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Evolving wallets to bring a billion users onchain

TL;DR: Coinbase is developing a suite of wallet solutions that make it easy for developers to create simplified onboarding experiences for new onchain users.

By Will Robinson, Max Branzburg


, February 29, 2024

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One of the biggest barriers to growing onchain adoption is the complexity of the onboarding experience. Users struggle with the core parts of getting started with onchain applications, like seed phrases, transaction signing, and gas fees, and we believe that it needs to be much simpler.  

To support developers in bringing billions of users onchain, we’re excited to share that Coinbase is building two new wallet solutions. Developers can now choose from a smart wallet solution created by Coinbase Wallet that can be used across many apps, or integrate an embedded, app-specific wallet powered by Wallet as a Service. Both solutions will help reduce these points of friction and help make onchain onboarding easier and faster: 

  • Smart wallet is an addition to the Coinbase Wallet SDK that enables instant wallet creation within a dapp using just a passkey – no app downloads, extensions, or seed phrases required. This global unified wallet allows users to take their balances with them and can be used in the hundreds of EVM-compatible applications that are already integrated with the Coinbase Wallet SDK. Now available on Base Sepolia testnet, developers can easily get started with this free and user-ready solution.

  • Embedded wallets, powered by Wallet as a Service, allow developers to create white-labeled embedded wallets that abstract away the complexities of crypto in favor of familiar email and social login flows. These embedded wallets enable custom user experiences completely contained within an application. Developers can now sign up for the early access program.

As strong supporters of building in open and collaborative ways, we invite feedback on these solutions from the developer community to help us make it easier, faster, and safer to bring a billion users onchain.

Smart wallet by Coinbase Wallet

Developers can now provide their users with best-in-class UX using Coinbase Wallet’s new smart wallet, available on testnet. It offers a free, self-custodial, user-ready solution for creating a wallet in seconds directly from any dapp – with just a passkey. As a fully portable wallet, users can use their smart wallets in any of the thousands of EVM dapps that already integrate the Coinbase Wallet SDK. We’ve also enriched the user experience with a full screen web-based wallet companion portal that helps users manage their assets and identities all in one place. 

Some of the key benefits of smart wallet include:

  • Simple & secure: Create a new wallet instantly, no apps or extensions required. 

  • Easy to fund: Pay with Coinbase account balances without complex transfers.

  • Fully portable: Manage balances across platforms and take the wallet balance to any dapp. 

During the testnet phase, developers will be able to create wallets, use passkey technology for easy and secure signing, test transactions on the Base Sepolia testnet, and view their wallet activity and balances in a full screen web companion portal. As we continue to build towards our mainnet launch, developers will start to get access to first-class features, including top EVM chains, passkey recovery, and gas sponsorship credits on Base with the Account Abstraction Kit.

Developers can access both the new smart wallet and the existing Coinbase Wallet mobile app and extension by simply integrating or upgrading their Coinbase Wallet SDK.

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Embedded wallets powered by Coinbase WaaS

Wallet as a Service lets developers onboard new users onchain with experiences they are familiar with, like email and social login directly within their apps. They can be onchain, without knowing they’re onchain. Signup takes seconds, and users don’t need to learn about gas or how to sign a transaction. Each wallet is tied to an app, and users can export keys when they choose.

Some of the key benefits of Wallet as a Service include:

  • Secured by Coinbase: Built on the same infrastructure trusted by millions of users to safeguard billions of dollars

  • Fully immersive UX: Have more control over the application experience from onboarding to transacting, abstracting away as much or as little of the wallet UI as you want

  • Always exportable: WaaS is user-controlled and non-custodial, and users can easily export keys to wallet apps

WaaS now supports browser-based wallets (available in early access) compatible with all EVM networks, including Base, and offers out-of-the-box backup and recovery capabilities, all packaged in a developer-friendly SDK that integrates with onchain developers existing stack.

Developers are already using these new WaaS features to build fully customized onchain experiences. Lyra is using embedded wallets to onboard its users with email and Google accounts. Cymbal ran a week-long giveaway campaign offering free entry (no gas), allowing users to link their X account, verify a phone number, and get a ticket.

Developers can sign up here for early access to these new WaaS features.

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Live at ETHDenver

We’re looking forward to hearing developer feedback on these solutions. Find us at ETHDenver 2024 at Home Base, where we’ll be showcasing live demos of the experiences.

What’s Next

Building the next generation of onchain experiences will be critical to bringing a billion users onchain, and we believe that evolving wallets are a critical step. To further this effort, Base and its ecosystem are supporting developers advancing onchain experiences with gas credits, grants, resources and more. We'll provide more updates in the coming months and look forward to connecting with the developer community at ETHDenver and beyond. 

For smart wallet updates, follow us on X. Developers can share feedback on Farcaster /coinbasewallet.

For Wallet as a Service updates, follow us on X.

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Will Robinson
Max Branzburg

About Will Robinson and Max Branzburg

Will Robinson serves as our VP of Engineering, leading our developer product suite. His teams enable direct user interactions with blockchains through products and services including Coinbase Cloud, core cryptographic primitives, hot and cold storage, yield, staking, asset additions and maintenance, and Coinbase NFT. Prior to Coinbase, Mr. Robinson served as the Chief Technology Officer at ASAPP, an AI-powered customer software platform. Mr. Robinson spent nearly 13 years at Google in multiple technical leadership roles, from running the Google Chicago engineering team to being Chief Technology Officer of Chronical, an independent Alphabet company focused on enterprise cybersecurity. Mr. Robinson graduated from Stanford with a B.S. and M.S. in Computer Science.

Max Branzburg is the Vice President of Product at Coinbase, where he oversees all product development and growth for Coinbase’s consumer products. Prior to Coinbase, Max co-founded and built Google Pay India, which now has over 100M active users. Before that, Max was part of Google’s business operations and strategy team, where he worked on a variety of initiatives to drive growth at the company across Cloud, YouTube, and Google X “moonshots” like robotics and drones. Max holds a Bachelor of Arts degree from Princeton University.