Restoring user trust in DApps

Blockchain solves the problem of trust, or more precisely lack of it, but does that mean there should also be mistrust between the DApp and its users? We think that if we ever want to reach mainstream adoption, the answer has to be “no”.

Would you trust eating ice cream from a stranger? Well…. yeah. Photo by Florencia Viadana on Unsplash

Good user experience is not an exact science. The correct approach depends on multiple factors such as who will use your app, what your app does and plenty more. You will construct countless user flows, and in the end, you want to make sure that in all of them your users are engaged and at ease.

And yet, whenever it comes to interacting with your decentralized application (i.e., signing a transaction or message), users see a pop-up asking them to confirm once again what they already approved when they clicked on “sign”, “vote” or “trade” in your DApp. No chance we would stand for it in regular web apps, so we shouldn’t allow such clunky flows in the new web.

Wow such good UX, much smoothness

A little trust goes a long way

Sure, this is the world of decentralization. And in that world, systems need to be Byzantine Fault Tolerant. But do we really have a problem of trust between the DApps themselves and their users? I mean, the goal of these pop-ups is to allow users to verify that the message they are signing with their private keys matches what the DApp said it is. But come on, how many of us actually check the transaction data before hitting confirm?

If you’re using a DApp for the first time, or if it feels fishy, you might decide to verify each transaction manually. But at some point, you will just confirm each action without checking. Why is that? Because in your eyes, that DApp is trustworthy.

“The best way to find out if you can trust somebody is to trust them.” — Ernest Hemingway

We must give DApps the chance to provide their users with smooth user experiences and to build on the trust they’ve forged with them.

Not only are all those confirmation windows annoying for users, but it is also quite intimidating. Not all DApps are mission critical, but we’re still asking users to confirm every little action, making it appear like they are, which drives away casual mainstream users.

Introducing: “Trust this app”

In the latest version of Portis, we’re beginning to break down these walls of mistrust.

“Mr. Web3, tear down this wall!”

As a user, trusting a specific app means you won’t need to manually confirm each action through Portis, as long as you’re only paying small amounts for network fees. Portis will keep track of your network fee expenses, and if they exceed $1 per hour, you will return to using manual confirmations.

This feature might offer smoother and less intimidating UI, but sometimes it can also be downright necessary.

“Going once, twice….. SOLD to user 0x31c5f84fa219cf0fda24a4dec1fc9b7f50e0420f”

In addition to our latest “Trust this app” feature, we’re also thrilled to announce that another fantastic DApp is now also powered by Portis: Auctionity (Auctionity Team), the world’s largest auction house for NFTs.

Auctionity isn’t just another marketplace for NFTs. They host actual English auctions, with auctioneers streaming live videos, offering real-time bidding. The whole nine yards.

And just like in an auction house, Auctionity makes sure those fat whale bidders will participate in your auction. In return, sellers surrender up to 50% of their earnings to the community that made this possible. Sellers decide how much of their potential gains they want to invest, which will determine how driven the community will be to promote their auction. Fair enough.

For the uninitiated

After all, if you can fetch more than twice the price on your shiny new CryptoKitty, as is often the case with large real-world auction houses such as Sotheby’s and Christie’s, as opposed to trying to sell it yourself, then that commission pays for itself and then some.

Slow and steady wins the race. But not auctions.

When it comes to bidding in a live auction, speed matters. And unfortunately, the current state of the main Ethereum network can’t handle real-time bidding.

Auctionity network to the rescue!

This private network can handle the bidding action, assuring speed and absence of transactions fees, while keeping everything trackable on However, double-confirming each bid, once in the DApp, a second time in your web3 provider of choice, doesn’t offer that sleek auction house experience Auctionity is looking for. That’s where our new “Trust this app” feature comes in handy.

In addition, while Auctionity lets users place their bids on their private network, most assets still exist on the Ethereum mainnet, so that’s where you want the NFTs to actually move. This means Auctionity users need to switch between the networks they are signing transactions on.

Luckily, we recently released another feature: DApps can now switch the network the user is using. I mean, c’mon, are we really expecting the average user to know what Rinkeby is?

Thanks to the changeNetwork method, Auctionity's user is none the wiser about communicating with different networks, and we can get one step closer to our ultimate goal:

Let our users interact with the blockchain, without burdening them with understanding the blockchain.

Happy holidays and happy coding!

The Portis Team

Have any questions? Join the conversation on our gitter channel.