Designing for Blockchain: what is it and where can you use it?

vasundhara parakh
Digital Catapult
Published in
3 min readDec 5, 2018


The new buzzword is blockchain. It’s everywhere. From cryptocurrency to Cryptokitties. From revolutionising the music industry to making diamonds bloodless by covering their trail, it is covering a vast ground.

But what is blockchain and how can it affect us in our lives? Is it just a buzzword or is it worth pondering over?

Most people will associate blockchain with cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin or Ethereum, so let me start by explaining how Bitcoin works.

As the technology is very complex I decided I’ll sketch it to explain the steps in a simple manner.

Blockchain as a technology is not limited to cryptocurrencies but can be used to make contracts. They are called Smart contracts. Smart contracts can be used in many situations and can remove the middlemen from the situation, like buying a house, Smart contracts can eliminate the role of a notary and can also be viewed publicly with permission.

Smart contracts also work in similar manner as explained above, instead Bitcoin, the message will have some code or conditions of a contract and can be visible to everyone if that what the maker of smart contracts wants.

For example, another blockchain, like Ethereum is designed in a way that programmers can write their own contracts/code

For example, Amanda, Bill and Carly opened a company with 33.33% shares each.

After 2 years Amanda and Bill decided to work part-time. So Carly asked them to increase her shares by 50% as she would be working more covering their work as well.

She created a proposal on the blockchain, Amanda and Bill voted and reached a consensus directly on the blockchain. As a result, Carly got her shares upgraded from 33.33% to 50% and Amanda and Bill got their shares reduced to 25% each.

In a traditional scenario, Carly would ask a notary to do the same but in case a notary is hacked or there is a corrupt officer involved, the documents could be changed without Carly, Bill and Amanda knowing or agreeing to it.

It is nearly impossible to change an entry in blockchain in case of hacking or a corrupt intention.

Why is Blockchain useful?

  • 1. It provides trust without any tampering from humans
  • 2. It provides transparency
  • 3. It shows a complete chain of events

What could be the use cases for Smart contracts?

  • 1. Music publishing Industry- Managing the music rights and shares
  • 2. Buying and selling, renting and letting properties
  • 3. Managing shares in a company
  • 4. Monitoring various supply chains like food chain or monitoring art origination and defining the chain of ownership
  • 5. Making a will
  • 6. Crowdsourcing funds
  • 7. Finance management
  • 8. Voting

Why should designers pay attention?

As blockchain technology evolves, the role of the designers becomes ever so important not only for designing the interface of the technology but also humanising it. There are many questions around on-boarding in a Blockchain application, or how the user stores and uses multiple passwords, one for the app and other for blockchain? These questions should be answered for a good user experience and a larger adoption of the technology

It’s important to understand the use and limitations of this technology and help it to evolve into a more useful and easy to use technology.