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Wednesday

20 January 2021

We Must Solve Bitcoin’s Custody UX Problem

We Must Solve Bitcoin’s Custody UX Problem


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In that short time, Bitcoin has transformed the way we think about money, but it’s still a long way from mass adoption.

Bitcoin suffers from a usability problem that can’t simply be fixed with a new interface.

This isn’t a technical error but a human one: the assumption that it’s safer to store coins with an exchange instead of keeping custody yourself.

There’s not enough space here to detail the number of exchanges that have gone bust, been hacked or, like OKEx in October, lost access to customers’ keys after the single employee in charge of them was detained by law enforcement. .

In the first half of 2020 alone, blockchain analytics firm CipherTrace found that investors lost $1.4 billion worth of crypto, much of it from exchanges that suffered hacks or, sickeningly, committed fraud against their customers.

Early Bitcoin UX efforts focused on superficial issues and dismissed the deep problem of helping users own their private keys.

They figured that solid UX for users to control their keys was an unwinnable battle and took it off the table. .

Approachable end-user control of private keys is the holy grail of solving bitcoin UX, and it’s one that the industry has largely sidestepped. 

So, while many new Bitcoin users face a steep learning curve, they are not learning that old security models don’t apply

But it’s quite possible to make it easy for users to keep custody of their keys, combining high security with great UX

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