The past couple of years have brought on a revolution in the world of finance, as cryptocurrencies have truly established themselves as an alternative currency. Yet, while the most prominent altcoins have been widely embraced for financial transactions, with Bitcoin leading the way, cryptocurrencies have emerged as an inspiration for new tech applications.
The concept behind cryptocurrencies has paved the way for companies like Facebook to come up with their own coins, while tech giants are harnessing the blockchain tech that powers altcoins like Bitcoin in order to develop new and better versions of Android browsers.
Opera Announces New Blockchain-Backed Android Browser
Tech developments in the digital world have been rapid in 2018, and Web 3.0, the next-generation paradigm that is set to revolutionize and personalize web interaction is just around the corner. A complete transformation of Web 2.0, the new tech will require companies that support internet users to up their game. Opera is already ahead of the game, as the company has just announced that it has developed a new browser for Android that relies on blockchain tech and is Web 3.0-ready.
The new browser is heavily focused on cryptocurrencies and even comes with a built-in altcoin wallet, streamlining cryptocurrency transactions. This way, Opera removes the need for extra apps and extensions, making it the first widely used browser of its kind. The new Opera browser was designed from the ground up to be able to integrate with Web 3.0 – also known as the decentralized web. In line with this, it will support decentralized apps – also known as dApps – and allow users to interact with them.
The company hopes that the new app will also foster wider adoption of cryptocurrencies and has chosen the Ethereum ecosystem as the first crypto-network to be supported. Opera has explained that the largest number of developers designing dApps are using Ethereum, and the altcoin has built a wider movement of support. Its cryptocurrency wallet will support Ethereum tokens exclusively – for now. In time, the company hopes to expand its network to include other digital coins but it has not announced any potential contenders yet.
Opera first publicly disclosed that it was building a version of its popular browser app that would run exclusively on Android devices and support a built-in crypto-wallet back in July 2018, and began beta-testing in September. Besides the Android app, it also looking to release a crypto-oriented browser for Windows, MacOS and Linux later in 2019.
Facebook Develops Its Own Stablecoin
Mobile apps have been used for financial transactions for years now, with special apps designed for mobile banking, online forex trading or even moving money to friends and family with apps like Venmo. Most mobile apps in those industries are designed for Android and iOS software, while aspects like screen size and battery life are important factors when choosing a smartphone to use in online financial transactions.
Yet, just like with the new Opera browser, the future when it comes to crypto-focused transactions seems to belong to enhancing the potential of already popular apps – like WhatsApp.
At least this is what Facebook Inc. is thinking. The company that is famous for its namesake social media platform also owns the popular messaging mobile app, and lately, it has been looking into ways of expanding WhatsApp’s potential.
Bloomberg reports that Facebook is focused on coming up with its own cryptocurrency to enable users to move money through WhatsApp. In order to do that, the social media giant is working on harnessing blockchain tech in order to develop its very own stablecoin.
A stablecoin is a digital currency that is tied to a real-world currency or a traded commodity that is considered relatively stable, in order to reduce volatility – the US dollar is usually the reference point, like in Facebook’s case.
Although the company is yet to announce a time frame for launching its new project, as the details like custody assets are still being ironed out, inside sources have claimed that the WhatsApp altcoin will first target the remittances market across India.
As Bloomberg reports, the remittances market is formidable in India – roughly $69 billion were sent home to the country within 2017 – while WhatsApp counts some 200 million users within its borders. It is no secret that Facebook is waiting to make a series of big moves in the financial market. In 2014, it hired David Marcus, former president of PayPal, who was later chosen to run the company’s blockchain team. At least 40 people are currently working on Facebook’s various blockchain initiatives.
Facebook is not the only one looking to develop an altcoin that could function in the real economy – according to Bloomberg, more than 120 crypto-projects focusing on stablecoins were up and running at one point during the past year. It seems that cryptocurrencies are not only gaining ground in 2019 but they will keep expanding on their potential uses.