It’s no secret that the UI/UX (User Interface/User Experience) in crypto often leaves some things to be desired, especially for newcomers. People have been speaking about the ‘killer app’ for many years, but it’s not a certainty yet. A prime case for a killer app would be a universal wallet, one that holds any cryptocurrency.
But the ongoing scenario is for every single user to have as various wallets as they need to hold their growing collection of coins and tokens. This has been and continues to be a barrier to adoption. For newcomers, there are basic technical barriers such as understanding what wallets are and how they work. Multiple wallets just make the problem worse. Key management is a serious issue, even for crypto veterans.
The more keys and wallets we need to manage, the greater the security risks. The current crop of wallets we recommend at Crypto.IQ, such as Jaxx, Exodus, Coinomi, and the hardware wallet Trezor, offer some good functionality and features, especially considering where wallets were a few years ago. Even though things have been improving, we’re not there yet in terms of capability and ease of use.
We still face the task of handling too many wallets and even keeping some assets on exchanges as a last option. The challenge for wallet developers is to improve the key management process, keep or (hopefully) improve the level of security, and constantly add new features.
And, yes, include every possible coin, token, or asset in the wallet. A wallet like that could be that killer app that reduces barriers to new crypto entrants and makes life a lot simpler for veteran cryptophiles. But the problems facing developers continue to make that goal elusive. For wallet developers, different blockchains have different sets of characteristics, features, and security profiles.
Some blockchains are similar and require less effort to integrate into a wallet. But others are more problematic and require greater resources to integrate. Adding coins to a wallet certainly increases its value to users, but it also increases its potential security problems. To a certain extent, a partial solution includes catering to Ethereum’s ERC20 functionality. Until now, the best option for new ERC20 tokens has been MyEtherWallet.
But even if you’re using MetaMask, a Trezor, or a Ledger, you still must link to MEW. We need to get away from that model. For example, Exodus is handling this proactively by adding limited basic support for any ERC20 tokens and adding improved support for specific popular tokens as they are able. We can see the appeal of it from the developer’s side.
It provides the ability to create apps with multi-asset capabilities relatively easily. It’s clear that the present and near future of cryptocurrencies includes the idea of many new tokens being created on platforms like Ethereum, or perhaps others like NEO and its NEP5 protocol. We can expect to see developers continue to add that kind of capability to their wallets.
But there are still many other popular blockchains that would need to be added on a case by case basis. That takes time and effort. Until someone finds a way around this issue, a truly universal wallet is a practical impossibility. Blockstack and ShapeShift have put out a $50,000 bounty to do that.
They’re offering it to any developer who creates the most effective wallet using their methods. The hope is to inspire innovation to bring us toward the ideal wallet. Furthermore, there are a number of new wallet application projects with the type of features we would expect in a killer app universal wallet. Ethos, Eidoo, Bread, and other projects are including features such as portfolio trackers, biometric access, hot and cold wallets, exchange functionality, built-in ICO and airdrop features, and fiat purchases (credit card, bank account, PayPal, etc).
The days of needing to download an entire blockchain just to have a wallet are reaching an end. Whether this leads to a true universal wallet remains to be seen, but momentum is building, and we will likely see big improvements through the rest of 2018.
Charlie Shrem is a Bitcoin pioneer, a social economist and digital currency trader. His work in this field is legendary. In 2011, at the dawn of the crypto era, he founded BitInstant, the first and largest Bitcoin company. In 2013, he founded the Bitcoin Foundation and serve as its vice chairman. Since then, Charlie has advised more than a dozen digital currency companies, launched and managed numerous partnerships between crypto and non-crypto companies, and is the go-to guy for some of the world’s wealthiest entrepreneurs. In short, he is the ultimate insider at the epicenter of the crypto universe.
Crypto.IQ is a premier advisory firm providing expert research, education and advice in the world of cryptoassets. The company is unique in that it combines the unparalleled expertise of crypto pioneer Charlie Shrem with the unparalleled market knowledge of three Wall Street experts with more than a century of combined financial industry experience. Together, they have managed and traded more than $1 billion in assets. In a world of “instant experts,” who have little knowledge or trading experience, the Crypto.IQ team offers the proven depth, insight and knowledge to help their clients achieve success.
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