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Blockchain: Opera’s Android Web Browser Adds Access to.Crypto Domains for 80M Users

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From a technical standpoint, the integration marks an intriguing if obscure milestone for Opera. (Image via bangoland / Shutterstock)

Blockchain: Opera’s Android Web Browser Adds Access to .Crypto Domains for 80M Users

Opera’s Android browser – the “blockchain-ready” web surfing app – added support on Monday for Unstoppable Domains’ decentralized .crypto websites.

The partnership grants Unstoppable Domains’ 200,000 registered .crypto domains an immediate inroad into Opera’s 80 million-strong user base. That means they can access Unstoppable’s Ethereum smart contract-registered, InterPlanetary File System-stored (IPFS) websites without leaving the browser address bar.

“It makes them a lot more useful,” Unstoppable Domains founder Brad Kam said of the .crypto domains. Previously, web users needed either Unstoppable’s eponymous browser or a Google Chrome extension to access such sites. 

From a technical standpoint, the integration marks an intriguing milestone for Opera, which started browsing .coms, .nets, .orgs and others over 26 years ago. Standard browsers get sites’ IP addresses from Domain Name System (DNS) servers, the internet’s near-universal equivalent of a phone book. But there’s no DNS entry for .crypto, according to Unstoppable.

Kam explained that Opera’s integrated browser uses a fundamentally different process to access .cryptos sites. That’s because .crypto domains scatter their web content across IPFS’ distributed host network and store the content locators – IPFS hashes – in Ethereum smart contracts.

“When I view a website, the browser is looking up the Ethereum blockchain itself in order to find my website content, instead of looking it up on the DNS servers,” Kam said in an email to CoinDesk.

He compared decentralized IPFS storage to Amazon Web Services’ global server network, but said IPFS’ reliance on distributed computers instead of a single corporate entity’s servers make .crypto websites censorship resistant. 

“You have lots of copies, so there’s no one person or one group to ask to take it down,” he said. “Even if one or multiple people decide to take it down, someone else will still have it.”

Opera said in a press release it partnered with IPFS’ developer Protocol Labs for the integration. 

The browser provider said Monday it has also expanded Opera for Android’s cryptocurrency purchasing feature to the entire European Union, Australia, New Zealand, Mexico and Switzerland. 

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