Do you ever choose between Azure and AWS when using X. Or decide which payment processor to use for your Apple Pay transactions. Do you check the SSL certificate of AliExpress or Amazon to make sure your shopping is safe.
Amazing technology is something you can’t see. Steve Jobs was correct when he said that we should focus on the connection between technology and the humanities. However, when it comes to blockchain, things are different.
Confused in the mess of wallets, exchanges, bridges, tokens, and smart contracts, Web3 seems to be lost and going in circles, going back over what it did before. In trying to come up with new ideas, it’s forgetting to think about what consumers really want: things that are easy to use, trustworthy, easy to understand, and work well together.
In simpler terms, the technology behind blockchain has progressed enough, and now we need to create user-friendly applications for it.
Bad user experience is causing fewer people to stay
A recent report by Sequoia Capital says that most popular tech apps keep about 63% of their users for at least one month. Ethereum dApps only reach about 16%.
For people who care about UX research, it’s not surprising at all. People who use Blockchain technology are not as happy as people who don’t use it. Only 1 out of 3 tasks are finished in less than 10 minutes, and most reviews for Web3 apps are bad. Almost 9 out of 10 people stop using mobile apps because they don’t like how it works. Some people care a lot about decentralization and Web3 ethics, but most people want things to be fast, easy, cheap, simple, and easy to understand.
A lot of new ways to improve how transactions are processed, like optimistic rollups and zero-knowledge validity proofs, are trying to solve the problem of scalability. They aim to make transactions faster and cheaper. This is a big step forward in fixing the problems with blockchain technology. However, using layer-2 blockchains does not completely solve the issues related to other application layers. There are not many dApps that focus on the needs of users, which is really bad for the system.
A person who really likes blockchain might think the good results are worth any problems. But someone who doesn’t know much about technology will probably give up on it if they have trouble using it. Centralized exchanges wouldn’t have been the most popular in the industry if people had cold wallets, private keys, and decentralized options. These options give people more control and security, especially after FTX.
However, most of the trading is done on centralized exchanges, which account for 91. 4% of spot trading and almost 98%, including derivatives. This shows that most people prefer convenience over security when it comes to trading.
When we consider the difficulty of learning and understanding blockchain, the need for clear and easy-to-follow explanations, and the possibility of things going wrong, it’s easy to see why some people are unsure about blockchain. For example, Robinhood, a popular app for trading in the US, doesn’t work with USDT. But it does let you open USDC wallets and send Tether to exchange-held accounts, which regular users can’t do.
However, a customer who is not very skilled will only understand the difference between the stablecoins on page 3 of the FAQ, after their money is already gone and unable to be recovered. Although developers may make progress in zero-knowledge proofs, it probably won’t convince a regular person to keep using crypto.
Constructing a User-Centered Plan from the Beginning
The business world wants to make changes slowly instead of quickly and drastically. We need to separate the work of developers on the blockchain application layer. It is better to fix a small problem well than to fix a big problem poorly.
For example, breaking down a system into smaller parts can help people create new parts of blockchain without messing up the whole system. Proving that something is valid (using a mix of optimistic rollups and ZK validity proofs) makes it cheaper. It helps things get done faster, and a spread-out network makes sure transactions are fair and can handle a lot of them. All of these technologies that focus on reaching consumers are already available, but only a few projects are using them.
Web3 has focused on solving problems for a small group of crypto fans. It’s time to have a new vision and support inventors to use Web3 to solve real-world problems instead of just money issues. Blockchain is a strong tool – we just need to make it easier to understand and use.