New Foundation to Focus on Crypto Wallet Interoperability

Today, November 26, 2018, marks the launch of the Foundation for Interwallet Operability (FIO) and the FIO Protocol, an interwallet protocol that seeks to make the transfer of cryptos between wallets as simple and straightforward as making transfers on PayPal.

"In the crypto world payments are exponentially more complex and cumbersome," said David Gold, CEO of Dapix, a founding member of FIO. "Crypto payments feel too risky, too scary and too difficult for members of the public. You have to use an incoherent string of characters, and you can't confirm if funds have arrived. The average person on the street simply will never feel comfortable using crypto unless this changes."

The FIO Protocol is intended to birth a range of features including cross-chain counterparty metadata, enabling transaction statuses within crypto wallets, the provision of a single cross-chain wallet name that's hard to forget and more.

Gold, in an email correspondence with Bitcoin Magazine , argues that "decentralized blockchain transactions" need to be easier and "less risky than fiat transactions."

He said, "Users need to have greater confidence that their blockchain transactions are accurate before they commit to sending. This challenge can't be solved by an individual wallet or exchange as it lies at the interface between all of them. The FIO Protocol is an industry-led, decentralized solution that will enable easy-to-use and virtually error-free transactions between any wallet or exchange."

Gold, who spent 11 years as the managing director of tech VC firm Access Venture Partners, believes mainstream adoption of cryptocurrencies will be severely limited unless it becomes easier to move them around.

To make sure crypto payments are as easy to transfer as payments on PayPal, the FIO Protocol will leverage a standardized layer of connectivity and usability features that crypto businesses such as wallet providers and exchanges can use.

The FIO Protocol will focus on three core areas. First, it will create FIO addresses: sets of human-readable, universal-wallet or centralized-exchange account names that are universally compatible with every token.

Second, it will establish enhanced FIO workflow options for transactions, including error-free, request-initiated transactions so that users can send a payment request from one wallet address to another.

Finally, the protocol will focus on FIO data functionality, enabling "the first cross token/coin metadata … the ability for a note or even a full order cart to be included with a payment or a payment request securely and privately from one wallet to another."

Gold went further to state that the protocol is not a "closed party." Anyone can take part in the protocol's efforts to make the user-friendliness of transfers on the blockchain "improve drastically" so that the technology can achieve its potential.

So far, the protocol has been backed by six leading crypto wallets and exchanges, which have agreed to join the Foundation when it launches, according to a statement. These include ShapeShift, KeepKey, Coinomi and others. The startup plans to test the protocol during the first quarter of 2019 with the crypto firms that have signed up.

"Crypto payments must improve if this technology is going to expand. FIO's approach - decentralized, cross-chain, and with financial incentives to adopt - is exciting, and we're thrilled to support it," said Erik Voorhees, founder and CEO of ShapeShift.

Once launched, the protocol will offer standardized open-source APIs and SDKs that can be globally integrated into any crypto wallet or exchange easily.

According to Gold, crypto users won't have to deal with long stringed public encryption keys when sending digital assets. The protocol won't sit in the middle of the underlying transactions on the blockchain; rather, it would send "information and confirmations that better enable the sending of value on all other blockchains."

The views and opinions expressed herein are the views and opinions of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Nasdaq, Inc.

The views and opinions expressed herein are the views and opinions of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Nasdaq, Inc.

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