When it comes to blockchain, Microsoft may not be the first brand that springs to mind. Yet, the corporation has been experimenting with the technology for many years.
Microsoft has inserted code that would integrate a non-custodial crypto wallet into the company’s default Edge browser, according to screenshots provided on Twitter by Albacore, a pseudonymous software researcher from Central Europe.
Albacore’s pictures show a cryptocurrency wallet’s user interface, a decentralized application explorer, a news feed, and the ability to acquire cryptocurrency using Coinbase and MoonPay. The feature is “already baked in” to recent Microsoft Edge browser releases, but it is concealed and inaccessible to consumers.
Albacore warns that Microsoft produces and tests a lot of products that never make it to market.
“[The] Edge team are monarchs of throwing every imaginable thing at the wall and seeing whether it sticks,” the researcher stated. “There is a long list of obsolete novelty features that they tested and eventually eliminated.”
Yet, Albacore claims that the Edge wallet works properly.
“Given that I was able to utilize it just fine, I’d suppose a rollout is not out of the question,” Albacore told Decrypt. “I’d expect that if it was only a little experiment, they wouldn’t bother sending the services to production.”
Internet Explorer, Microsoft’s first web browser, was released in 1995, the same year as the Opera browser. Yet, whereas Microsoft retired Internet Explorer in favor of Edge last year, Opera has produced various generations of its browser and integrated a crypto wallet and dapp connection into its Opera Crypto Browser.
Albacore believes Microsoft’s move into crypto wallets is an attempt to compete with Opera’s closest rival, Brave Browser, a privacy-focused browser that also supports Web3.
“I think they’re testing to see if further elements of the Brave feature set are something a portion of the user base would embrace,” Albacore speculated.
In May, Brave added support for the Solana blockchain to its desktop browser. Brave enhanced the capability of its self-custody wallet earlier this month, allowing users to buy and trade cryptocurrencies without leaving the integrated Brave Wallet.
Microsoft has collaborated with others to enter this emerging business, including leading a $20 million strategic investment into Space and Time, a Web3 data warehouse, in September.
Microsoft refused to divulge any details about its Edge crypto wallet development.
“At Microsoft, we constantly test new features in order to explore new experiences for our users,” a Microsoft spokesman said in an email statement to Decrypt. “We are excited to learn from and collect input from customers, but we have nothing else to add at this moment.”