Getting Mainstream Adoption for Blockchain Apps, like Ink Pay

After a couple months of testing and talking to real marketplace users, we have a plan for taking blockchain apps mainstream.

Phase 1: Ink Pay Beta DApp

The beta version of the Ink Pay DApp first launched a few months back and was very well received by the community. We are extremely proud to have built a fully functional decentralized app that implements Ink Protocol. Buyers and sellers can use this app to transact in a trustworthy way, without any centralized service. This is a huge step in showing the true power of Ink Protocol and blockchain technology.

However, as we discussed in earlier posts, DApps are just too hard to use right now. You need a bit of blockchain and smart contract expertise just to navigate the UI, you need a new wallet to hold your cryptocurrency, and you also need to pay the gas for every single action.

User Testing for Ink Pay

Nevertheless, the Ink Pay DApp is the purest way to transact in a fully decentralized way. You control every aspect of the interaction by making calls directly to Ink Protocol and writing to the Ethereum blockchain. Long term, we think this is the way things should work. It just needs to be a bit easier.

Phase 2: Supporting Multiple Cryptocurrencies

The next thing we did is to make sure buyers and sellers had a few different options when it comes to the actual payment. All transactions are still 100% backed by XNK underneath, so the more transactions that are occur in the system, the more XNK you need to have available. After some early testing, we quickly realized that users all had different preferences for the payment currency.

In particular, we are very excited about our Dai integration. Stablecoins are going to be an extremely important piece of the decentralized commerce puzzle. They have all the benefits of super fast, easy transactions that come with cryptocurrencies, but without the price instability.

We currently support XNK, ETH, and Dai, with more coming soon.

Phase 3: Wallet Partnerships

Using DApps is also difficult because they require an additional piece of software. You need a special browser or wallet plugin to interact with the DApp. On desktop web browsers, the most common wallet plugin is Metamask, and Coinbase Wallet is a popular mobile DApp browser.

We are extremely proud of our recent Coinbase Wallet partnership, which makes it as easy as possible to use Ink Pay on your iOS or Android device. While this integration does simplify Ink Pay usage, it still takes many steps to get everything set up. You need to download the wallet app, set up your new wallet, move your cryptocurrency to this wallet, and then navigate to the Ink Pay DApp from within the wallet app. Not TOO bad, but we can do better :)

You can now use Ink Pay on Metamask or Coinbase Wallet (plus many other DApp browsers).

Phase 4: Improve the Buying Experience

We are currently working on a new version of Ink Pay, which will greatly simplify the buying experience. The new version will automate many aspects of buying, so that new buyers won’t need to deal with the smart contracts and special DApp browsers just to buy something.

Sellers will still need to use and understand the DApp, but improving at least half the experience will be a huge step. In our experience, it’s the buyers who were the most reluctant to set a bunch of things up just to buy something.

Stay tuned for more updates on this and the official launch info!

Phase 5: Simplify the Overall Experience

After the new buying experience is complete, we will be working on improving the seller UI as well. The main thing here is to reduce the complexity associated with using a DApp and automate the process more. Sellers should feel like they are just using a regular consumer app. This means, we will need to create a self-contained web and app experience that does not require you to download a separate DApp browser.

Look for a standalone app that feels like a regular consumer app. It should not require any blockchain experience.

Phase 6: Regular Fiat Payments

We’ve been planning for regular money payments since the very beginning. However, there are many regulations and money transmission issues that we are still working through. The good news is, we have some leads and ongoing discussions with possible partners now, so the future is looking bright. We hope to be able to get something working early next year! All transactions will still be fully backed by XNK.

Phase 7+

Once we have a fully functional app that is easy to use, does not require blockchain knowledge, and allows buyers and sellers to transact just like they do today (fiat payments), then we will be ready to push towards real mainstream adoption. The beauty of this app will be that all transactions and reputation scores are written to the Ethereum blockchain, even though users may not know anything about Ethereum.

The app should work just as described in this video:

Building a Decentralized Marketplace

Our grand vision is to facilitate the creation of fully decentralized marketplaces. We believe that this happens from the ground up, and Ink Protocol + Ink Pay will be the crucial first step in making this happen. It is hard enough building a centralized marketplace from scratch, so we think the best way to actually do this is by leveraging all the existing marketplace liquidity by spreading the use of Ink Pay.

Once Ink Pay is widely used on all kinds of existing centralized marketplaces… the decentralized version kind of just builds itself!