Coinbase Wallet Launches Direct Messaging Feature to Enhance Crypto User Interaction

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Coinbase Wallet, a prominent self-custody cryptocurrency wallet, has announced the launch of a direct messaging feature that allows users to interact with each other on the platform. The company shared this information exclusively with TechCrunch. Previously, Coinbase Wallet enabled users to buy and sell cryptocurrencies, bridge digital assets across networks, collect non-fungible tokens (NFTs), and connect with web3 and blockchain-based websites and applications.

The availability of Coinbase Wallet spans over 100 countries worldwide according to the company’s Q1 2023 shareholder letter. This global accessibility allows people to send funds across borders through a single application instead of relying on traditional wire transfers between banks, which often involve waiting for days for the funds to be processed.

The introduction of direct messaging in Coinbase Wallet brings several benefits. NFT and POAP (Proof of Attendance Protocol) holders will have the ability to connect with others who own the same assets by directly messaging their address. This opens up opportunities for new connections that might otherwise have been missed. Additionally, if someone is interested in purchasing an NFT, they can message the owner directly and potentially strike a deal.

Initially, the messaging feature will be rolled out to the Lens protocol community. However, anyone can gain access by scanning QR codes of active users. Each inbox in Coinbase Wallet is connected to a single wallet address, allowing users with multiple crypto wallet addresses to have multiple inboxes.

Coinbase plans to incorporate messaging as a built-in feature when creating new wallets in the future. However, there is no specific timeline available for the implementation of this feature for all customers.

The encrypted messaging in Coinbase Wallet will be powered by XMTP, an open-source messaging network. The inbox will be portable, meaning it can be transferred across applications and will retain past messages, interactions, payments, and profiles. Chats from other applications using XMTP can also be imported into Coinbase Wallet.

Co-founder and CEO of XMTP, Shane Mac, described the encrypted messaging as a fully private inbox within Coinbase Wallet, similar to platforms like WhatsApp or Telegram. He emphasized the portability and interoperability of this feature since users can take their messages with them when switching between different messaging platforms.

Director of product management at Coinbase, Siddharth Coelho-Prabhu, highlighted the convenience and security provided by unified messaging and transaction capabilities within a single app. Users can verify balances and transactions while ensuring they are communicating with the correct individuals.

Regarding security, XMTP’s encryption ensures that neither XMTP nor Coinbase Wallet can access a user’s messages unless they possess the individual’s private keys required to decrypt the messages. Coinbase Wallet also provides warnings to users on how to protect themselves and intends to integrate additional transaction protections over time. Additionally, wallet holders have the ability to block malicious accounts, decentralized apps (dApps), and NFTs.

This integration of direct messaging within Coinbase Wallet represents a significant development for the cryptocurrency ecosystem. Previously, crypto wallets primarily served as tools for buying, holding, trading, and transferring cryptocurrencies without offering communication functionalities. This new feature eliminates the need for third-party messaging platforms when interacting with others in the crypto space.

Coelho-Prabhu envisions two main adoption scenarios: one where people seek more trustworthy interactions for sending funds securely and another where early crypto adopters want to connect with creators, leaders, and like-minded individuals in the ecosystem. He believes that the ability to communicate under this paradigm, even without involving crypto transactions, is a novel concept.

Mac added that owning one’s communication can be more impactful than owning assets. The introduction of messaging in Coinbase Wallet aims to provide users with a convenient, secure, and unified experience that enhances their interaction within the cryptocurrency space.