Hackernoon logoThe Echo Chambers of Crypto. by@andy_tom

The Echo Chambers of Crypto.

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Producer of code and beats

The disconnect between audiences in crypto and its barriers to mass-adoption.

Photo by Levi XU on Unsplash

Mass-Adoption Buzz

If you have encountered the cryptocurrency space, it is likely you have heard individuals speak on the importance of cryptocurrency mass-adoption. Inside the many articles titled “X reasons why Y is going to be mass-adopted” there exist a common argument that the new decentralised, transparent and trustless system will be self-selling to the general population (deemed no-coiners).

However, one of the less argued barriers of mass-adoptions is simply this — on-boarding new crypto users is not self-propelling. What I mean by this is that the no-coiners and even seasoned coiners are expected to learn too many new concepts by themselves (see diagram about the different limbos).

One of the main reasons for this, is the disconnect between the “players” (player groups shown in diagram) in the cryptocurrency space.

Will great UI and UX exist in the decentralised world?

We are all familiar with the great apps, platforms and websites in our current web 2.0. For example, age groups of 2+ are able to easily pick up a device to browse the internet, play on apps or watch videos.

Now compare that to the learning curve experience by individuals who encounter cryptocurrencies.

Even an experienced stocks trader or a frequent digital payment user is unable to easily open an exchange account immediately (verification lengths) or:

  • Understand the significance of public and private keys (and the importance to know the difference — hint; one you of them you shouldn’t share).
  • Identify their own address and then realise that their address is 34 characters.
  • Understand and realise the immutability of transferring funds to a wrong address (whether it be a typo or incompatible address — sending BTC to ETH address).
  • Understand transaction costs and block confirmation times (wait-times).

And this is just to buy your way into using the decentralised system.

There should be an effort made by those who design and build the entry points (exchanges, over-the-counter markets, wallets, payment systems…) to understand the perspective of a no-coiner and provide great UI* and UX* in order to flatten the learning curve. This learning curve is depicted in Limbo (1) and if addressed, could potentially bridge the gap between the no-coiners and coiners. This bridge alone would spark enough movement for a “mass-adoption” of cryptocurrencies and blockchain.

But let’s go deeper.

Once an individual has bought their first token and has some experience in transacting, trading and using software wallets they may wonder“where to next?”. The very next step covers all the applications, use cases and platforms in the decentralised web.

Such examples are projects such as Augur’s prediction market and financial products such as {Set} Protocol’s exchange-traded funds* where users may begin to start using tokens for the decentralised counterparts of the current systems.

The learning curve just got steeper.

We are now in Limbo 2, concepts and problems users are faced with include (Not specific to the projects mentioned above):

  • What is a dAPP* and how do I even access dAPPS?
  • Installing external clients.
  • Downloading copies of the blockchain.
  • Opening new wallets (remembering more seed* phrases).
  • Calculating gas* fees.

(Non-conclusive as some of these issues even I have steered away from).

When we had thought that Limbo (1) was already a major barrier to on-boarding a no-coiner into a coiner, on-boarding users of crypto in Limbo (2) just got harder.

Focusing on UI and UX for these platforms and apps would assist in propelling the active users of the decentralised web, this would require community managers and marketers in performing regular feedback loops with their community in order to better guide the vision of designers and developers.

In the current cryptocurrency space, there exist echo chambers both at the top and the bottom. No-coiners and the general population are presented with too little guidance and information, that they usually resort in labelling this system a scam. Meanwhile the curse of knowledge experienced by the leaders, developers and creators have resorted in them creating products that are catered to a niche technical crowd but unusable by many.

If we can bridge the gap between the top and bottom chambers we may see a spark in “mass-adoption”.

Article inspired from reading Trevor Caldwell’s article.

“One of the challenges of getting involved in the world of cryptocurrency is how many new concepts you need to learn about”.

Let me know what you think of this opinion. If you enjoyed it please support by clapping and sharing.

Definitions (marked by *)

UI = User Interface (Colours, Visual Design, Layouts)

UX = User Experience (Interaction Design, Information Architect, User Research)

dAPP = Decentralised apps (Apps built on the Blockchain).

Seed Phrase = The seed phrase is a set of words that allows you get access to funds of your wallet.

Exchange Traded Funds (ETF)= An ETF is a type of investment fund that can be bought and sold on a securities exchange market.

Gas = Gas is the way that fees are calculated.


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