Blockchain, pretty much.

How can Design help Blockchain

How are we helping design keep up with blockchain tech?

At Lumenary, we’re always excited about emerging technology. While we’ve worked with VR projects and conceptualized IoT solutions, our favorite emerging sector is blockchain technology. We believe the long-term solutions that are made possible with blockchain are worth investing in. On top of that we have multiple clients looking to push the space forward, so we’re diving deep and trying to solve the problem of how design fits into the equation.

Over the past several months, we’ve been digging to the root of blockchain challenges and hurdles for adoption. We’ve spent countless hours sketching solutions on our conference room windows. We’ve co-hosted a design & blockchain meetup with RawHaus to bring together innovators to discuss these challenges and explore new ideas. We’ve done our homework—and here’s what we think design can do…


Educating the people

Let’s be frank. People don’t understand blockchain.

With a history of bad press and increasing government regulation, it makes sense that people would be hesitant to get involved in the blockchain and cryptocurrency space. On top of that, there’s a heavy learning curve as to exactly what it is. What can be done to address this?

Cassette tapes, bitcoin—what’s the difference? [Image: NewsWeek 1973]

First, it’s important to remember all technology will be exploited for illicit activity at some point, but that doesn’t stop us from moving forward with new tech. As illegal use of cryptocurrency is restricted, we will see blockchain tech thrive in the future—so get ahead of the rush now.

Second, we can start getting people familiar with blockchain tech by educating them on the benefits. You don’t need to know the technical stuff to see how this will be game-changing to the way businesses work.

Here’s two things we think will be big selling points for blockchain…

Security

Right now, when you access a website or web application, your device interfaces with a server based on its address that acts as the single master source of information. While this works well most of the time, having a single server to establish truth makes it much easier for hackers to change what is true and manipulate the system. With a blockchain, every device on the network is checking to make sure the record is accurate. If there’s a dispute, the majority wins — which means in order to hack the record, you’d need to control over 50% of the network’s thousands and thousands of devices. This extra security makes blockchain an evolution from our traditional ledgers.

Efficiency

When it comes to efficiency, blockchains benefit from the power of smart contracts. These contracts, which are written in code, are published into the blockchain and act autonomously when specific criteria are met. While traditional contracts are open to each party’s interpretation, this automation will greatly help cut down disputes in the future revolving around small contractual details — like refunds on ticket purchases — and should make everyone’s lives a little bit simpler as a result.

Leverage these two value propositions and their strengths over the current system and the intimidation of blockchain starts to shrink and we take the first steps towards growing the blockchain space.

There’s a difference between getting people familiar with a solution and actually getting them to use it, though. Which is why, designers need to take blockchain tech and…

Make it easy

User experience is key to new adoption. As we’ve already said, blockchain is super practical but has a huge technical learning curve. Unlike things like virtual reality, where the novelty of the experience is enjoyable and intuitive enough to get even the least technical users interested, blockchain really needs to have a low barrier to entry.

Coinbase App

Unfortunately, there’s a bit of exclusivity in the blockchain culture right now. Thankfully, there’s already great examples of companies working to make it more common place. Just look at Coinbase, which has raised over $200M in funding and on-boarded over 12.1M customers onto a blockchain platform. They have done an amazing job designing an easy to understand application where nearly anyone can sign up and start buying and selling cryptocurrencies on the blockchain. They balance this entry-level, namesake product with their much more powerful GDAX exchange for power users who buy and sell often.

Coinbase made their product familiar to banking apps users are already familiar with, which makes the experience easy to adopt.

With the example of Coinbase, they remove all the technical stuff and take care of it for users. They generate your bitcoin/ethereum/litecoin wallet and manage your keys and requests automatically. They’ve made it easy by making it feel like the banking apps they know their users are familiar with. Practice design like this and in no time everyone will be on the blockchain.


So… is blockchain the next big thing?

We think so—which means we need to get started on building it for everyone.

As designers (and developers, and innovators of all kinds) our job is to help new technology become digestible so that mass adoption can roll in. For our team—while VR is nice and IoT is a mess—blockchain is going to be revolutionary to how our technology operates. With this mindset, we’re excited to face the challenges at hand and start building advantages today for everyone tomorrow. We’d love to hear what you think about the future of blockchain and what hurdles you think need to be addressed for growth in the near future. Respond to our post and let’s discuss the future together.

Thanks for the read & don’t forget to applaud! 👏👏👏