As some folks have already noticed, we’ve been working on a new Crypto Wallets feature in Brave.
This new feature is a client-side Ethereum wallet with support for ETH and most standard Ethereum tokens & collectibles, including BAT. For now, Crypto Wallets is a standalone component which doesn’t interact with Brave Rewards at all. It allows you to use a local wallet and interact with Ðapps, making Brave a fully-featured web3 browser. Think of Crypto Wallets like Metamask, but built into Brave. In fact, Crypto Wallets is a lot like Metamask — it’s based on the same open-source codebase as Metamask in the same way that Brave is based on the same open-source codebase as Chrome.
That means that you can’t transfer BAT directly between Brave Rewards and Crypto Wallets. You don’t need to do any sort of verification to use Crypto Wallets. It’s a client-side wallet which you use exclusively with your own assets, and you control all the keys. Brave (the company) isn’t involved in your transactions. We don’t know what you’re doing, and we have no control over it. With Crypto Wallets, you can either manage your keys in a software wallet in Brave, or connect a physical hardware wallet (Ledger or Trezor) for more secure key-management.
Our progress so far is available in Dev and Nightly builds of Brave. With a little more work, it’ll ride the trains through Beta, and eventually make its way into released versions of Brave. We’re proud of our work so far, but Crypto Wallets hasn’t yet been through the extensive testing we want before putting features into production. Until this is in a release version of Brave, you should probably stick to small amounts and keep regular backups.
At present, Crypto Wallets is for people who already have a working understanding of cryptocurrency generally, and Ethereum specifically, and know how to use hardware and software wallets together safely. This isn’t a universal, built-for-everyone feature like Brave Rewards: it’s only for you if you are already familiar with crypto.
But that’s just where we are so far. We built Crypto Wallets to lay the technical groundwork for a richer browsing experience that incorporates many kinds of crypto in many ways. The next big piece of work will add Uphold support to Crypto Wallets. That’ll let you manage assets in your Uphold account inside of Crypto Wallets, and directly transfer crypto assets between your verified Uphold account, Brave Rewards, and Crypto Wallets.
The next step is a bigger piece of work, and one we’ve been working towards for a while. We want to integrate the client-side Crypto Wallets feature with Brave Rewards, letting you fully control the keys to your Brave Rewards wallet, as an alternative to Uphold’s custodial wallet. Of course, we’ll still need to meet US and international regulatory requirements when you earn BAT through Brave Rewards. That’ll probably mean some sort of identity verification process. But we’re committed to ensuring that Brave (the company) knows the absolute minimum about you, whether you’re using a hosted Uphold wallet or a private client-side wallet. Designing that system to ensure that we follow the law while ensuring that you remain anonymous is a big deal for us, and one of the most substantial components of this work ahead.
We’re excited to continue pushing the envelope when it comes to support for cryptocurrency and other blockchain applications on the web platform. This is only the beginning for tools and services which incorporate the exciting new suite of capabilities offered by decentralized computation platforms like Ethereum. At Brave, we endeavor to integrate technologies which put people in control of their online lives rather than having to rely on intermediaries and gatekeepers. That’s why the Brave browser already includes other features built to support the distributed, borderless web: like IPFS and WebTorrent. We want Brave to be a tool for everyone and to support people’s individual autonomy — without forcing everyone to get to grips with the ins and outs of these cutting-edge tools. But we know full well that without experimentation and creativity, we’ll never see the full potential of these new technical opportunities.
Right now, Crypto Wallets is built for the trailblazers who want to roll up their sleeves and dig in. As we learn more about what’s important and effective in this space, we want to make those powerful capabilities available to everyone, with no technical barrier to entry.