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Our work on global embedded wallets

Henri Stern

|

Dec 19, 2023

At Privy, we work to enable a product design space where developers can craft branded, delightful apps in which users retain control over their assets and data and the freedom to do with them what they please.

Today, we are excited to talk about our work on global embedded wallets. This means enabling users to easily access embedded wallets across the apps they use.

This work has been central to Privy’s mission from the outset and is an area we’ve been actively exploring since we onboarded our first customer. In the coming months, we’ll start to roll out global embedded wallets to customers: if you’re interested in early access, we’d love to talk with you.

Crypto’s superpowers

Crypto gives developers and users two core features: self-custody and interoperability.

  • Self-custody means users are the only ones who can access and use the cryptographic keys that secure their accounts. It ensures that they are in control over their data and assets no matter what the platform they are on does.

  • Interoperability is a user’s ability to carry assets and data across apps. This makes it easier for developers to compose experiences from diverse systems which build upon one another.

Let’s take a simple example– say a user earns an asset on app X:

  • Self-custody means X cannot remove the asset from the user’s account arbitrarily.

  • Interoperability means the user can sell the asset on app Y without needing X and Y to coordinate.

Together, these features can unlock novel experiences on the web—provided we can make them easy enough to use.

Global embedded wallets

We want to help align developer and user interests on the web. We do this by simplifying onboarding and UX of self-custodial systems, including with embedded wallets.

With our first launch, we focused on the UX of self-custody with the embedded wallet – and, in kind, designed them to be app-specific. This lets developers enable more contextual experiences for their users, simplifying much of the complexity around using wallets (gas fees, network switching, etc). But launching app-specific embedded wallets was always just the first step for us. Today, we’re excited to talk about the next step: improving interoperability with global embedded wallets.

Simply put, a user logging into app A should be able to access their data and assets by logging into app B.

Sounds easy enough, right? Obviously, it isn’t.

Balancing developer and user power safely requires immense care. App-specific wallets have a constrained threat model in that they affect a single app at a time, while the user is given an escape hatch (such as it is) to take assets elsewhere.

Enabling native cross-app usage of embedded wallets requires far greater care. Threat models in a multi-app context are much more complex since a developer’s actions affect users across the apps they have interacted with. But this model unlocks deep benefits for users and developers alike, like:

  • Easier on-ramps—no need to onramp assets again after doing it once.

  • Simple asset visibility—enable devs to view assets across all apps used.

  • Secure asset composability—enable users to act on their assets across apps.

Over the coming months, we will be rolling out global embedded with select partners. If you’re interested in working with us on this or think this would be useful to your product, please reach out at [email protected]—we’d love to talk.

A few closing thoughts

Client diversity is a fact of life in crypto. Whether looking to use a consumer wallet, embedded wallet system, or an account abstraction kit, developers and users have plenty of options to choose from. This is a good thing. It also means there are no silver bullets for interoperability: every provider creates fragmentation of the user experience.

Global embedded wallets play a big role in this story but they are not the end. Interoperability must be maintained across infrastructure providers. We will continue to invest in standardization efforts for the space and better escape hatches for users.

We’ve been waiting a long time to kick off this work with our customers and we’re excited to start today! More soon (™). We’re excited to see you on the open road.

Team Privy

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