Coinbase Starts ‘Wallet as a Service’ Companies Can Build Into Their Own Apps

The U.S. crypto exchange says the new service could help companies “to help bring the next hundred million customers into Web3 through a seamless wallet-onboarding experience.”

AccessTimeIconMar 8, 2023 at 2:00 p.m. UTC
Updated Mar 8, 2023 at 8:03 p.m. UTC
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Coinbase, the big U.S. crypto exchange, is starting a “wallet as a service” business that will allow companies to customize blockchain wallets for their own customers.

The service could be used by gaming apps where tokens or non-fungible tokens (NFT) are part of the game, or by companies that might want to incorporate a wallet into an app and make that “almost invisible to the end user,” Patrick McGregor, Coinbase’s head of product for Web3 developer platforms, said in an interview.

The announcement comes as Coinbase pushes to provide more products and services to blockchain developers – in addition to the consumers who use the exchange and Coinbase Wallet, and the institutional investors who use its trading and custody products.

“We view this as being the central enabling technology and revenue source for our developer strategy,” McGregor said. Fees will be charged on a per-wallet basis, he said.

Coinbase says its wallet-as-a-service could help companies “to help bring the next hundred million customers into Web3 through a seamless wallet-onboarding experience,” according to a press release.

Traditional crypto wallets are “difficult for users to access” because of their “complex mnemonic seeds” and “counterintuitive” user interfaces, Coinbase said. “In a world where wallets are simple, companies can finally build Web3 experiences accessible to everyone regardless of technical knowledge.”

The use of complicated 24-word recovery phrases is avoided through the use of “multi-party computation” cryptographic technology.

“MPC allows a ‘key’ to be split between the end user and Coinbase,” according to the press release. “Ultimately, this means if a company’s end user loses access to their device, the key to their Web3 wallet is still safe and can be securely restored.”

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Bradley Keoun

Bradley Keoun is the managing editor of CoinDesk's Tech & Protocols team. He owns less than $1,000 each of several cryptocurrencies.


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