Know your user
This article actually had some really insightful ideas, but I just wish we could retire this kind of design platitude. If your "point" can apply to literally every single thing ever designed, then it's not really a point…
I like to consider myself a relatively intelligent person.
That is why it is bothering me that articles like this read like absolute, complete nonsense.
I understand what blockchain IS, but, for the life of me I cannot understand why it would ever be worth anything at all.
Machines solving complicated mathematical problems in order to add another invisible "block" to an invisible "chain" in return for payment? What? Why? How in the world is this useful? What could we possibly be designing that would need to take the actions of a CPU in creating these invisible things into account?
The key point is shared, distributed trust.
The only protocol which is decentralized enough is Bitcoin. How can you trust any protocol just because of the word "blockchain"? Doesn't mean anything. Don't trust, verify.
I’m not suggesting having “blockchain” in the name of anything makes it trustworthy, but that is what the technology can offer. That is entirely what it does — it verifies instances of the blockchain against other instances to form a consensus. It doesn’t mean it can’t be gamed, but that is the core premise of what it does.
If you don’t need shared, distributed trust, you probably don’t need a blockchain.
I'm an engineer and there is no "blockchain technology". Doesn't exist. There is a Bitcoin technology where SHA-2 256 and a set of rules will produce a chained data structure to timestamp the state of the network but it doesn't mean this is a technology. The technology is Merkle Tree and Cryptographic Hash Function. You're welcome.
Right. See. None of what you guys just said helped. lol
Why in the WORLD am I seeing this everywhere and why are people paying through the nose for BTC when it appears to be nothing I couldn't do myself by just slapping my keyboard on a notepad document for an hour.
If I showed up with ten billion lines of that on a USB drive, would I get a Ferrari?
It's possible, here's a good example of what the tech enables. Here's life today, let's say you wanted to buy a Ferrari and you had $300k in your bank account. You could out right buy it in cash but of course that's a bad investment and most people take a loan to make payments on a car. In order to get a loan for your down payment (to ensure you get lower interest rates long term) you'd have to go to a bank and request a loan. The bank then would do a bunch of calculations as to whether you'll be able to make this payment or not based on all the things you own, cash in the bank, credit checks, etc. They would then possibly say you're approved at a certain interest rate (because all the people involved in giving you that money have to get paid somehow). Think about the UX of this situation, you just wanted to buy a Ferrari and you're at the dealership, there's a lot of people involved just to make that happen because they need to make sure they can trust you on making that payment.
Here's what life could look like with the power of the blockchain taking https://saltlending.com/ for example. Say you need $40k for a downpayment, you would just open your app and make a request. Now let's assume some of your $300k in the bank/assets you own is also due to owning some crypto's like Bitcoin. This app then says ok Andrew has $150k worth of Bitcoin in his account. If he agree's to forfeit $40k (+ interest) worth of his Bitcoin to whoever agrees to loan him $40k in dollars we can get him $40k dollars right now. Here's where things get cool with blockchain, decentralization, and technology. The system can make a smart contract (you can think of this as literally a paper contract/agreement but digital so that means it only needs code to run rather than people agreeing to start the contract because they saw it in real life). A smart contract is made that "takes" your $40k+ worth of bitcoin and puts it on the contract, this makes it so that you can't spend that bitcoin BUT it's still your bitcoin, its only in the contract in case you can't make your $40k payment over the lifetime of your loan (in the current world people use their houses for example as collateral). What's cool about this is you still own your investment, it's just used as collateral to ensure you payback who loaned you the money. That's ultimately what banks do but they have to do all sorts of stuff like run credit checks (cost money), check out your current assets (costs money/people time), admin work (people/money), potential debt collectors (people, hassle) etc. Then they need to issue you all sorts of paperwork that you sign agreeing to the terms. But since we're using the blockchain, all of that is abstracted away, so now the user can keep their investment it's only used as collateral that you're guaranteed to be able to payback the loan, you pay lower fee's and interest because there's less middlemen involved so there's less money needed to make it profitable, and they can make this transaction happen almost instantly. At the end of the day, everyone wins. If you don't fulfill the smart contract and can't pay the terms of the loan, the person gets your $40k worth of bitcoin (minus what you've already paid) instantly without any issues. If you do fulfill the smart contract, you get your bitcoin "back" instantly without any issues, again this is all happening with code not people so you can imagine it being done with big and small amounts in the thousands if not millions at a time. Now you can take this a step further (because its digital), let's say everyone on DN had $500 worth of spare cash, in the future they could pool this onto a network that then handles all of these loans automatically (because its digital), so now everyone on DN makes money and gets to help others rather than the banks.
Overall design is a very important aspect of crypto's and sorely lacking, things like: communication design for clarity as you've seen in this thread alone, game theory to ensure all players in the ecosystem are properly incentivized, product design for viral loops/easy onboarding, and more.
I hope this helps, it might not be totally accurate but I hope it gets the point across of the difference between the world today and what the world could be.
Lol! We were able to do it even before Bitcoin. Using Ethereum doesn't mean trust. Ethereum and Bitcoin are IT protocols. So its come up with a scripting language which mean that can automate thing such as any other programming languages. The difference is that to keep the same state of the network it as a cost. Sometime (when centralized) you don't need to pay this cost while you are THE consensus. The development governance of Ethereum is centralized. How to verify SALT to be decentralized: no Whitepaper and no open source code. You align 3 buzzwords without understanding what its mean.
let's say everyone on DN had $500 worth of spare cash, in the future they could pool this onto a network that then handles all of these loans automatically (because its digital), so now everyone on DN makes money and gets to help others rather than the banks.
This is super interesting right here. I would love to have this application exist as soon as possible.
That's not fair. Not everyone needs to know all the terms behind the technology. It is totally reasonable for "blockchain technology" can refer to the applications of different technologies so that everyone with different backgrounds can be on the same page.
blockchain techology is a trap. It's definite as secure and immutable which is not the case. An IT protocol within a consensus algorithm earn by network effect and adoption its security time by time. The more accurate word should be proofware technology : if you can verify it, then you can trust it.
Imagine not having to fill out medical history forms every single time you go to the doctor because your health records are stored on a blockchain system vs siloed databases owned by insurance cos.
Sharing medical records—as a single source of truth—would greatly improve healthcare outcomes.
That I can understand.
What I can't understand is what, at all, that has to do with currency, design, or basically anything outside of situations exactly like that.
Blockchain is a type of "architecture"—a high level way to build something. Healthcare, currency, finance, almost anything digital.
As designers, we should understand this kind of architecture to deliver situations like I described.
As designers, we should understand this kind of architecture to deliver situations like I described.
You've said it really well here. Even if we don't want to build with it right now, it is still critical to be interested in the technology and possibilities that will be shaping our technology future.
I work at IBM, over past year or so I’ve almost exclusively on blockchain projects (4 in total). I can say emphatically that “designing for blockchain” is steaming pile of sh*t, because it doesn’t exist!
Designing for blockchain projects is no different from designing for other platforms.
I'm sorry but you didn't understand what is a distributed ledger protocol. Chained data-structure exist for year. We better audit the neutrality in the system. Today only Bitcoin is decentralized and the more it become mainstream the more we centralize the system (ASICs manufacturer, IFO and such...). Ethereum is centralized. The protocol updates through centralized Hard Fork patch made the Ethereum Foundation.
Here's a cool take by a product designer on a popular blockchain based game https://medium.com/@TweetAnnaMarie/cryptokitties-and-whats-next-in-the-world-of-crypto-critters-fc158f271cef. A lot of it relates to game design, but I think the concept of getting around the cold start to jump start a network is very interesting.
The Fart app stage for crpytocurrency. This is just the beginning. Useful cryptocurrency apps will eventually come.
Edit: It looks like there's https://digix.global/ It allows Proof of Asset for Gold.
The intro of the article is pretty good, the take-aways a bit too generic. What's exciting for me is that this technology is new and evolving. So as a UX designer, you can help shape the tech itself to create better experiences long-term. There's a of course plenty of the usually usability and styling work to do, but I can think we do more. It's a very developer-heavy community right now and more designers and front-end devs are needed.
Disclaimer: I started working with the Monero team on redesigning their wallet recently. Pretty excited about the project right now. Ping me if you would like to chat about it. Here's the design repo.