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Privy launches to ease onboarding to consumer crypto apps

source-logo  blockworks.co 22 February 2024 15:26, UTC

Privy, a platform offering developer libraries to ease onboarding into crypto, has opened to the public.

The platform offers streamlined onboarding flows and wallet management for Web3 apps. It integrated with consumer crypto apps including Zora, OpenSea, friend.tech and Blackbird in its gated access stage.

The platform has notable backing: Sequoia led its 2022 seed round, and Paradigm led its $18 million Series A round last year.

Privy creates tools developers can integrate to make their Web3 onboarding more user-friendly. Users can sign up for an app with an email address and have a wallet created behind the scenes — something OpenSea debuted as part of its reinvigoration plan late last year.

Among other features, Privy offers embedded wallets that run natively within apps so that users don’t have to rely on external clients like MetaMask or Coinbase Wallet.

Privy manages the wallets and keeps them secure through Shamir’s secret sharing, where the cryptographic keys securing a wallet are split up and only recombined when the user signs in. Privy CEO Henri Stern told Blockworks that he stands by his product’s security features, but he’s agnostic as to whether apps should make use of the embedded wallet.

Instead of subjecting users to a software “purity test,” Stern said, “you should find what is right for your audience as an app builder and build something that feels really native and special to them instead of forcing them to sort of pencil their way into the shape of your stack.”

Privy hopes to help clear the historical consumer crypto app roadblock of poor or inaccessible UX. The once-popular social media app friend.tech required users to have a crypto wallet to sign up, and some users complained of an occasionally buggy interface, for instance.

This is part of the reason that despite all the development on blockchain infrastructure, crypto apps — particularly consumer apps — have been slow to materialize.

Read more: The crypto infrastructure is here, but where are the apps?

Stern said when the startup was raising its Series A round six months ago, one of the slides in its pitch desk asked, “Does crypto really need more infrastructure?”

But Stern said he believes crypto is leaving its “infrastructure era” and entering its “app era.” This is part of the reason Privy chose this moment to open up its product.

“I feel like for the first time there’s real momentum behind consumer products in crypto,” Stern said.