The San Francisco based leading cryptocurrency exchange, Coinbase, currently has over 13 million users. That market dominance has been maintained in spite of having relatively high fees, non-existent customer support, and a shaky community relationship spanning years. Arguing “first mover advantage” wouldn’t be fair either. Coinbase is simply an example of what a quality user experience can accomplish.
The blockchain space has a problem with user experience – UX for short. The UX, or more importantly the poor UX design, is a huge topic of discussion with cryptocurrencies. It really boils down to how a user feels when interacting with a digital interface. It could include multiple factors, from preferences of usability, accessibility, performance, utility, and even aesthetics. It’s the overall experience of interaction with the underlying process of the interface.
Most projects and exchanges are blind to the power of a quality layout and simplified functionality. The value of a well conceived UX is shown by the sheer dominance of an exchange that in all other categories, falls short. Companies that fail to provide an optimal experience for their users are clearly shown to have a disadvantage.
Blockchain technology is already complicated enough. The current rate of adoption is fueled by a new revolution of technology. Cryptocurrencies have proved their usefulness and so far the early-adopters are mostly technology enthusiasts. This is where adoption levels begin to cap if the design factor is not considered. If growth is to be continued at the pace we are accustomed to, the technology needs to be simplified to the point of invisibility. It is essential that the processes are not complicated further. The user experience of cryptocurrencies as a whole is a topic for another day though.
The gateway to the decentralized world of cryptocurrencies consist of poorly designed, tangled and complex processes. This only compounds the problem cryptocurrencies inherently have. In contrast, the Coinbase user interface is as intuitive as Stripe or PayPal. Users recognize the familiar process that has dominated their lives in the online banking industry. From start to finish, everything feels as it should and hardly deviates from the norm we all already accept.
Photo of Coinbase’s and PayPal’s interfaces.
Until the competition invests in how the customer feels when interacting with an interface, nothing will change. Of course, there will be other threats to Coinbase in the form of decentralized exchanges, yet those are even further away from an experience that invokes an emotional response other than simple frustration. Whether you like it or not, Coinbase is here to stay until others can compete on a superior or equal level of design and architecture, simplifying the process of a complicated infrastructure that make up cryptocurrencies.