The general public is taking a greater interest in cryptocurrency, and it appears all but certain that blockchain technology will soon be mainstream. As more people become interested in acquiring, and using, digital assets, ease of use remains a daunting challenge. Simply put, entering the crypto space can be difficult for the less-than-tech savvy. Apps designed to manage crypto are nothing new, but the most recent have added functionality that may finally make it truly user friendly. More importantly, major tech companies such as Apple and Microsoft have developed a browser API that promises to make using crypto online much easier.
The earliest crypto apps were generally little more than price tickers and news aggregators. As Bitcoin began to grow greatly in value in 2013, app developers and crypto services were eager to create apps with more functionality. Despite initial success, one of the challenges was the burdensome approval process by Apple for iOS, and beginning in 2015, Google for Android. Fortunately, over the course of the last twelve months both companies have embraced the crypto revolution, and are permitting a wide range of apps that enable the public to buy, transfer, and store crypto.
The most popular fiat exchanges, such as Coinbase and Bitstamp, now have apps with all major functions, including purchasing and linking to bank accounts. A wide range of wallet apps, such as Jaxx, are also available. The most important recent development is the integration of altcoins. For example, Coinbase now handles Litecoin and Ether, and Jaxx supports a multitude of cryptos. This improved functionality is made possible largely because Apple and Google are slowly allowing altcoins into their respective app stores. Just in the last few weeks Apple has approved Dash, Lisk, Digicash and Steem. More will likely follow.
Among the most promising development in making cryptocurrency more user friendly is the web browser integration API. This new feature will give users a drop down menu for online crypto payments. It will be available in Chrome, Edge, Firefox, Safari and the Samsung browser. It will also be featured in the Facebook app. Implementation of the API is set to begin in November, with full integration by the middle of 2018. One activated, merchants will be able to determine which cryptos to accept, and consumers will easily be able to use them.
Crypto advocates have long argued that, at some point, the public will begin to embrace digital assets and appreciate their utility. This step appears to be rapidly unfolding, as interest in cryptocurrency has never been higher. It is safe to assume that, if consumers can easily acquire and use crypto, they will now do so in large numbers. Recent app developments and browser integration have clearly made that move much closer.