID app to verify an Ether purchase in Swedish krone.

Opera’s forays into cryptocurrency are part of a larger trend that has seen other mainstream applications integrate support for wallets or other similar features. In December 2018, Square’s Cash app, which provides U.S. users with a similar quick buy function for bitcoin, reached #1 in the Google Play store in the finance category.