From Browser Wars to Wallet Wars

Six months ago haters were whining about EOS not having any wallets.

It wasn’t uncommon to see a thread about EOS degrade into ETH maximalists saying stuff like:

“Block One can’t even build a wallet for their own crypto currency, idiots.” — some facebook rando

I was always of the belief, and I said it pretty frequently, that it was not Block.one’s responsibility to build every tool in their platform.

EOS is an open marketplace that will have thousands of services built on top of it, and there is no way in hell Block One could be tasked with building all of those.

The haters had a nice point though… it was starting to become very obvious that there wasn’t a nice wallet for EOS, given the mainnet had launched and there was so much excitement around using EOS. Without a wallet was looking pretty bad.

Everybody in the EOS community was having a “now what?” kind of moment.

People were unsure about what would happen with EOS, it seemed too magical or risky.

It had this feeling like it could be a major failure or fall apart overnight.

Wallet Wars

Fast forward, not even a year later…

The market is being flooded with tons of great wallets. These wallets are already seeing a ton of action.

In the picture above you can see just how many EOS wallet login options are available on www.newdex.io.

To say the least, there are A LOT.

Just like the “browser wars” of the past there is an all out wallet war brewing.

The wallet wars extend to Ethereum and other crypto… wallets are increasingly desperate to be your go to choice for purchases, trading, dapp discovery… etc.

I am seeing it heat up mostly in EOS, but the wallet wars have spread across the entire crypto industry. Companies are giving away as much as $25 to a user just to download the app, and nothing more. It’s like the early Paypal days.

The wallet wars are very much like the browser wars of the past… after Netscape drew blood in their insane IPO, Microsoft, then Google, Firefox and everybody else followed to try to gain a piece of that market.

It was a bloody war, and even decades later, you can still find dead bodies laid out in some places if you look hard enough (i.e. the ‘navigator’ object in javascript).

Wallets Are Like Browsers

The internet was hard or impossible to navigate until the browser made it more simple.

Browsers made wider internet adoption possible.

Wallets perform a similar function that they allow you to seamlessly move through crypto sites that are too cryptic for most normal people. We haven’t found the browser of wallets yet, but it’s coming.

Here is the internet before web browsers (Lynx text browser).

The Current Wallet Market

Scatter is taking the lead which is sorta confusing to me because it’s a really difficult product to use. My guess is they are still enjoying their first mover status but about to get royally crushed by somebody else with better game.

There are dozens of wallets that are doing well in EOS alone. My guess is we have exceeded thousands of crypto wallets total in the industry. That’s pretty huge considering there were likely only around a dozen or so browsers during the browser wars.

Chinese Wallets

Then there are the Chinese who are creating a ton of great wallets and are leading as well, my guess is because gambling and mobile payments are more common in Asia. Gambling isn’t as taboo in Asia.

Americans (in theory) wouldn’t enjoy using Chinese language based wallets, at least not for another decade or two when China will be ruling the world. Americans would be better off using Lynx or something more suitable to their tastes, and the bar should be very high there.

There is a huge need for Chinese to learn from the past and localize these wallets for western markets before they get crushed like they did in the search engine game. The only reason Baidu is still used by Chinese is because literally every other search engine is outlawed. Same with WeChat, a garbage app, most Americans wouldn’t use if somebody paid them to.

Venmo For Crypto?

Nobody has nailed the Venmo for crypto yet and it’s a huge shame, this is what a mobile wallet should be in my opinion, but nobody has come close to this… yet.

If anybody is working on this, I will stand behind them and help them as much as possible.

Some Predictions

I have some base predictions / thoughts on what might happen in the crypto wallet market. It’s ok if I’m wrong, I’m always happy to be surprised:

Crypto wallets will not be the place to discover dapps.

Wallet / dapp discovery is an awkward thing going on in the market that will seem like a waste of time in the future.

I personally like in-wallet dapp discovery, but I think it won’t last long.

To do this isn’t much different from discovering cool web sites through Paypal which is funny if not ridiculous. The integration should be that Paypal makes itself relevant to the sites, not the other way around.

Apple will likely shut down mobile app wallets that access webviews that facilitate purchasing currencies and support gambling (they are sleeping on this now IMO). A wallet-maggeddon is likely coming and I think mobile wallets should have a contingency plan for this.

Think about it this way, Audible can’t even sell books in the Audible app because they don’t want to pay the ridiculous ~30% fee on book sales. Something as innocent as books can’t make Apple’s cut. When the weed grows too high in the garden, the gardener will see it and cut it down.

The real winner will be the best browser plugin wallet, that’s where the fight is and probably should be, and whoever nails it should be the number one wallet with most market share.

American crypto-wallet integrations could leverage Chinese wallets. My guess is within the next two years people will be blown away by successes that will happen there (I’m working on something here).

Microsoft crushed Netscape by putting out an embedded browser in their products, this is a wildcard in the wallet industry as well, no big players have integrated a nice wallet into any products but my guess is they will either in browser, in phone, in app, and that will change the industry.

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I’m curious to hear anybody’s predictions on the future of crypto wallets not just in EOS but ETH or any crypto. Also curious to hear feedback on your analysis of the current state of the wallet industry.

@kurtybot