Robinhood has launched the beta for its “Web3 Wallet” to 10,000 iOS users who have signed up for the waiting list. The company teased this product earlier this year after making a previous crypto wallet more widely available. Unlike his existing cryptocurrency wallet, the Web3 wallet isn’t just for storing cryptocurrencies that can be traded on the financial platform — it can also be used to “access the decentralized web seamlessly,” such as Robinhood’s press release places it. The wallet also allows people to trade cryptocurrencies for free.
The Web3 wallet also differs from the company’s other crypto wallets in that it is self-custodial, meaning you are responsible for keeping the keys to it securely. In practice, that gives you a little more control over your crypto, but it also means that if you forget your password, Robinhood can’t do anything to help.
It is clearly still very early for the wallet; first, it doesn’t support viewing NFTs or connecting to NFT marketplaces until public release. Even if you could connect the beta wallet to OpenSea, you’d be a bit limited in what you could do with it. Robinhood says it will work “exclusively” with the Polygon blockchain for now, rather than the more popular Ethereum blockchain. To put Ethereum’s dominance in perspective, DappRadar Reports that there were nearly 384,000 OpenSea transactions on the blockchain in the past week; meanwhile, there were only 82 transactions on the Polygon chain. (Note: not 82 thousand, just 82). It’s worth noting that going with a non-Ethereum chain isn’t automatically a bad choice – Solana just surpassed in sales for the first timealthough it has not consistently beaten Ethereum.
Robinhood does say it will “eventually” add support for other blockchains. Currently, beta users can fund their wallets with the USDC stablecoin, trade crypto, “earn crypto rewards” and connect to decentralized apps, which Robinhood says will allow you to earn returns. (Though, again, you’re limited to dApps built on the Polygon chain.) In theory, you could use it with decentralized apps that do other things as well, but… well, let’s face it, both Robinhood and The The wider web3 community focuses mainly on the money side, so it is very focused on monetization apps – which usually work by investing or trading in deposited crypto – to get the callout here .
The concept of earning returns, or interest, has been getting a lot of legal attention lately, with several states suing a crypto company for allegedly offering a revenue product without authorization and the SEC ordering BlockFi to pay $100 million in fines for its interest accounts . However, Robinhood says that you can connect its product to similar apps and actually offer one of those services itself are two different things.