The Startup
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The Startup

The Blockchain Browser Bash! Brave VS Opera

There are many options for browsing the web out there. We all know of Chrome, Firefox, and the often-dreaded Internet Explorer, Edge, and Safari. Today we’re in a blockchain-ey mood though so I want to focus on two very special browsers that both offer unique features we crypto lovers appreciate.

Today we take the two crypto + privacy browsers, Opera and Brave, toe to toe in the blockchain browser bash! These are definitely my top favorite browsers and I use both of them for different situations. I would like to go in-depth in the way these two change the way I, and maybe some of you as well, browse the new web.

What makes a privacy-focused browser? While many browsers including the top ones used today have privacy settings, and with the help of plugins we can get even more secure, it’s not the default setting. Most require a plugin to block ads and trackers that may or may not be from dangerous sources. Our friends over at Brave and Opera have noticed people are starting to realize just how many websites are taking advantage of our data they so subtly request from us, or “take”. People are starting to care which means there is now a market for more privacy.

Both Opera and Brave have Privacy built-in as the default setting, we have ad-block, tracker blocking and even DRM blocking built into the browser while we transition to web3 where websites will be forced to start respecting user data and advertise in better ways.

What about a crypto browser, or web3 browser? Are we just attaching this buzzword to get noticed? Well, the truth is there are specific features that qualify them for this fancy word. Both Opera and Brave boast crypto wallets with web3 capabilities allowing users to do stuff like login to websites with their Ethereum or other block-chain wallets instead of having to install a plugin like Metamask. It’s pretty cool they’re getting these features ready for the masses that will need a convenient way to manage their tokens and brows dApps. Also, both have their strengths and weaknesses I can’t wait to get into!

Brave

Over at brave, they’re working on one of those better ways websites can continue to take in revenue without savagely selling data that should belong to the user. One of the biggest selling points on Brave is the Brave rewards with the Basic Attention Token (BAT)! In order to take advantage of this though, you may only withdraw tokens through the Uphold exchange which requires KYC. Now we all know KYC is needed for fiat conversion by law but why make users do that fiat conversion through Uphold? Many users have already uploaded their IDs and such to enough exchanges. Hopefully one day we can see KYC that doesn’t require our personal information to be repeatedly uploaded.

How does the wallet over at brave compare to that of Opera or even Metamask? One big strength is the compatibility with hardware wallets, such as the Ledger Nano, so people can conveniently use their more secure hardware wallets. The wallet will allow you to sign transactions on dApps and sign in to them with ease. After signing in on websites like Peepeth.com you’ll soon wonder when passwords will go bye-bye for good. A drawback, however, is the wallet is not available on mobile. So if Brave’s your fav you better get a good mobile wallet with a dApp browser for mobile dApp use.

Some of the upsides as a browser is that Brave boasts the Chrome-like feel to make users feel right at home to what they’re used to. You even get to keep the Google “cast” feature for streaming videos or a webpage to the TV. If at any time you would like your privacy brought to the next level “incognito” tabs on Brave come equipped with the traffic going through Tor protocol. That’s about as private as it gets.

With all these great new things packed into one lovely browser, the future comes with hurdles to work through and as a very new browser it’s biggest drawback will be bugs and glitches. These will no doubt be worked through as it matures but until then you may notice odd behavior. You will also need to wait patiently for some browsers you may be used to such as your browser experience syncing across devices. While this is expected in the future, it currently only supports syncing bookmarks.

Opera

On top of the privacy features you get a sleek design from the oldest browser in existence, yup even older than internet explorer. I’m sure this is probably a big factor that allows it to be very glitch-free and a rounded browser experience on both desktop and mobile offering full sync across devices.

Another great strength is the convenience the wallet provides. While it could use adding the ability to view balances and send more of the currencies in our private keys it still includes Etherum, Bitcoin, and TRON! On Ethereum it has the most features such as the ability to see and send your NFT’s and also a full-on dApp store! While I would like to see them update the dApp a bit more I’ve found a few gems in its library. Make sure to have the wallet set up in Opera on your mobile phone first if you want to use the desktop browser wallet as it requires pairing with a QR code and you will need your phone to sign transactions.

In this web3 world being over-run by mobile users, it’s great to see Opera having such a convenient dApp browser experience on mobile phones and if you add a shortcut to your mobile’s home-screen you can use the dApp in full screen without the browser aspects making it look like it is its own app.

As for the shortcomings. One shortcoming Opera has in comparison with Brave is we, unfortunately, cannot connect our hardware wallet as of yet. Looking over Opera’s blogs I haven’t found much information on what features they’re implementing either. The Google “cast” feature isn’t included in the US version of Opera either so no having a tab cast to the TV while working on another tab, unfortunately.

Overall these two are both taking the way we browse the web to another level by implementing crypto wallets and web3 logins while also providing privacy features other browsers just don’t have without extensions. I can’t wait to see more features get implemented like adding more blockchains to the mix and better yet, the ability to navigate IPFS websites and also access blockchain domains without needing an extension or .link.

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Richard Potter

I enjoy sharing ideas about freedom, blockchain, and the decentralization of things like social media and currency.