After months of teasing, the Norwegian software company Opera has at last added iOS support for its crypto-friendly mobile browser, Opera Touch. Starting today, iPhone and other iOS devices can use Opera Touch to connect to the Ethereum blockchain, use dapps, and make transactions in cryptocurrency.
The move caps off Opera’s attempts to offer up its “browlett” (Decrypt’s term of art) across all major platforms: Windows desktop, Mac OS, Linux, Android, and now, iOS.
Opera was among the first major browser developers to begin beating the crypto drum as early as 2018, releasing its Android browser-wallet combo last December, which has since racked up more than 5 million downloads. The decision to expand to iOS, first announced in March, followed a “strong demand from the crypto-community,” according to a statement from Opera’s head of crypto operations, Charles Hamel.
“We believe that all modern browsers should integrate a crypto wallet,” said Hamel. “This will enable new business models to emerge on the web.”
The built-in Ethereum Web3 API in the Opera Touch browser promises a “seamless” experience for users looking to take the plunge into crypto—no additional extensions or plugins needed.
That lack of friction—removing the barriers that might otherwise keep new users away—is the key to bringing cryptocurrencies and decentralized technology to the mainstream, said Hamel. And it’s not an unpopular opinion.
Major players in the crypto industry, such as Coinbase, Binance, Brave, and MetaMask, have all either released or are actively working on developing their own mobile dapp browsers that integrate crypto wallets. The idea being that, just as the web browsers of yesteryear exposed millions of people to the first iteration of the web in the mid-1990s, the next Browser King will own the on-ramp to the Internet of the future.
It’s early days in the next generation browser wars, and it’s still a wide open field. But there’s something to be said for Opera’s timing. Opera’s iOS push strikes while the eyes of the tech world are turned to crypto (thanks to Facebook), and a bitcoin bull run has got the crypto faithful rolling in mooning optimism.