Ethereum will soon see its first wallet with a WeChat-like interface.
Expected to launching in alpha in the coming weeks, Status aims to provide a new interface for ethereum, one that more closely resembles popular apps users are accustomed to. Namely, with Status, users can call up and control decentralized applications (dapps) with instant messages from the mobile wallet.
The Android and iOS light client were inspired by the multi-purpose social messaging app WeChat, which, in addition to offering messaging, also allows users to pay for groceries and explore social media updates.
Status co-founder Carl Bennetts explained the idea was to build an interface that the average person will understand, so that they can tap the "new world" of crypto-technologies.
Bennetts told CoinDesk:
"What we came up with was a sort of hybrid between a messenger and a browser, with the idea that you can chat with decentralized applications in the same way that you would chat with your friends."
Ethereum's popular Mist wallet, funded by the non-profit Ethereum Foundation, has expressed similar vision for making browsing and interaction with so-called dApps easier, although Status is unique in that it makes dApps summonable by instant message.
It still might be a ways to go before it's ready, however.
The alpha release will be a stripped down version of what Status intends to offer in the long run, intended mostly for developers (like ethereum itself in its current form).
One exciting component, according to Bennetts, is that users can use encrypted chat brought to the table by ethereum's Whisper protocol, which he sees as a needed departure from the client-server model used by most encrypted messaging apps. He also emphasized that Status is among the first apps to use the decentralized chat protocol.
Other features are available so that developers can poke around.
Users can send requests to store ether (although Bennetts mentioned that users shouldn't do this with "any meaningful amount" while it's still in the experimental stages) and browse existing dapps, similar to the Mist browser.
The mobile wallet is also a sign that developers are beginning to think about more about how users can use the technology down the road.
Although there are other wallets out there, interfaces made for the average person have been far and in between.
One futuristic slide even shows a user hailing a self-driving cab with an instant message and an ether payment.
"There is no real distinction between a friend and a dapp," reads the Status presentation slides from Devcon.
When asked if making smart contracts easier to use could potentially be hazardous given recent bugs and security problems linked with ethereum smart contracts, Bennett nodded to The DAO collapse, arguing that it was an example of developers using ethereum as if it was production-ready when it really wasn't.
He added that he's optimistic that ethereum smart contract security will continue to progress.
"Security is going to be taken more and more seriously, and provided that we have some sort of a standard before we throw these dapps out to our userbase and have very intense security orders, I still think ethereum is a better system," he said.
But, while security isn't Status's main focus, it does go to show that despite recent ethereum infrastructure issues, developers are continuing work on forward-thinking projects to improve its ecosystem.
Images via Status