San Francisco based startup Breadwallet has announced that they have officially released their bitcoin wallet on Android, which is now available for download on Google Play.
Breadwallet is bitcoin wallet software that was originally made for Apple iOS devices, and is open source. Wallet users can store, send, and receive bitcoin transactions. BreadWallet is a standalone client, meaning it uses bitcoin SPV to quickly download the blockchain for faster performance.
As previously reported, Breadwallet has been working on an Android version of the wallet and did a beta release a short time ago. In the startup’s latest update, they have now globally released Breadwallet for Android, with the goal of reaching millions of untapped users on the Android platform. To put the numbers into a little perspective, Samsung last year shipped between 71 million and 76 million smartphones, with Android powering the operating system. According to NetMarketShare, Android currently controls 65% of the mobile market share, as shown in the chart below.
It took 2 years for Breadwallet to come to Android
Breadwallet was originally developed for Apple iOS devices because of Apple’s heightened security platform and policies. Apple has always been cautious about the ecosystem they built for the iPhone, and there are benefits to a system in which one entity is in control of everything.
All apps must be digitally signed before they are distributed, which means virus-ridden versions can’t make the rounds, and every app goes through a rigorous review, which prevents malicious or fraudulent apps from appearing in the App Store. More importantly, Apple gave developers access to the iPhone’s hardware-encrypted storage, which means private data can be locked down tight.
Breadwallet has always taken advantage of this and utilized Apple’s security features to the fullest. Breadwallet also made the conscious decision to not develop for Android until similar types of security was available, as they didn’t want to compromise user security at any point.
Since Android Marshmallow (version 6.0) was released, new security changes have taken place which allowed Breadwallet to change their stance and deliver a bitcoin wallet to the Android platform.
Security enhancements in Android 6.0
Every Android release includes dozens of security enhancements to protect users, but there were a few that made Breadwallet change their mind about Android.
In Android Marshmallow, a new Hardware Abstraction Layer (HAL) was added which is used by Fingerprint API, Lockscreen, Device Encryption, and Client Certificates to protect keys against kernel compromise and/or local physical attacks. Also, hardening of the system via policies enforced by SELinux were introduced. This offers better isolation between users and reduce threat of exposed services, further tightening of SELinux domains, and extremely limited /proc access. Other changes were added to help boost overall security, such as fingerprints to lock and unlock encryption keys, and verified boot.
This is why, despite great demand for an Android version of the wallet app, Breadwallet chose to wait until they could offer a product that meets their high standards. The Android version of Breadwallet is now available for download on Google Play, and Breadwallet has open sourced the code just as they did with their iOS version.