As more than 1,200 Bitcoin community members converged on Miami Beach for the first North American Bitcoin conference this past weekend, Andrew Toth, a software engineer from Toronto, Canada, decided to put together an add-on for the Google Chrome browser that can help facilitate Bitcoin payments for new adopters of the virtual currency.
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The add-on, called Bitcoin Wallet, will automatically generate a wallet address for you and allow you to encrypt the wallet with a password. To simplify the payment process, Bitcoin Wallet enables you to send coins by right-clicking on addresses and choosing the “Pay”-option in the context menu. If a site presents a “Pay with Bitcoin”-button, the add-on will create a pop-up with both the address and amount autofilled. The add-on will automatically convert the amount to your currency using bitcoinaverage.com, so that you know exactly how much you are sending.
The add-on gives you all the benefits of a web wallet service, but requires little trust to be placed in any third party. The downside, of course, is that you can only access your coins using the browser you installed the add-on into, unless you have synced your add-ons to your Google account. Toth admits there is a security risk if users do not encrypt their wallets. “The private key is stored in the browser and is also synced with other Chrome browsers,” he says. “However, [...] only the encrypted private key will be stored once encrypted.”
Along with a Reddit post announcing the project, Toth also created a YouTube video and an album with screenshots to demonstrate the add-on and its various features. “I got very interested in Bitcoin in the last 6 months or so and wanted to get involved somehow,” he says. “This seemed like something I could accomplish and would benefit the community.”
While the add-on is not the first of its kind, Toth says he wanted to create an alternative to similar Chrome add-ons, such as SpareCoins and KryptoKit. On Jan. 24, at the Bitcoin conference in Miami, KryptoKit announced a new feature called KryptoDirectory. The directory assembles online retailers and vendors that accept Bitcoin–even through BitPay–into one easy-to-use tab inside the Google Chrome add-on.
Toth says he is going to wait and “see what the feedback is from users” before adding new features, but adds that he plans to clean up the source code and create a project on GitHub so that others can contribute as well.