Norwegian web browser Opera launches fintech “Dify” in beta
Opera, a freeware web browser founded in Norway, is launching its very own fintech called “Dify” in a bid to take on Europe’s financial industry.
The software firm, founded back in 1995, has made two fintech-focused acquisitions and joined the Emerging Payments Association (EPA) in the last year.
Its acquisitions cover both business-to-customer (B2C) and business-to- business (B2B) plays.
In January 2020, it bought Estonian Banking-as-a-Service (BaaS) start-up Pocosys, which serves customers across Japan, Ghana and the UK.
In July, it announced its plans to acquire Lithuania-based Fjord Bank, which it bought a 9.9% stake in a few months earlier. It’s unclear whether regulators have approved the acquisition of the remaining 90.1% as no reports confirm they have.
But Opera’s acquisition streak hasn’t stopped at fintech. Last month, it bought Scottish gaming developer YoYo Games off Playtech for $10 million.
Vision behind Dify
The launch of Dify focuses on serving Opera’s 50 million European browser users with an in-browser cashback service. The software firm claims a much larger 380 monthly active users worldwide.
Spain is the first country Dify will launch, where its beta is currently live. It will see Spanish users able to shop online, with purchases linking to an app, “Dify Wallet”, which clocks purchases and calculates cashback. Partner retailers include Nike, ASOS and eDreams.
Because of Opera’s acquisitions in the last year, it can also offer users a current account, and a free virtual debit card issued by Mastercard which is Google Pay-enabled.
In December 2019, Fjord Bank landed a specialised bank licence from the European Central Bank (ECB).
“With Dify, we are making the browser and a superior wallet work better, together, to improve users’ shopping experience and also make it financially rewarding,” explains Krystian Kolondra.
Kolondra is Opera’s executive vice president for browsers and also heads up its fintech operations in the European Economic Area (EEA).
In the future, Opera’s wants to flesh out services around its wallet. It mentions savings management, credit, investment opportunities and instant cashback as key areas of growth.
Opera’s early moves in cryptocurrency
In 2018, Opera released a built-in cryptocurrency wallet to its browser. Users can also shop with, send and receive cryptocurrency via the wallet.
The wallet can also integrate with Ethereum Web3 API. This integration provides access to a host of decentralised web apps on Ethereum’s network.
In March 2020, Opera updated its Android browser so users can access unofficial “.crypto” domains, primarily to exchange cryptocurrency.
The update was significant for Opera in the wider context of search engine competition. This is because “.crypto” does not exist in the global domain name system, and is not recognised by DNS overseer ICANN.