Can the BRD wallet give Coinbase a run for its crypto?

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Popular crypto service BRD introduced major updates to its app meant to make transactions safer and more convenient for users.

The Switzerland-based crypto wallet recently raised $32 million to build financial services to further develop its rewards program. The wallet holds Bitcoin (BTC), Ethereum (ETH) and Bitcoin Cash (BCH). Fundraising came from a combination of venture capital and a crowdsale.

BRD acquired 40,000 new users during its latest four-week airdrop, a token giveaway, which ended on May 9. This airdrop, BRD’s largest, coincided with the recent app update, codenamed “Augustus,” which introduced an in-wallet crypto trading service that enables users to store, receive and send the top 100 most popular ERC20 tokens. 

ERC20, Ethereum Request for Comments, is the standard protocol within the Ethereum blockchain. This ensures the compatibility between the different token types.

BRD is the first fully decentralized wallet to launch with in-app trading functionality, said Aaron Lasher, co-founder and chief marketing officer at BRD. There are no third-party entities involved in the transaction, compared with the semi-centralized apps where transactions need to go through the server, he added.

Thousands of transactions have been made since the feature went live May 1 on iOs, according to Lasher.

“We started as a bitcoin wallet, but we recognized last year that the future of cryptocurrencies is going to involve many different coins,” Lasher said. “ERC20 tokens are a type of token that lives on the Ethereum network. This is also the most popular token protocol and we chose the top 100 coins as a convenient starting point on the path to be a true multi-asset financial platform.”

Prior to the update, users could send, receive and store cryptocurrencies in the BRD app. But users had to make an external transfer to a crypto exchange before withdrawing funds back to the app. The process is time-consuming and potentially confusing, Lasher said.

Daniel Moore started to use the app when it first launched in 2015. He likes the changes because it makes crypto trading simpler and more convenient within the app, he said.

But he wants more.

“Although the update enables users to trade one cryptocurrency for another, it doesn’t allow them to trade between fiat currencies, such as the U.S. dollar, and cryptocurrencies within the app,” Moore said.

The four-week Augustus airdrop started in mid-April. Each participant could get an award of 30 BRD tokens, the native token of the BRD platform, if they could grab a limited spot by retweeting, joining BRD’s Telegram channel and registering for the airdrop.

BRD was the first cryptocurrency wallet launched on the App Store in 2015 and has $5 to $6 billion in crypto assets held by 1.2 million users in more than 170 countries.

“Augustus” was the first Emperor of Rome. The Roman Empire reference may start a naming convention for BRD to continue using in following releases, Lasher said.

“Rome was an incredible powerhouse and part of a significant advancement in civilization, but the reason that Rome is no longer important today is that they adopted a very poor monetary policy such as clipping coins and adding copper to gold,” said Lasher. “We think that Rome is a great example of what not to do with your money and bitcoin is a great answer for what to do with your money.

“BRD is still in development stage but it bears lots of potential,” said Wally Menjivar, a crypto trader based in California who has been investing in BRD since the initial coin offering (ICO) of the BRD token in December 2017. Menjivar said he expects to get rid of computer trading and only use his phone for all crypto-related transactions, which is not yet fully realized by BRD.

Going forward, investing in ICOs, paying bills and trading between cash and cryptocurrencies are functions that Menjivar wants to see.