Coinbase Wallet has announced a new feature that allows users to send instant messages to each other using their Ethereum identities. The feature utilizes the Extensible Message Transport Protocol (XMTP), a blockchain-based instant messaging system also used by Lens, a decentralized social media network. According to Coinbase, select wallet users can now send messages to each other’s cb.id, .eth, or Lens usernames. The rollout has begun with users who scan a QR code from the blog post or who own Lens profiles, and will eventually be accessible to all users. Messages are end-to-end encrypted for privacy, and users have the ability to block unwanted addresses.
One of the key motivations behind this feature is to combat fraud within the crypto community. By enabling users to send messages directly to wallet address owners, there is no longer a need to rely on separate messaging platforms where the recipient’s Web3 identity may not be verifiable. This move aims to eliminate unnecessary risks and potential losses associated with fraudulent activities.
Reducing Centralization and Ensuring Data Transferability
Coinbase highlights that using XMTP for messaging helps reduce centralization. Even if Coinbase discontinues its wallet service or ceases to exist, users can still retain their XMTP chat histories and access them through other XMTP apps like Lenster or OrbApp. This ensures that users can continue building connections and maintaining their conversations seamlessly. According to XMTP documents, the messaging protocol currently operates on a network owned entirely by its developer, XMTP Labs. However, the company is actively working towards a phased decentralization of the network.
XMTP co-founder Shane Mac emphasizes the importance of decentralization and interoperability. He clarifies that XMTP is not a social media or instant messaging app itself, but rather a protocol that other applications, such as Coinbase Wallet and Lens, can utilize. This approach allows users to choose the app they prefer without sacrificing their identities or chat histories if they decide to switch applications. Mac emphasizes the need for incentivizing developers to build on top of XMTP and create an open and interconnected network, rather than closed and isolated systems.
Advancements in Web3 Usernames Drive Adoption
Coinbase Wallet has been actively involved in promoting the adoption of Web3 usernames. In September, the platform offered free cb.id usernames to all users, resulting in a surge in registrations. Web3 usernames enable users to send cryptocurrencies to human-readable names instead of long and complex strings of characters representing crypto addresses. This simplifies the user experience and makes transactions more user-friendly.
Coinbase Wallet’s integration of instant messaging using XMTP aims to enhance communication within the crypto community while reducing the risk of fraud. The feature provides a decentralized approach, ensuring data transferability even if the platform ceases to exist. This move aligns with the growing adoption of Web3 usernames, simplifying crypto transactions for users. With these advancements, the crypto community can enjoy improved communication and a more user-centric experience.