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Plaid gets into crypto with Wallet Onboard

Oct 20, 2022
Illustration of a pixelated coin sticking out of a pixelated wallet.

Illustration: Megan Robinson/Axios

Plaid, the banking connectivity startup used by fintechs and traditional financial institutions alike, is getting into the crypto game with the launch of a new product aimed at decentralized app (dApp) developers.

Why it matters: The initiative is focused on the decentralized finance (DeFi) sector, but positions Plaid to potentially bridge the divide between web3 developers and the traditional finance (TradFi) world.

How it works: The new product, called Wallet Onboard, was built to help dApp makers connect with more than 300 different ethereum wallets through a single SDK integration.

  • Similar to the company’s flagship Plaid Link product, Wallet Onboard will allow consumers to choose from a dynamic dropdown of available wallets and link them to participating web3 apps.
  • The product supports wallets across browser plugins, mobile apps, in-wallet browsers, hardware wallets, MPC wallets, and more.
  • “These dApp developers can either do all of the work themselves to integrate with 10 different protocols and smooth over differences across hundreds of wallets, or they can actually just build an integration once,” Plaid crypto product lead Clay Allsopp says.

Between the lines: This initiative is focused on reaching the DeFi audience of users and developers.

  • Plaid has connected to various centralized exchanges and companies that offer crypto trading, such as Binance.US, Robinhood, Gemini, and SoFi.
  • The next step for the company is creating more of a bridge between the TradFi world and its DeFi counterpart.
  • "Some of our traditional customers either want to connect to self-custody wallets, or they want the address of self-custody wallets," Allsopp says.
  • The first implementation will be with finance management software products that allow users to track spending and investment across traditional banks, brokerages, and now self-custody crypto wallets.

Of note: Just as Plaid doesn’t collect any personal banking information while connecting accounts in the web 2 world, its web3 product will not track wallet addresses or hashed information during the wallet-linking process.

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