Screenshots revealed on Friday show Microsoft is running an ‘internal beta test’ of a native cryptocurrency wallet built into the Edge browser. So no extension needs to be installed. Screenshots shared on Twitter show the self custody wallet targets Ethereum and supports both fungible cryptocurrencies and NFTs. The goal is to make crypto more user friendly with inbuilt security features to protect users from insecure addresses and dApps.
We found a reference to CryptoWalletEnabled as a new policy on the Microsoft website for Edge Beta testing. Subsequently, Microsoft spokesperson said, “At Microsoft, we regularly test new features to explore new experiences for our customers. We look forward to learning and collecting feedback from customers but have nothing further to share at this time.”
The setup warns that testers use their own funds during the testing, so Microsoft will not reimburse them.
Microsoft has not yet decided whether to call it a crypto wallet or a web3 wallet, with both names used in the beta test.
One of the questions is whether it built the solution itself or partnered with ConsenSys, the developer of the most popular crypto wallet MetaMask.
Microsoft invested in the $450 million ConsenSys funding round a year ago. When it retired the Azure Blockchain Services, ConsenSys stepped in and took it over. And ConsenSys, Microsoft and EY worked together to launch the Baseline Protocol, which aims to enable enterprise applications on the public Ethereum mainnet.
Edge is not the first browser to natively support crypto. Brave is a blockchain-focused browser and Opera has had a built in crypto wallet for some time. However, Edge’s market share is not massive at 4.3%, according to Statcounter, behind Chrome with 65.7% and Safari at 18.9%. With ChatGPT boosting usage of Microsoft’s Bing search engine, it may see a crypto wallet doing something similar for Edge.
Update: Added response from Microsoft