The EOS ecosystem received an important addition this week thanks to Block.one and EOSIO Labs. On Wednesday, the Universal Authenticator Library, or UAL, was released, providing users with a unified way to access blockchain-based dApps. This means that you will be able to use participating EOS apps with most major EOS wallets.
How UAL Works
EOS offers plenty of dApps that you can use. However, any given dApp may not support the wallet that you store your EOS tokens in. Normally, developers must program their app to support multiple wallets. UAL makes this process much easier, as developers only need to add a few lines of code if they want to support a particular wallet.
For app users, the end result will look familiar. If an app or a website uses UAL, it will present you with a list of compatible wallets. This is similar to the combined sign-in forms that you have probably seen elsewhere on the web—the ones that allow you to log in with Google, or log in with Facebook, and so on.
Currently, only a few EOS wallets are compatible with UAL. Supported wallets include Scatter Desktop, Lynx, Ledger, and TokenPocket. However, EOSIO Labs predicts that many more wallets will become compatible with UAL in the future. Support for new wallets can be added by wallet developers or by the community.
UAL is not the only project of its type. A similar tool called Transit API is also available to EOS app developers. Meanwhile, TBML, which plans to support cryptocurrency in general, is also in its early stages. Although the details of each project are different, they all have the same goal: to provide a single, standardized interface for users.
If these standardization efforts are successful, they are likely to attract more users to blockchain applications. As EOSIO explains, it is important that users are able to use their preferred wallet with any app. Whenever users make a choice, they convey their ideal user experience, and providing a familiar and standard experience help drives adoption.
The Complexities of Wallets
As EOSIO notes, crypto wallets are more than just wallets, as they don’t simply store cryptocurrency. Wallets must also authenticate access to blockchain apps and services. A wide variety of software does this, and as EOSIO notes, crypto wallets might be more accurately described as “authenticators.”
Perhaps this takes things too far. EOSIO says that it plans to use the term “authenticator” instead of “wallet” in the future. Although this may technically be more descriptive, it seems unlikely to catch on—in everyday language, wallets will almost certainly continue to be called wallets.
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