When to Leverage Blockchain & Cryptocurrencies to Drive Experience Growth

Tim Duncan
Nov 9, 2020 · 7 min read

What are cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin and Litecoin? What is the difference between the cryptocurrencies and blockchain networks that businesses are developing that you read about in the news? As a product manager, how do you know when there is an opportunity to leverage these technologies to drive growth within your customer or employee experience and how do you make that come to life? These are three important questions we often get asked at Bottle Rocket, so we decided to provide our current best answer for anyone who is interested in reading.

Before you can start thinking about ways to incorporate blockchain and cryptocurrencies into your experience, you need to understand the puzzle that is Blockchain and cryptocurrencies and how they are supposed to fit together.

This hurdle is often underestimated. Its difficulty doesn’t have anything to do with you or your IQ and has everything to do with the fact you can’t see what is going on inside of a blockchain network. In addition, it was created without the touch of a design team to create the visibility, clarity and ease of use that is required for high adoption rates.

So, what does this puzzle look like? We sat down with the Bottle Rocket Design team to paint this picture in the clearest way possible.

The Blockchain & Cryptocurrency Puzzle Breakdown

The main difference between Bitcoin and business blockchains is the degree to which the network is decentralized (how much human interaction exists within the network), and the types of transactions being recorded. Bitcoin is a fully decentralized network which means that there is no human interaction when sending Bitcoin from one person to another. Most business blockchains are not fully decentralized and require some human interaction to complete the transaction such as a manual review of a voting ballot before being confirmed to the ledger for example.

“Blockchain can mean different things to different types of companies. For big companies, it is about making existing markets more efficient & transparent. For small & medium sized companies, collaboration enables them to punch above their weight and launch exciting new last mile like products and services. But, it is at the start up level that digital innovation burns the brightest, creating the new digital economy to transform whole industries on top of this new quality and ownership / access of data.” — Andy Martin, Blockchain Business Value Design World Wide Leader — IBM

The Relationship Between Blockchain, Cryptocurrencies & Your Customer or Employee Experience

The more obvious place to start here is with Bitcoin and cryptocurrencies. Their utility as an alternative payment option is better understood and its home in your experience is most likely already in place. It’s more a question of whether it makes good business sense to offer Bitcoin or some other cryptocurrency as a payment option. Customers typically prefer choice and any customer who uses this channel could result in the avoidance of credit card transaction fees by the business, driving higher profit margins.

Turning to the other side of the same coin and the relationship isn’t as intuitively obvious. Most of this stems from the fact that these are business focused networks that don’t get much visibility by the public. The experience in this instance is typically a web or mobile app used by your employees. This employee experience is a window into the blockchain and its available functions. The quality and ease-of-use of this employee experience will be the main driver of adoption.

The relationship between your customers/employees and blockchain/cryptocurrencies will be largely derived by the design and the user experience of the web and/or mobile application used to interact with it. If you want to drive adoption using blockchain and cryptocurrencies, make the experience so easy to use, it is intuitively understood by even the most casual observer. In order to do this, you will need to cultivate a strong understanding of your customer base, their current behaviors, expectations, goals, and assumptions. At Bottle Rocket, we spend a lot of time with our clients’ customers in order to ensure we are creating experiences that not only meet their needs, but anticipate and exceed them. This is especially important when trying to drive adoption of a new technology or tool. Unfortunately, bad design and user experience are the barriers that has prevented adoption growth of Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies the most. It simply isn’t easy to use for most people and thus does not get used as much as it could be.

Here are a few examples of business blockchains that might help readers understand these business blockchain networks better and what its relationship is to an existing business.

When to Leverage Blockchain and Cryptocurrencies to Drive Experience Growth

Whether or not it makes sense to invest in blockchain and / or cryptocurrencies to drive growth depends largely on the benefits that would be gained from automated decision and governance processes and the level of interest from your current and future customer/employee base. Below are three common areas to consider when evaluating your customer or employee experience for opportunities to drive growth through blockchain and cryptocurrencies.

  • Cross B2B silo collaboration (reconciliation, provenance or a visibility issue) (Source — Andy Martin, IBM)
  • Data that needs to be shared is too valuable to let a 3rd party govern on your behalf (Source — Andy Martin, IBM)
  • Customer interest supports additional payment option(s)

As a product manager, it is important to consistently take the pulse of the businesses decision and governance model taking place inside your business right now. An easy way to do this is to simply write down every decision made internally and externally with 3rd parties. Once this list has been made, evaluate each decision using a multidimensional lens that includes the amount of time to complete each decision and the amount of pain it causes (none, low, medium, high). You will want to get as granular as you can here, so make sure you give yourself enough time to observe, analyze, document, and revise.

Click Here to Download a Starter Template

Once this is complete, filter the list so that the decisions with the highest level of pain and that takes the most time to complete on average are on top and proceed in descending order down the list. These are the areas that represent your best opportunities to drive growth through blockchain and cryptocurrencies. For the highest-ranked items, do a cost-benefit analysist to see if a blockchain solution could help expedite these processes internally. This will then help you build out your strategy, create your service blueprint, and get you to development and launch. Like everything else, you’ll want to continuously monitor, evolve, and grow.

How to Incorporate Blockchain and/or Cryptocurrencies into Your Customer and/or Employee Experience

When it comes to including Bitcoin, other cryptocurrencies or a custom Blockchain solution into your customer experience, you’ll want to do due diligence to understand your customers’ level of expertise, interest, goals, and expectations in order to make the experience as seamless as possible. While leveraging cryptocurrencies seems like it should be straightforward enough to design, there are layers of complexity that can interfere with the experience. You will want to figure out how to remove these complexities, or at least simplify them in the design, so that users will feel comfortable and confident with your product.

Here is an example of steps that product teams can take to start incorporating these technologies:

Example Tactical Steps

In summary, blockchain and cryptocurrencies are computer networks that govern and record transactions from human or machine interactions such as sending money from one person to another or recording the votes for an upcoming election by mail ballot. Whether or not it makes sense to invest and incorporate this technology depends largely on the business blockchain cost/benefit analysis and the level of interest from your current and future customer base on the use of cryptocurrencies. Product managers and product growth SME’s should keep a consistent pulse on their governance models and perform regular reviews to determine when it makes sense to leverage this technology.

About the Authors

Tim is the lead of Bottle Rocket’s growth practice and an active thought leader on digital product growth in the marketplace.

Deb is the Senior Vice President of Experience Design at Bottle Rocket.

About Bottle Rocket

Bottle Rocket is an experience consultancy that that provides business strategy, product, design and technology services that drive business results and exceed customer expectations. We are proudly part of WPP and the Ogilvy Worldwide Network. To connect with Bottle Rocket, visit us at bottlerocketstudios.com or drop us a note at hello@bottlerocketstudios.com.

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