Crypto wallet prototype spotted in Microsoft Edge browser
Microsoft might not be the first name that springs to mind when it comes to blockchain. Still, the company has been experimenting with the technology for many years.
According to screenshots shared on Twitter by Albacore, a pseudonymous software researcher from Central Europe, Microsoft has added code that would integrate a no-custodial crypto wallet into the company’s default Edge browser.
Screenshots shared by Albacore show a cryptocurrency wallet interface, a decentralized application explorer, a newsfeed, and the ability to buy cryptocurrency through Coinbase and MoonPay. The improvement is “already baked” into newer versions of the Microsoft Edge browser, but is hidden and inaccessible to users.
Albacore warns that Microsoft builds and tests many things that will never see the light of day.
“[The] The Edge team is a king at throwing anything you can think of against the wall and seeing if it holds up,” said the researcher. “The list of deprecated gimmick features they tried and eventually removed is quite long.”
Despite this, Albacore says the Edge wallet is working correctly.
“Considering that I’ve had a good use of it, I don’t think a rollout is out of the question,” Albacore said decrypt. “[I] would hope they wouldn’t bother providing the services in production if it was a tiny test version.”
Microsoft’s first web browser, Internet Explorer, was launched in 1995, the same year that the Opera browser was launched. But while Microsoft discontinued Internet Explorer in favor of Edge last year, Opera has created different iterations of its browser and integrated a crypto wallet and connection for dapps into its Opera Crypto Browser.
Albacore believes Microsoft’s foray into crypto wallets could be an attempt to offer similar products to Opera’s closest competitor, Brave Browser, the privacy-focused browser that also offers Web3 functionality.
“I think they could gauge if more bits of the Brave feature set is something that some portion of the user base would appreciate,” Albacore said.
Brave added support for the Solana blockchain to its desktop browser in May. Earlier this month, Brave expanded the functionality of its self-custody wallet, allowing users to buy and sell cryptocurrencies without leaving the built-in Brave wallet.
Beyond its own blockchain designs, Microsoft has also worked with others to break into this burgeoning industry, including leading a $20 million strategic round for Space and Time, a Web3 data warehouse, in September.
Microsoft would not confirm any aspect of its edge crypto wallet development.
“At Microsoft, we regularly test new features to explore new experiences for our customers,” a Microsoft spokesman told Decrypt in an email reply. “We look forward to learning from customers and gathering feedback, but have nothing further to share at this time.”