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Martin Kassing

September 23, 2020

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The Importance of User Experience for Blockchain Applications

To become mainstream, blockchain technology must garner considerable momentum to drive user adoption. While some may doubt the potential impact of this technology due to the notoriously volatile crypto prices, unique user statistics point to undeniable growth. By the end of 2018, a record 32 million users held blockchain wallets - and infrastructure developers have taken notice.

As countless blockchain applications emerge in response to perceived opportunities, developers continue to struggle with improving the user-flow. Faced with a large cohort of new users and a mandate to attract more, blockchain projects must prioritize accessibility along with functionality.

While efforts have been made in developing more robust platforms prioritizing UX and UI, further advancements are crucial. Decentralized applications must compete with centralized competitors in the dimensions of usability, speed, and reliability to achieve broad adoption. Typically, this translates to less jargon, seamless integrations, and removing barriers to entry.

Perhaps one of the most intimidating components of decentralized infrastructure is private key handling to access a wallet's funds. So whereas in the traditional, centralized system your bank account is managed and secured by these centralized institutions, users become custodians of their own funds in the decentralized ecosystem.

While this functionality is often touted as a significant benefit of distributed ledger technology, it also comes with significant challenges and responsibility. Users are required to securely store complicated private keys to access their funds. While seed phrases have been implemented as a backstop, losing both means losing your funds - forever. This scenario would never play out using a conventional bank, access can be granted using a multitude of identification processes.

Better solutions are needed to bring fiat users into the digital asset ecosystem. We’ve begun to build a bridge between conventional and digital finance using dynamic APIs. At Upvest we understand that developers, in particular, require the right tools to overcome the hurdles facing broad adoption.

Interacting with Blockchain Technology

These developers are saddled with the daunting task of bridging the gap between blockchain protocols, applications, and user interfaces. It’s not hard to imagine where this task gets extremely difficult. In the pursuit of streamlining the interaction between these layers of infrastructure, several iterations of user-centric solutions have emerged. Most notably, these take the form of browser-based “gateways” and external crypto wallets.

Browser-Enabled Integrations

Browser plugins have typically been used to provide users with crypto wallets while simultaneously facilitating access to decentralized applications (dApps). These browser-enabled integrations aim to streamline access to Web 3.0 within a Web 2.0 browser environment. Some of the most advanced browser plugins include:

  • Metamask: Its popularity driven by Ethereum dApp development, Metamask provides users with an Ether wallet and a gateway to access these applications.
  • Trust Wallet: This Web 3.0 browser-enabled wallet aims to facilitate direct interaction with essentially any dApp.
  • Coinbase Wallet: The newly named “Coinbase Wallet” allows users to access virtually any dApp, while also storing and managing their funds. Users can also use names to pay people instead of complicated crypto wallet addresses.
  • Balance: This wallet allows users to easily access and create dApps on the Ethereum blockchain. The platforms “WalletConnect” solution allows wallets to seamlessly communicate with one another.

While these browser-based solutions have served to further decentralized development, they are far from perfect. Many are supported by a single browser and can only be accessed on a desktop computer - limiting their usefulness in an increasingly mobile world.  

External Wallets

Browser plugins typically provide access to decentralized applications and their associated wallets. In contrast, external wallets operate as independent infrastructure for the storage, exchange, and purchase of crypto assets. These external wallets can take many forms including:

  • Hardware Wallet: these wallets act similarly to a USB key that stores data. While hardware wallets can be used to conduct transactions online, they are stored offline.
  • Desktop: this kind of wallet is downloaded directly to your computer and is accessible only on that specific machine.
  • Online: on-cloud wallets are accessible on any machine with an Internal connection. Your keys and crypto are stored by a third party.
  • Mobile: these wallets run on an app from your mobile device.

My Ether Wallet is one platform that offers external wallet connectivity in several forms. But despite its user-friendly interface, the challenges with third-party solutions persist. Users are continually forced to leave originating applications to access wallets or related dApps - interrupting the user flow.

How Upvest Streamlines the User Experience

This user-flow interruption persists despite the myriad of solutions developed to facilitate interactions with blockchain protocols. Rather than operating as integration solutions, both browser plugins and external wallets operate as third-party tools that merely communicate with the actual blockchain-based application. Facing this challenge head-on, the Upvest APIs eliminate the need for cumbersome integrations that negatively impact usability.

Our approach fundamentally alters the way in which developers bridge the gap between blockchain protocols and end-user applications. Within minutes, developers can integrate their platforms with blockchain technology using our simple API solutions. As a result, crypto wallets can be embedded directly into applications, eliminating the need for arduous external wallet integrations.

These back-end improvements also deliver an improved end-user experience as all functions can be completed in one place. Behind the scenes, we’ve built our integrative solutions to deliver optimal results. Rest assured, the Upvest APIs are constantly maintained and were created with scalability in mind. This functionality ensures applications consistently deliver reliable, fast performance to end-users without interruption - effectively competing with centralized solutions.

Using Upvest APIs Is Simple

While the benefits of an integrated solution are clear, you may be wondering how the process works. Implementing our APIs is a simple, streamlined process:

  1. After signing up for the Upvest platform, you will be given access to your user dashboard. Here you’ll be able to retrieve the API keys needed to authenticate your connection to Upvest APIs.
  1. Should you require assistance, we’ve developed extensive documentation that walks you through the process of integrating your application with our APIs, check out our tutorial here.
  1. Within minutes you’ll be able to create user wallets, monitor their balances, send and receive transactions.
  1. By providing a human-readable username and password combination, users can easily access their wallets and manage their funds at any point in time.
  1. That’s it - you’ve created an application with direct access to an underlying blockchain protocol, no browser-based integrations or external wallets. The user-flow is streamlined in one platform and private key management is simplified.

Upvest APIs Simplify Blockchain Development

As mentioned, the user experience is crucial to furthering the blockchain movement. Acting as ecosystem intermediaries, developers are faced with the crucial job of seamlessly integrating the infrastructure stack. Traditionally, this has required the use of disjointed third-party solutions that interrupt process flow and sacrifice the user experience. But Web 2.0 users won’t tolerate such inconveniences.

In order to compete with and surpass centralized incumbents, decentralized applications must become faster, more reliable, and inherently user-friendly. Upvest’s API solutions provide an innovative method of delivering on these requirements. By providing developers with the right tools, end users benefit from a completely integrated experience. If broad adoption is the end game, Upvest provides a glimpse into how we’ll get there.

Martin Kassing

CEO & Founder

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