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The internet is something that nearly everyone uses on a daily basis and where we access entertainment, work, learning, and much more.
As technology and platforms shift to web3, we begin to transition to the decentralized age, where various new applications and possibilities emerge.
The whole idea of Web3 is to empower internet users through virtual economies, directly integrating cryptocurrencies and building applications on the blockchain.
Web3 is still in its infancy, but startups are hard at work building the next generation of applications. You’re going to have to wait a bit until these new technologies are consumer-ready, but you can still get a first-hand taste right now.
Internet browsers created for this new era are actually available right now; you might even be using one already.
You will find that a web3 browser is similar to the ones we know but with blockchain-compatible features.
Generally speaking, these browsers look to uphold the ideals of web3 and allow users to monetise their data by removing central authorities that may prevent innovation. Decentralization is at the heart of web3, and these browsers are no different.
While popular browsers such as Chrome and Firefox support decentralized apps, users may need extra steps to access them. This could include downloading Metamask or other crypto wallet extensions.
This is where a Web3 browser makes it a lot easier, as they have a direct implementation of crypto wallets and can even distribute cryptocurrency rewards to users for watching ads and monetising data.
Brave is one browser that rewards users with BAT tokens for watching ads. We’ll discuss more about Brave later on.
Another benefit of these browsers is the support for web3 domains. This is still a new concept, but people can buy web3 domains as NFTs and use them to create a platform or easily send/receive cryptocurrency.
Access to decentralized applications (dApps) and other web3-geared content is easier than ever with these browsers. Pure web3-built applications may not always be accessible on a typical web3 browser.
Many of these browsers come with built-in tools that crypto enthusiasts are sure to love. Opera has a dApp directory and educational content, while Brave directly connects to crypto exchanges and provides token price updates and wallet support.
Here is a brief list of crypto-friendly browsers you can download and use right now.
You might not have heard of Brave, but it’s actually a pretty neat browser.
Brave might be currently the most popular web3 browser, as it provides ad-blockers and protective shields against malicious scripts. Its user-friendly interface has made it a favourite amongst many.
It also has a crypto wallet with fiat on-ramp and rewards its users with BAT tokens for something as simple as viewing ads. Finally, it has IPFS support which gives users built-in decentralized file storage for NFTs, files, data, and digital assets.
Opera is a browser that has been around for ages but is one of the few “old-school browsers” that are super useful for web3.
Opera equips users with robust privacy settings and supports ad-blockers just like Brave. Opera also has a cross-chain crypto wallet, which was extremely useful during the crypto boom during the pandemic.
One of the pretty unique features of Opera is that it allows your smartphone to act as a hardware wallet through private key storage. This is a pretty controversial feature, but to some, it’s considered useful.
Osiris has been around for over 10 years and is a solid web3 browser choice for creating decentralized websites.
Similar to the browsers mentioned before, Osiris emphasises user privacy and even has a built-in ad blocker and crypto wallet. Osiris supports multiple blockchains and has a sleek user interface making it pretty versatile.
Osiris primarily focuses on seamless Web3 functionality and has an in-browser dApp store that makes it easy to discover new dApps.
Beaker is a newer browser with only around five years to its name but is unique, considering it comes with peer-to-peer site hosting.
Beaker is able to convert your device into a server by using hyperlinks. This might be something for hardcore web3 users and makes Beaker a bit of a niche pick.
Last but not least, Puma is another option for web3 browsers.
Puma offers peer-to-peer file hosting support and safeguards against website trackers, which are super helpful for people who prefer to surf the web in peace.
Puma is also an excellent browser for creators, as it offers a web monetisation tool.
Web3 browsers seem intriguing and fancy, but you must keep in mind that these technologies are still rather new.
One of the most common challenges you can run into is that browsers, blockchains, and dApps won’t always be compatible with each other. Specific dApps are built on different blockchains, so you might be unable to access certain platforms with a browser.
You might incur unforeseen expenses when using a web3 browser. Take Ethereum-based platforms which require ETH to conduct transactions. This isn’t always cheap, as gas prices can run up. Of course, there are always more scalable blockchains that will not slap you with high transaction costs as well.
Lastly, be aware that many browsers may not be user-friendly. A common struggle with new technology as they scale towards mass adoption is the long process of simplifying complex processes.
Crypto veterans are already aware that they need to keep their 12-word recovery phrases under tight wraps, but newcomers may not be aware and end up losing their funds. Practices like this usually become more streamlined for future users over time.
Even though there are some downsides to Web3 browsers, the good news is that over time they should get ironed out and grow in adoption.
The good thing is that you can always download one, try it out, and decide if it’s something for you. If not, then there is plenty of time to follow the ongoing development of the browsers and potentially return in the future.
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