Since launching DoWallet (https://dowallet.app.link/pczcR7Aw0U) a few weeks ago, we have had the great privilege (and stress) of witnessing an incredible phenomenon up close — the consumers' shift to a reality of decentralized custodianship and the growing pains associated with it. In simpler terms — we had to solve a bunch of customer support issues.
Some of these stemmed from questions about our features, like issues in connecting to their crypto exchange accounts, like Kraken or Binance. However, most issues stemmed not from our own app's features, but the features of the different blockchains and their respective currencies (at time of writing we support Bitcoin, Bitcoin Cash, Ethereum, and Litecoin).
From day one of starting this venture, we knew that customer support would always be a differentiator, but we grossly underestimated how important it would be — not only to the success of our company, but to the industry itself. Without some fundamental handholding and better, more intuitive user interfaces, we risk scaring off a whole new generation of crypto users.
Coinbase has done a great job of bringing a whole population of investors and crypto-curious individuals to the market. By acting as custodians and shielding users from the onus of managing their own private keys and individual wallet addresses, Coinbase has been able to create an experience that is more like a Citi or a Chase account and hence closer to users' current mental framework of financial services. However, this is fundamentally different from the vision of owning and using cryptocurrencies and digital assets in a decentralized economy, as set out as the central tenet of this industry. Synopsis: what's the point of using a disintermediated asset if you're storing your crypto with an intermediary?
Owning your own crypto in your own wallet today, however, is not an easy task, and not for the faint-hearted. When developing DoWallet, we planned for an easy user experience that would be self-explanatory and help users get used to this new framework. We thought we had been thorough in our wizards and messages.
Here are the four top issues our users have faced so far in using a decentralized wallet:
Recovery Phrases are rough: The vast majority of people are not equipped to deal with the recovery phrase. The 12 word mnemonic allows you to restore your wallet and all the access to its funds in any other device, hence, it's very very important to keep this secure. In our experience, it was very hard to convey this importance to users to the extent that they actually take the proper precautions in storing it and keeping it confidential (i.e. not share it via email or save it as a screenshot in their picture roll).
All Sends are final: Sending crypto to the wrong crypto address is the same as sending cash to the wrong address: you're not going to see that money ever again. There is no recourse in crypto. No chargebacks. No calling the bank to try to revert the transaction.
Bitcoin is not compatible with Bitcoin Cash: Since many coins are forks or branches of another coin, there are similarities in formats that might confuse a user. For instance, Bitcoin Cash has three different acceptable address formats, one of which is identical to Bitcoin's (of which it is a fork). Hence, a less experienced user might attempt to send Bitcoin to a Bitcoin Cash address and vice versa. Putting the onus of figuring out compatibilities of the different blockchains (or lack thereof) is probably not the fairest thing you can do a first-time user. At DoWallet we are constantly trying to help users by providing warnings or giving error messages for incompatible transfers, which may result in funds being lost in limbo for hours or permanently.
Some transactions take a while to settle: Due to differing block sizes, mining fees, and other factors, some blockchains take longer to settle a transaction than others. Some of our users were confused and frustrated when they weren't able to use or transfer out funds that showed as 'pending' in their wallets. In a world of instant gratification and immediate information, users expect instant settlement. It's a small price to pay to send money cross borders without a single financial institution, so we try to educate our users on each blockchain and to explain why it's absolutely amazing that we are able to do this today.
Overall, interacting with our users has been awesome. It's great to hear about the different use cases that our users are coming up with to use DoWallet. Several user journeys were complete surprises to us. We are excited about what's coming up next with markets as new assets are tokenized and people look to wallets like ours as a viable alternative to using traditional custodians.