On April 9 2019 Opera announced its newest desktop web browser complete with a list of distinctive features for crypto users and a free VPN. According to the developers, the new browser will give users “a sense of control over their online lives and a glimpse into the Web of the future”.
The new Opera browser (its codename is Reborn 3, but it’s also called Opera 60) has improved security and privacy and an updated design. It boasts of being the first major computer browser with a native crypto wallet and Web 3 explorer. Sounds nice, but how do these marketing claims correspond to reality? Read our latest review to find out about the features and real use cases of Reborn 3, its advantages and disadvantages, different users’ opinions and development plans.
Opera has 2 different browsers with built-in crypto wallets: Reborn 3 for desktop and Opera with Crypto Wallet for Android. It all started with Opera with Crypto Wallet for Android, which was released in December 2018. To use crypto features on their desktop browser, users need to pair it with their Android browser. For example, to sign a transaction on your desktop browser, you will be asked to confirm it on your Android mobile device.
Charles Hamel, the Head of Crypto at Opera, explains key features of the new desktop crypto browser.
Back in July 2018, Opera introduced the private beta of a browser with a built-in crypto wallet. It was only available on Android then, and new users were invited to join and share their feedback. Charles Hamel, the Head of Crypto at Opera, claimed that it was their “first step towards making cryptocurrencies and Web 3.0 mainstream”. He explained that despite the tremendous activity and heightened interest in crypto, it was still a challenge for it to reach wider adoption. Thus, Opera aimed to solve the challenge by providing seamless and user-friendly solutions with its new browser.
The decision to support Ethereum was made due to it hosting the largest community of developers building dapps. From the beginning, ERC-20 tokens were automatically added to the cryptocurrency wallet; it also supported some ERC-721s like CryptoKitties, and the developers promised to add support for more in upcoming releases.
Finally, on Dec.13, 2018, Opera reported that their new browser for Android was ready to download, and it became the first member of a family of new format browsers with native crypto wallets, including the recently released Reborn 3 and the latest version of Opera Touch for iOS, currently under development.
Reborn 3 gives users access to their crypto funds without the need of intermediary wallet apps or extensions. After you download the browser and create a cryptocurrency wallet (or restore an already existing one using a seed phrase), you can sign transactions and explore Web 3.
What is Web 3?
Web 3 is generally understood as the set of technologies that includes blockchains, cryptocurrencies, and distributed systems. Web 3 is often called “the internet of the future”; it returns ownership of data back to users, and has no central point of control. Applications that are built on Web 3 are decentralized applications or dapps.
Is the crypto wallet secure?
Crypto transactions can be securely signed without the unnecessary oversharing of users’ data. Wallet keys are never backed up or transmitted by the Opera browser; they are kept on users’ smartphones and are protected by PIN/fingerprints/face recognition features. Users bear full responsibility for storing and securing their keys and backup phrases. It’s necessary to store your backup phrase somewhere outside your smartphone as well so that you can restore your wallet in case you lose access to your device.
In this section, we will concentrate on the crypto use cases. For non-crypto use cases (a built-in ad blocker, free VPN, foreign currencies converter, capturing, messengers, customization, etc.), watch this video.
Here are the crypto related things you can do with Reborn 3:
This Reddit thread is a good illustration of what the community thought about the new browser, with some of the most notable opinions being:
As you can see, the release was hotly debated, and the opinions were quite controversial. While some users declared their love and support to Reborn 3:
others highlighted serious problems.
No Android – no crypto features
First, you have to connect your mobile device with Opera for Android to your computer to sign transactions. Even if you are using Mac, the only way to get full access to your crypto wallet is to connect it to an Android device. If you don’t have any, you’ll have to wait until Opera releases its iOS version of a browser with a built-in crypto wallet.
Second, lots of users are not too thrilled about the free VPN provided by Opera. Some of them claim that it is not actually a VPN, but more of a proxy. Others fear for their private data; an outraged Reddit user exclaims: “When are you going to figure out that all they want is your personal info?”. The idea of Opera’s “Chinese VPN” even became a meme on social media:
Third, some users have experienced problems with load performance; here’s a typical complaint: “Opening a new tab is definitely slower than before. It takes over 2 seconds for me until it is completely loaded.” Users are even nostalgic for Opera 58, which didn’t have such issues.
After using Reborn 3 and reviewing other users’ comments, we are ready to highlight the pros and cons of this new Opera browser.
Opera is working on integrating its cryptocurrency wallet into Opera Touch, an iOS browser. Opera Touch got a Red Dot Communication Design Award in 2018, and will soon get the functionality similar to that of Opera for Android: a built-in crypto wallet, Web 3 access, and so on. There’s still no exact date for the release, but you can sign up for the newsletter and get early access.
A browser with a built-in crypto wallet is a real breakthrough, and we fully understand the enthusiasm of its developers and supporters. With that being said, it didn’t all go smoothly and its shortcomings raised important issues which were highlighted in this review.
Opera claims that the new browser is a serious step towards the mainstream adoption of crypto. But Opera itself isn’t a mainstream browser. The big question is: whether Opera boosts crypto, or crypto boosts Opera? In any case, this collaboration might bring mutual benefits, especially if Opera listens to the crypto community and improves the weaknesses which werу found during these first two weeks after the release.
Thanks for reading,
The COIN360 Editorial Team