Eleven years on from the launch of Bitcoin, and crypto remains as taxing as ever for noobies.
The sad thing is, without the intuitive UIs and smooth interoperability, it will continue to repel the masses. And that’s even before considering the challenges from its overly technical reputation, not least the scams that proliferate the space.
Almost everything in Crypto is too complicated and this presents an incredible opportunity for product designers to simplify
— Norgard (@BrianNorgard) May 10, 2018
While crypto advocates may sing its praises until they are blue in the face, the reality is that centralized legacy systems are more available, convenient, and trusted.
For many, it’s reassuring to know that if something goes wrong, a phone call can resolve the issue. But who can you call when you send Bitcoin to the wrong address?
Crypto projects tend to be made up of multiple entities, often primarily focussed on coding and development with relatively disproportionate resources dedicated to customer service. Waiting several days for the response to an email query is unacceptable, especially if the issue is a pressing one.
With that, the industry is crying out for a revolution in the end-user experience. Without it, the fear is crypto will remain a niche offering.
Legacy Finance Will Not Go Quietly
The term mass adoption has become something of an allegory these days. While each significant industry development gets touted as the beginning of mass adoption, it never really turns out how we expect – in a substantial and sustained pump.
Part of the reason why comes down to the general public having everything (they think) they need from legacy institutions.
Chris Williamson, the founder of marketing agency Tower Brands, spoke about the multiple functions a cryptocurrency must fulfill to have a chance of competing.
“For consumer mass adoption, a cryptocurrency would need to be widely accessible, accepted as a payment method by merchants; stable, and be superior in convenience to the current payment methods (cash or credit/debit card).”
The big issue here is that crypto projects tend to be specialized, for example, Bitcoin may fulfill a store of wealth function, but it’s terrible as a means of payment in the real world.
Crypto is a Nightmare For Noobies
Even so, the majority of noobie crypto users still face unintuitive UIs, overwhelming, and confusing information, and then there’s the issue of scammers to contend with. All of which combine to form an unpleasant experience.
One Reddit user spoke of the prevalence of scammers while researching the crypto space. They went on to say the terminology used and technical descriptions were a real barrier to wanting to dig deeper.
“Usually I try to do a lot of research before getting into anything, But when ever you try to look up any good information on crypto currency it all looks like spam and scams.”
Some predict that deteriorating economic conditions will force the masses to adopt crypto, in particular, Bitcoin. Whether or not that happens remains to be seen.
But surely enticing adoption, as opposed to forcing it, is much better for everyone involved. That is the challenge the industry needs to address right now.