In the blockchain world you often hear statements like “crypto will go mainstream when it’s so easy you don’t even know you’re interacting with a blockchain.”
I think there’s a lot of truth in that. But it’s important not to forget the benefits of using a blockchain for some things.
As we saw in the Celsius bankruptcy, sometimes a well-designed interface the encourages you to trust a company to hold your cryptocurrency is all a sleight of hand. What’s the point of holding your bitcoin in Celsius if it’s all going to disappear?
They made the blockchain technology completely invisible. You didn’t have to worry about public and private keys, or transaction fees. But if you blindly trusted them, you lost all of your funds.
If instead, you sent your bitcoin to a hardware wallet, it will still be there long into the future (as long as you don’t lose the private key).
So what do you prioritize? For a while there were just two camps:
- Not-your-keys-not-your-crypto-people (complex tech is ultra present)
- We-need-good-UX-people (tech is abstracted away)
But I think the emergent third category that meets in the middle. It combines the optionality of camp 1 with the emphasis on usability from camp 2. Crucially, it includes optionality to view more of the tech if you want to.
For example, you can have a platform that makes it really easy to purchase NFTs while still allowing people to view the Etherscan transaction hashes, if they want. The platform can custody your NFTs, or allow for self custodying of your NFTs. Connect your web3 wallet, or sign in with an email and pay with a credit card. Why not both?
I had a frustrating experience where I wanted to collect this NFT on Verse but there was only about 10 minutes left in the minting period. I had the funds in my MetaMask wallet to buy, but the only option was to make an account, add a credit card and purchase that way. I ended up not buying because I didn’t want to go through all the hassle just to run out of time.
To loop back to where we started. If crypto goes mainstream by making NFTs our airline tickets, or something like that, but they’re not transferrable, or traceable on a blockchain, what is the point? There are other technologies that could accomplish this same thing. When we’re talking about “mainstreaming crypto” I don’t think NFT tickets is the cool use case.
The coolest use cases are the ones that are going to give users more choices. You can connect your bank account and initiate an ACH transfer, or you can just send USDC to a payment address. It all depends on your preference.