How Pigzbe is designed to introduce families to blockchain without them ever realising

“Kids have amazingly open minds. They can understand things in a way that adults sometimes can’t. But they need something to interact with.”

Blockchain and cryptocurrencies will soon sit at the heart of hundreds of new applications and products. But without good design they’ll never connect with a mass audience. One thing will be missing.

And that’s what differentiates Pigzbe from other blockchain-based solutions in the market…its tangible presence.

It’s a physical product, not just an app or an idea that lives transiently in the digital domain. “You can feel it, hold it, own it, and that’s hugely important for kids,” says Pigzbe’s CXO Jon Marshall.

“Kids have amazingly open minds. They can understand things in a way that adults sometimes can’t. But they need something to interact with.

“When they’re young they don’t have ownership of the family iPad or TV or smartphone, but Pigzbe will be theirs. They have a physical interaction with it, and that’s vital in helping them into the world of blockchain and cryptocurrency.”

Physical products make a connection. Digital-first companies like Google, Microsoft, Snapchat and Amazon are all investing heavily in developing physical products. They see the opportunities in having their brand expressed in the real world, and providing new ways to connect with their services.

How Pigzbe’s design brings blockchain to life

To make the worlds of blockchain and cryptocurrency accessible, Pigzbe also has to generate trust with kids and their parents. With physical products we frequently perceive trust through what we feel in our hands: the weight, the quality, the production values. All of that played into Pigzbe’s design, says Jon Marshall.

“One of our most important decisions was that we didn’t want it to feel like a toy.

“Yes, we’ve created something that appeals to kids, it has lots of character, warmth, colour and fun, but ultimately it feels like an aspirational device. We worked on the quality of the production, right down to the click of the button. We got it absolutely right.

“It’s those details that say to parents: ‘here’s a product that’s going to last and you can trust’. It’s also something that will be around to grow with their kids rather than just being abandoned after a few months.”

The best solutions are invisible solutions

One of the keys to how Pigzbe brings blockchain into the wider world is that the technology itself ultimately remains invisible. You’ll be exchanging and earning Wollo tokens, and learning all the right lessons of financial education and responsibility. However, the machinations of how that technology functions will never get in the way. “Kids and families will be learning about blockchain without actually realising it,” says Pigzbe CTO Cat le Huy. “I think that’s ingenious. That’s good design doing its job.”

“With a development such as blockchain, complexity is inevitable at this stage in its life. But good design coupled with clever technology can take that away. You can’t achieve accessibility if you’re arguing about ones and zeroes. It has to be tied back to the basic needs we have as human beings — what we buy or what we sell, in order to feed ourselves, take care of ourselves and enjoy our lives.”

Working with an audience of children aged 6+ also imposes a valuable discipline. It’s compelled Pigzbe’s designers to bring blockchain down to the simplest teaching fundamentals.

“We’ve constantly refined the directness and clarity of the message and tied it back to learning outcomes for the audience,” concludes le Huy. “By being absolutely clear in the way we address the blockchain ecosystem and the interactions within it, we can help children and families not only create useful behaviours within the blockchain and cryptocurrency economies, but safe ones too.”

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