Airbitz has been well known in cryptocurrency circles since its inception, thanks to a unique and incredibly private approach to security in its mobile wallet. While other Bitcoin wallets decided to go with a more centralized approach that requires users to give up their privacy through allowing a third party – the wallet company – access to private information and even the private keys to their assets, Airbitz took a novel approach that avoided server side security in favor of client side security.
This has made it a popular choice among seasoned Bitcoin users and newbies alike since 2013.
Airbitz was founded as a Bitcoin only mobile wallet in 2013 by Paul Puey, Scott Morgan, Tim Horton, William Swanson, and Damian Cutillo in San Diego California, which remains its headquarters until today. From its inception, the core concept behind the Airbitz wallet was its unique way of securing users private information. Utilizing a client side model that was vastly different from the popular centralized server side approach put Airbitz into a class of its own.
Airbitz chose to go with their client side security model knowing how susceptible a server side approach was to a large scale data breach that could result in the compromise of personal information for thousands if not hundreds of thousands or millions of their customers. This risk sent the Airtbitz founders looking in a different direction for a security model that skirted the edges of the traditional Bitcoin wallets.
Now, five years later the Airbitz team continues living at the bleeding edge of development in cryptocurrencies, and blockchain security, which led them to rebrand the company as “Edge” in October 2017. The newly rebranded Edge has plans to continue innovating in blockchain security, delivering products to users that gives them better control over their private data.
The Edge Wallet (formerly Airbitz)
The very first of the services being offered by Edge is a re-launch of the popular Airbitz wallet as the Edge wallet. The re-launched wallet includes a new modular technology that will allow the wallet to interact with any existing digital asset, freeing users further from the need to depend on a variety of centralized solutions. Additionally, plugin support has been added to the Edge wallet, which will allow developers to support and create for the wallet in any number of ways. Finally, the Edge wallet is integrated with ShapeShift technology, allowing for an easy and seamless experience converting one digital asset to another right within the wallet, without the need for an outside centralized exchange.
At its launch the Edge wallet had support for Bitcoin, Bitcoin Cash, Litecoin, Ethereum, Wings, Augur REP, and Matryx. It also fully supports Bitcoin and Litecoin SegWit transactions. Download Edge wallet for Android, or Edge Wallet for iOS.
Ease of Use
As was the case with the Airbitz wallet, the Edge team has also put heavy emphasis on making a user-friendly wallet, while still retaining the security that Airbitz became famous for. Downloading the wallet, creating an account, and getting started with the wallet will only take a minute or two. All that’s required is a username, password and PIN. No other personal information is asked for or required.
And if something happens and you need to restore the Edge wallet, that’s just as easy. You simply install the Edge wallet on your new device, and then enter your username and password. Presto! You’re back in your wallet and everything will be exactly as it was on your old device.
As soon as you log in for the first time you’ll be ready to receive any of the supported cryptocurrencies, or exchange cryptocurrencies you’ve transferred to the wallet using the built-in ShapeShift integration. It really doesn’t get much easier.
The Edge User Interface
The Edge wallet interface was designed to be user-friendly and you’ll find it to be sleek, simple and easy to navigate. There’s little in the way of technical details, and just four main sections to the wallet: Wallets, Exchange, Send and Request. This slim design makes it easy to find what you need without having to drill down through numerous menu levels.
The main Wallet screen will let you manage your tokens, add new wallet, or backup your seeds. On the Send screen you’re able to send any coins you have, and it also features an option to adjust the miners fee, so you’re in control of how fast or slow your transaction is verified on the network. No rush? Set the miners fee lower. Need it right away? Go with the highest miners fee to try and get your transaction in the next block.
Probably the most useful feature in the new design is the integration with ShapeShift. This allows you to trade coins without the hassle of using an exchange. It’s all handled right within the Edge wallet, and you’re able to switch cryptocurrencies in just a few steps.
Mobile devices and mobile wallets are well known as some of the least secure places to store your cryptocurrencies. If you have a large amount of Bitcoin, or need long term storage, mobile wallets, even the Edge wallet, are not the way to go. Even the Edge team suggests you only use their wallet for small amounts of coins, typically what you might need to spend for the day or over a weekend.
While having the ability to restore your wallet with just your username and password on another device is certainly convenient, it is also a security hole that can allow a bad actor to access your wallet. End users are notorious for creating easy to guess credentials, or use the same credentials across multiple accounts on the internet. This makes it easy to remember these credentials, but it also makes a security breach at another site a potential security threat for your Edge wallet.
One notable feature of using the Edge wallet is that you’ll never lose access to your funds. Because nothing is stored on their servers it won’t even matter if the servers are down, or if the company ceases to exist. You’ll always be able to retrieve your coins.
If you find yourself in need of a more secure way to store your Bitcoin a hardware wallet such as the Trezor is always a good option.
Making Dapps Usable through Edge
Security has always been the number one concern for Airbitz, and it remains that way with Edge. The company is well aware of the need for secure and decentralized methods for using the latest Web 3.0 applications. Thanks to the development of decentralized blockchain applications, also known as Dapps, and because private keys are becoming increasingly popular, Edge has the potential for making applications secure, but still accessible.
Edge is doing this through a Security Software Development Kit (SDK), that will allow users to authenticate funds in Dapps that support the use of the SDK. This opens up the possibility of opening partner apps like Augur and Wings by simply scanning a barcode or QR code. Once scanned a user would be able to manage their funds directly in the Dapp, saving the cumbersome step of copy/pasting everything between the wallet and Dapp.
Edge Customer Support
In a world of poor support for many things related to cryptocurrencies, the support team at Edge is a breath of fresh air. You can see this over at the Google Play Store, where every request for help is met with a reply from the Edge Support Team. Not only do responses give users a solution, they also include an email address to contact if the user has additional questions or problems.
You’ll also find an FAQ section on the Airbitz website with answers to common questions, as well as a support section on the newer Edge website. Most customer support reviews online speak of the fast response, and actual care given to them by the Edge customer support team.
The recent rebrand of Airbitz to Edge shows the level of commitment of the development team to improving the wallet and services offered. In addition, Edge has been pursuing partnerships with other companies to encourage the use of Bitcoin. For example, if you use Bitcoin through Edge you can get a 20% discount at Target and Starbucks.
It’s also secure as far as mobile wallets go, and I like the fact that your private keys and any private information is never held on their servers. Plus you’ll always have access to your funds, even if the company goes out of business and their servers are taken permanently offline. Of course for large amounts of cryptocurrency you’ll want a more secure solution.
The integration with ShapeShift is a great feature for making quick exchanges, although it would be nice if the wallet supported more coins. Integrating with Augur and Wings Dapps is another plus for the Edge, and the great reviews for the customer support team is definitely a feather in the Edge cap.
If you want a streamlined, easy to use mobile wallet that adds the power of ShapeShift and integration to interact with Dapps, the Edge is a good choice that we hope will only continue getting better as time goes on.
They also offer quick and easy solution to send money to business, some of which may offer an additional discount. For people interested in having a wallet that’s easy to work with and streamline for simple real-world use, Edge wallet may be a reliable solution.