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eToro Launches Cryptocurrency Management Mobile App

Multi-asset brokerage eToro has launched an application for their users to store their Bitcoin and other cryptos on their mobile phones.The software sounds a lot like a cryptocurrency wallet – only its entirely permissioned, isn’t open-source, and doesn’t allow users to access their private key or seed phrases.eToro “Wallet” Entirely Misses Point of CryptoAccording to a press release, the social trading platform has today launched a cryptocurrency wallet.However, the software misses some key features that make its labelling as a wallet problematic. It more closely resembles a mobile eToro account management suite. Absent, amongst other things, is private key generation that only the user can see.Once fully live, eToro customers can use the software to receive one of the four supported cryptocurrencies. This selection of Bitcoin, Bitcoin Cash, Ethereum, and Litecoin will be expanded in the future.Eventually, there are plans to allow the transfer of cryptocurrencies to and from the platform, as well as allowing fiat deposits, and a host of other features. The eToro wallet is available now for both Google Play and Apple devices.Yoni Assia, the CEO at eToro, spoke about how the launch of the application fit in with the wider societal transformation underway thanks to cryptocurrency:“Blockchain has the potential to revolutionise finance and we believe that we will see the greatest transfer of wealth ever onto the blockchain… Just as eToro has opened up traditional markets for investors, we want to do the same in a tokenised world. The eToro wallet is a key part of this.”The launch of eToro’s latest software is being staggered to “ensure the best customer experience for clients.” This will be done on a country-by-country and functionality basis. Initially, for example, only Platinum Club (high depositing) members will be able to use the function to transfer their eToro balances to the wallet.Unfortunately, eToro’s digital asset storage suite software seems to largely miss the point of cryptocurrency. Firstly, the firm is touting the fact that users do not need to be responsible for their own private keys as a strength:“No need to write and save keys or phrases. No need to be worried about losing them. eToro secures the private key. It just works.”This is of course problematic since one of the most liberating aspects of permissionless blockchains is the fact that there needs be no trust in any central entity. Evidently, eToro are appealing to a class of users who are more interested in percentage gains than they are redressing the imbalances of society through democratisation of money itself.In the press release, the term “multi-signature” is also used. This also feels like a coy way of presenting the software as entirely permissioned. Multi-signature is, of course, a way of increasing wallet security.However, if the two parties signing are yourself and a massive honey-pot for hackers, the eToro wallet presents a far greater attack surface than even traditional single signature desktop applications.Large centralised institutions have been hacked many times before and they will be again. Those wanting to store any amount of cryptocurrency should research hot and cold open-source wallets and use whichever suits their purposes rather than the services provided by the likes of eToro.Featured image from Shutterstock.

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