Cryptocurrencies remain firmly in the domain of those with technical knowledge and an understanding of blockchain technologies, crypto exchanges, and wallet addresses.
If cryptocurrencies are going to go mainstream, the industry needs to provide solutions that are as simple to use – and easy to understand – as a credit card.
And today, ZenGo has announced two additions (one coming next week) to its app that are making that future much more possible.
ZenGo is a cryptocurrency wallet app for Android and Apple that is trying to make the whole process of owning various crypto tokens as simple as your regular banking app.
Founded in 2018 in Tel Aviv, the team that created ZenGo believed that while there are a lot of crypto wallets on the market, they were all far too complicated or too insecure to be capable of mainstream adoption.
“We wanted to reduce dramatically the number of steps, errors, and hacks it takes to get from ‘zero to crypto’,” ZenGo CEO and cofounder Ouriel Ohayon told me. “All the other options on the market are either way too complicated or too insecure because they force the user into a security model they cannot handle easily (the back up of long passphrase).”
As it stands, many people don’t hold their digital assets in a wallet at all. For many, it is common to buy and sell tokens and hold them, in exchanges such as BitStamp, Emirex, and Kraken, to name just three.
But for the regular consumer, buying and selling cryptocurrencies within a stock trading-like platform is confusing and complicated. Worse still, if someone gets access to your login details, or if the exchange is hacked (as has happened countless times), you can lose your investment.
This is where wallets come in. If you’re holding your tokens on your own device, protected with biometric security such as a fingerprint or faceprint, it is more secure than holding those assets on an exchange.
Hardware wallets exist, and some are designed to be easier to use, but it is fair to say that a regular consumer is going to find it hard to understand how they work, and if it is even too difficult for those in the tech industry to grasp, you can be sure that these solutions aren’t going to become mainstream for a long time.
ZenGo is different because it stores private keys on both your device and its servers, secured by a biometric faceprint. The company partnered with FaceTec’ ZoOm technology to create a biometric login that verifies your identity, licenses, and three-dimensionality. In other words, it can’t be unlocked by a photo of your face, or you’re showing no signs of life.
Once you’ve set up your ZenGo wallet, which is a quick and painless process, you can see your current balance, buy tokens (including Bitcoin, Ethereum, Basic Attention Token, Dai, and many more), manage your account, and more.
Buying a token such as Bitcoin through ZenGo is painless, and currently uses MoonPay to process the payment and purchase the tokens. Because it is going through MoonPay, the spread is a little on the large side, which means you will lose a little of your money in price differences and fees, but it’s not as bad as some token purchasing options I’ve seen.
One intriguing addition to the ZenGo app is the ability to grow your crypto by earning compound interest on tokens such as Tezos and Dai. At the time of writing, buying Tezos through the app is showing a 5.82 percent annual return, which is better than most bank savings account rates.
While that’s a great feature, until today’s announcement, you had to purchase each token separately through ZenGo in order to take advantage. For example, if you had $500 of Bitcoin in your ZenGo wallet, you couldn’t just swap $250 of that to Tezos to take advantage of the compound interest.
Today, ZenGo has announced that from next week you’ll be able to swap tokens, which certainly makes the app even more attractive.
In addition to that announcement, ZenGo has also formed a partnership with Coinmama today that brings keyless transactions to the app.
When you send and receive crypto, you do so by entering a long text string that represents the wallet address. While QR codes do automate the entry of that code, it is sometimes not possible to use them on every device, and even copying and pasting codes can lead to errors.
Coinmama users can now onboard crypto without the need to ever handle that long string of characters. The integration allows users to go, after a quick registration form, from fiat to crypto stored in their ZenGo wallet in a few taps without any copy-pasting or QR code scanning.
Coinmama currently serves around 2 million users, all of whom can now securely store their assets in a ZenGo wallet.
The only downside of ZenGo to this point has been the inability to withdraw the funds held in tokens to your bank, but that is on the roadmap.
“It’s being developed as we speak,” Ohayon said. “It should be available in the next eight weeks.”
ZenGo does offer a compelling solution to the problem of bringing cryptocurrencies to the masses, and while it does still have a couple of shortfalls, those are being solved both next week – with the announcement of the token swap feature – and in the near future. Maybe it’s time for everyone to finally start buying, selling, sending, receiving, and holding cryptocurrencies after all.