The biggest online crypto wallet has, for the first time since it was launched back in 2011, added another currency besides bitcoin, ethereum.
“We’re excited to announce that as of today, our users can seamlessly store, send, and receive ether on both iOS and Android,” the company said.
They are somewhat fully integrating eth, but you can not send them to a smart contract and you can not send eth based tokens. They say:
“If you receive any of these tokens to your Blockchain wallet you will not be able to send them or see the balance of the tokens while logged into your wallet.
Since you have complete control over your funds you are able to export the private key for your ethereum address and import it into any other ethereum wallet that supports ERC20 tokens.”
The online wallet was bitcoin’s first, somewhat secure way, of storing btc. Secure not in that it can’t be hacked. There have been many reports of btc vanishing from blockchain.info.
But secure in that you retain control of the private keys. When bitcoin is held on exchanges, you basically have no control over it at all save for legal recourse such as contract breaches.
The bitcoin on exchanges is in effect an IOU, a number on their database which might or might not reflect a bitcoin if they are acting as a fractional reserve.
On blockchain.info it’s slightly different because you don’t actually give them the bitcoin, so retaining the private keys, with the company just providing an easier way for you to store them while maintaining somewhat full control.
That means all the other usual problems still apply. If someone knows your password, your private keys, or if they somehow gain access, or if the company is using less secure crypto, etc, your account can be hacked.
But it would be just your account, or a group of accounts. Unlike in exchanges, where it would be sort of everyone dependent on how the exchange stores the eth or btc.
It is, therefore, somewhat better in some ways. Although it does still have problems and a hardware wallet would probably be the best way as far as we know so far.
However, it’s addition of eth is very welcomed by ethereans, who have begun a meme of sorts as illustrated by the following comment:
“Another awesome news for my beloved ETH. It means another price down swing for ETH. Please no more good news for Ethereum!”
They have stolen it from bitcoin, which had that joke running for much of 2014. But instead of down, eth is really much more sideways. Just as the currency continues to increase in adoption, transaction numbers, new projects, nice upgrades, and so on.