A bit of background
I first came across Melon Protocol in 2018, when I was working on the UI/UX of another open source Ethereum project, Aragon, which is used to run the Melon Council governance DAO. Melon looked like an interesting project with the promise of making crypto asset management (not my favourite term, but can’t think of a better one!) accessible to anyone with the right skillset, regardless of who they are, or where they live in the world — and fully transparent to investors. I remember seeing Mona El Isa on stage speaking about this passionately, and thinking they were on to something. When the Melon app first came out, I found it interesting, but with limited token universe, and a bit hard to use.
Fast forward a couple of years — decentralised exchanges had taken over, DeFi was experiencing huge growth, and more use cases and more sophisticated on-chain financial instruments had started to emerge. One summer morning I got a phone call from an unknown cold caller, half expecting it to be a marketing call selling me dodgy insurance claims. Turns out it was Mona from Melon — they were working on a massive v2 upgrade to Melon, and needed all new UI/UX to go with it. Of course I was interested — an open source project reimagining and democratising crypto asset management? Game on.
Together with the new release, the name and brand has changed too. Enzyme is the new name of the project, coinciding with the v2 release. Enzymes in biology are accelerators of change, and it’s a fitting name for the project. The release of Enzyme is a big step forward including:
Crypto asset management of the future should feel at least a bit futuristic. I wanted to keep the UI of the app clean, fairly minimalist, with a slight neon futuristic feel, without going all out Vaporwave. Since crypto markets never sleep, we decided to go with the dark theme first (light theme coming in the future). The main UI typeface is the super legible, open-source Inter, and we used Tailwind as the CSS framework.
For Ethereum address icons, we were a bit bored of the old blockies, and went with Jazzicons with a neon gradient palette, matching the rest of the app.
UX design philosophy
Ethereum has a learning curve — the apps built on top of it should be as inviting and beginner friendly as possible. We have tried to abstract away technical language, give helpful guidance, make the UX of Ethereum transactions as easy as possible, and stick to familiar patterns users already recognise from non-blockchain applications. This is a continuous journey and we have some way to go — continuous user testing with people of all skill levels, and iteration based on those insights is essential.
There are tons of exciting new smart contract features, including upgradeability, far cheaper gas costs, modular structure for integrations and plugins, delegating management rights and more. Below I’ll highlight a couple of the features which I find the most exciting, and enjoyed designing.
1. Simple and cheap investment product builder
The UX for creating a new product has been simplified into a couple of minute process, with good default settings. Compared to the costs of setting up and maintaining a traditional investment product (e.g. a fund) the old way, the savings are incredible. You can be ready to trade and manage investor money — for under $90 (at current gas prices, hopefully less in the future) and in under 5 minutes.
2. A huge expansion in tradable crypto tokens
As a crypto asset manager or investor I want to have maximum choice of investments and possible strategies. With over 100+ supported tokens (and many more coming soon, you can request new ones here) you have a large universe of crypto assets to choose from.
3. Integrations with other DeFi protocols
One of the key aspects of Ethereum is its composable nature. Enzyme will have integrations with all major DeFi protocols over time — at present there are available integrations for token swaps, custom OTC orders, liquidity pools, and lending. Synthetic assets are also available via an integration with Synthetix, to hedge with inverse positions or diversify into real world assets. You can mix long positions in the latest DeFi tokens with lending and short/long positions in real world indices — how cool is that? The integrations massively expand the possibilities available for managers (or automated strategies) to generate returns. Many more DeFi integrations will follow in the future!
More features being designed
A lot of new features are coming online at a very fast pace —timeline for commentary from managers, more DeFi integrations, manager/fund pages with customised content, and so on — keep checking for a part 2 of this post soon.
It’s really exciting to see new users and use cases for Enzyme. I’ll leave you with my favourite quote so far, from my favourite young crypto fund manager, Jai Bhavnani of Rari Capital — who are currently in the process of migrating to Enzyme.