These 5 UX Problems are Gate Keeping the Mass Adoption of Web3
June 30, 2023
The price of Web3 adoption comes with a steep learning curve, including understanding programmable transactions, token primitives, and the utility behind projects.
Web3 is being integrated at a glacial pace for several reasons — non-standardization of tools, lack of compelling use cases of crypto, and roadblocks like regulation.
But the most resistant roadblock to Web3 adoption by far is UX. The majority of Internet users have come to expect seamless Web2 UX standards such as one-click payments, straightforward email verifications, and easy two-factor authentications to execute transactions online.
The good news? We’re highly aware of these pain points, and we’re cobbling away to crush them. If it sounds heavy, it is. Check out the graphic for the most repeated Web3 questions from normie friends.
❌ UX Problem No. 1: Private Key Management is problematic
At the core of all transactions on Ethereum, whether it’s sending ETH, bridging USDC from optimism to arbitrum, or minting an NFT, is the concept of account management.
An account created on Ethereum holds everything we own, allows us to interact with the network, and gives us an identity. But not all accounts are created equally.
Most accounts today fall under the category of EOAs, and that is where Web 3’s first UX problem begins.
This account is identified with a 42-character string of numbers and letters, prefixed with 0x - called the private key.
Tradeoff? The responsibility of memorizing and managing the private key falls on the end user.
An excellent demonstration of the risks and limitations of EOAs by Sylve on HackMD:
EOAs are stickier than World of Warcraft (WoW) game accounts because you can’t change the private key. Imagine someone sells a WoW account: You can easily change the password and the email address attached to it so the original owner can’t access it or use “I forgot my password” to reset it.
Now imagine I sell my EOA to you (meaning you’d receive my private keys): You’d have no way of knowing if I’ve kept a copy of the key, and you can’t modify this key. In 2 years, I might decide to steal everything from you by signing a transaction with that same key to drain all your funds.
Compared to the convenience of Web2 safeguards such as “forgot password” and one-click Google sign-ins — private key management is regressive to the user experience. How many stories have you heard filled with lost or stolen seed phrases and accounts lost with millions of dollars worth of assets?
How do we fix this?
✅ Solution: Social recovery to secure wallets.
Smart Contract Wallets on Ethereum are controlled by code. Smart contract wallets (SCW) emulate traditional banking systems in the fact that they allow devs to create different types of access control. Access controls mean emulating features like account recovery/password recovery security/accessibility alternatives.
Here’s how social recovery can secure wallets, according to Vitalik Buterin:
A user uses a single “signing key” to approve transactions
There is a set of at least 3 guardians, of which a majority can cooperate to change the signing key of the account.
The social recovery function kicks in if the user loses their signing key. The user can reach their guardians, asking them to sign a special transaction to change the signing pubkey registered in the wallet contract to a new one. Yes, it’s as simple as that.
❌ UX Problem No.2: dApps require too much onboarding
Every interaction on Ethereum is a transaction involving gas fees. We can’t assume that non-crypto-natives without prior Web3 exposure or knowledge of blockchain transactions to convert fiat to crypto, buy/swap assets for ETH, pay for gas fees, AND sign off on transactions properly as they onboard dApps.
What if dApps could absorb the costs of their users’ initial interactions? And perhaps abstract away their wrestling of gas fees and multi-step transactions?
✅Solution: With Meta transactions, users don’t need to have any knowledge of transactions or gas costs.
Meta transactions are a fundamental improvement to dApp UX as they move transactions behind the scenes away from the users. Additionally, smart contract wallets allow dApps to offer web-2-like experiences with Social Wallet Login, Creation and Recovery, and Fiat On-Ramps to further abstract the onboarding process.
Zero gas fees always create a better cost structure for games and UX for gamers. No prior crypto experience is needed. To date, Biconomy’s meta transaction infrastructure (Gasless) has helped over 200 dApps onboard over half a million users to Web3.
❌UX Problem No.3: Gas fees can only be paid in native assets
Needing native assets to pay for gas fees is another significant hurdle. Swapping tokens and bridges to cover the fees constantly is tedious and time-consuming.
✅Solution: Pay gas in any ERC-20 token
What if users could pay gas fees with any ERC-20 assets available in their wallets? They could pay the gas fee for any transaction in the tokens they hold in their wallet without worrying about holding native tokens in the EOA for gas fees.
❌UX Problem No. 4: Users have to execute a transaction for every on-chain interaction
Completing one transaction at a time is time-consuming, frustrating, and involves extra fees.
✅Solution: Bundle the transactions
Batching transactions would allow users to execute multiple actions in a single transaction. For example, they could Approve and Deposit in the same transaction.
Adding customized transaction bundling to a dApp would enable arbitrary complex interactions (including cross-chain) in one transaction. Users and protocols can do any arbitrary cross-chain interactions in just a single transaction.
For example, swapping and staking or swapping and purchasing an NFT. This significantly simplifies the complex processes packaging them into a one-tap experience and achieving the ideal DeFi interaction.
❌UX Problem No. 5: Lack of on-chain, cross-chain interoperability
Most Web3 projects are siloed, and users must navigate multiple frontends, bridge UIs, and submit repeated transactions to bridge assets between networks. Market segmentation comes with its own costs.
It’s also hard to build interoperable projects, as it introduces a new class of complex product questions, and the current infrastructure isn’t widely adopted yet.
An ideal practice would be to abstract these cross-chain operations into the background so that the user doesn’t have to think about which chain they are on or what assets they are using.
✅Solution: Cross-chain bridges for seamlessly connected Blockchains
Enabling cross-chain smart contract calls and transfers would be the solution.
This removes the need for the user to understand which chain or L2 a dApp is on, and they could simply start interacting from wherever their funds are.
With blockchain already redefining gaming, an interoperable ecosystem would take the gaming experience to a new level. Imagine paying for in-game assets and tokens in one game and using them in a completely different one. Cross-game compatibility can help in-game microeconomics to flourish, and bolster protocol and player revenue.
Today’s Web3 UX problems are tomorrow’s opportunities for mass adoption
ROI on UX investments is 9,900%
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