For the first few years after the arrival of Bitcoin there were only a handful of other nascent cryptocurrencies, mostly limited to digital payments and settlement.
Then came Ethereum, the first smart contracts platform in the space, and the potential of crypto opened up exponentially. Decentralized applications with all kinds of use cases could be built on top of the platform, with other similar projects to follow. But in order to interact with this Cambrian explosion of dApps, cryptocurrency browser extensions were needed.
In this article, we’ll explain what a crypto browser extension is, list some of the most popular browser extensions on different blockchains, and talk about where they might be headed in the future.
What is a crypto browser extension?
To put it simply, a crypto browser extension is software that runs on your web browser, (like Chrome or Brave) usually taking the form of a self-custodial cryptocurrency wallet; meaning that once you create a wallet, only you have access to it. Nobody else can access your funds!
Once you have funded your wallet with crypto, you can it to interact with Web3 apps.
You might for example visit a decentralized exchange, connect your browser extension to the DEX, and make a trade. A small fee will be taken from your balance, and the tokens you have bought will appear in the wallet.
You might also use the same browser extension to stake funds into a liquidity pool and earn yield, buy an NFT from an NFT marketplace, lock that NFT into a DeFi application and then borrow funds against it, and so on and so on. The possibilities are endless, and browser extensions are a vital tool for unlocking the power of the crypto industry.
Top browser extensions
Metamask, developed by blockchain software company ConsenSys in 2016, is the original decentralized browser extension. It allows users to interact with the 3000+ dApps that are built on the Ethereum blockchain. These dApps include DeFi cornerstones like MakerDAO, Curve, and Aave. You can store any Ethereum-based, ERC-20-compatible asset in Metamask. It also allows you to connect to what are known as layer 2 blockchains like Polygon and Avalanche. Layer 2s are Ethereum scaling solutions.
Phantom is the equivalent of Metamask on the Solana blockchain, and the crypto wallet extension saw a huge increase in users in 2021. Crypto users were drawn to Solana as it offers super high-speed and low cost transactions, making it the perfect chain for DeFi applications. No more worrying about expensive Ethereum gas fees! Solana also has a growing number of NFT marketplaces like Magic Eden.
Exodus is a secure multichain crypto wallet meaning you can access popular blockchains like Solana and Ethereum plus layer 2s. This is different from most wallets which only allow you to access one or the other. Another thing that sets Exodus apart is their 24/7 human customer support team.
The Exodus Web3 Wallet supports the following networks:
Finally, the Brave Browser is an alternative to Safari and Chrome, which automatically blocks intrusive ads and stops web 2 companies from being able to track you across the internet. Brave is the first web 3 / blockchain company to build a secure crypto wallet right in the browser. You don’t even need to add it as an extension!
Future of crypto browser extensions is multichain
There are a lot of blockchains, each with different pros and cons, and use cases. Web3 wallets that only support one blockchain or ecosystem are appropriate for single blockchain fans.
However, those that want their money work seamlessly without needing to manage multiple wallets, will want to stick with a multichain Web3 wallet.
This content is for informational purposes only and is not investment advice. You should consult a qualified licensed advisor before engaging in any transaction.