Based on pictures taken from a beta version of the browser, Microsoft looks to be testing an integrated bitcoin wallet for Edge. The function was found by Twitter user @thebookisclosed, who has a history of locating current but-disabled features in everything from fresh Windows 11 releases to old Windows Vista betas. The images of the feature claim that it is only intended for internal testing.
When Edge has revived as a Chromium-based browser a few years ago, Microsoft added a number of money and shopping-related functions. After integrating short-term finance with Edge in late 2021, the company encountered criticism.
And as an Edge user, the first thing I do after installing Windows is turn off the countless coupon code, price comparison, and cash-back pop-ups produced by shopping on Microsoft Edge (many settings automatically sync between Edge browsers when you sign in with a Microsoft account; the default search engine and all of these shopping add-ons need to be changed manually every time).
The cryptocurrency wallet can manage many forms of cryptocurrencies, and it is “integrated into Edge, making it easy to use without installing any plugin,” according to the screenshots. Transactions and changes in the value of each of your separate currencies will also be recorded.
The “explore” page provides news articles about cryptocurrencies, and the “assets” tab allows you to adoringly gaze at your NFTs. The passwords and recovery keys that provide you access to your money are “non-custodial” (also known as “self-custodial”), which means that you are solely responsible for them. If you forget your credentials, Microsoft won’t be able to let you back in.
Whether you consider these add-ons to be beneficial, annoying, or predatory depends on your perspective of view. With the ubiquity of crypto frauds, having a “trustworthy” built-in option that doesn’t need the installation of dubious third-party extensions may have some utility.
The functionality may also persuade users who are only passingly interested in cryptocurrencies to start investigating it, despite the fact that it is once again full of scammers.
It’s also another illustration of how Microsoft has integrated a feature other than one that is directly tied to browsing into its web browser. Several of these functions may be turned off, and rival browsers like Chrome and Firefox make an effort to increase value and generate revenue by integrating access to new specialized features and third-party services.
Although Edge is a pre-installed, non-removable component of every Windows 10 and Windows 11 PC, and the operating system frequently urges users to switch to Edge, Microsoft’s actions can nevertheless have an outsize influence that warrants more consideration. After you enter Edge, the browser encourages you to use Bing and other Microsoft services.
Users of Edge may not receive the cryptocurrency wallet from Microsoft because the corporation frequently beta tests new functionality for Windows, Edge, and other products before releasing it to the public.
We’ve reached out to Microsoft for more details, and we’ll update this post if we hear back.