Up to this date, more than 2,000 various tokens were issued by ICOs. That’s a lot of tokens, but what do we do with them? In terms of usability, crypto and the blockchain can be compared with the DOS era of personal computers, when only computer geeks were comfortable in the environment. All that changed with the advent of Microsoft Windows. That was the point when the global adoption of home computers began. We’re currently in a similar position with blockchain projects. Most projects have utility tokens that are required when accessing their respective platforms, but it’s too hard for an average user to handle them. What can be done to improve user experience? We’ll try to find out in this article.
- 1 The problem: wallets for sophisticated users
- 2 Don’t consider it cryptocurrency, think of it as a resource
- 3 Real examples of working application wallets
- 4 How many wallets do we need?
The problem: wallets for sophisticated users
If you’ve ever opened a MyEtherWallet, you might understand the initial confusion that arises when you see 10 pages of warning messages, how to properly use it, and how not to lose all of your funds. When you dig deeper, you get bombarded with unknown words like “metamask”, ” JSON file”, “private key”, “mnemonic phrase”. Hold on a second! I just wanted to send my tokens to someone. Can I get something simpler?
The current generation of crypto wallets expect their users to have some kind of a technical background. One of the proposed ways to use MyEtherWallet is to download the source code and run it locally. It gets even harder if you want to send Bitcoins – many wallets require downloading the whole blockchain in order to use the wallet, and some users may find this totally inconvenient. What does an average user want? They want to open the wallet without thinking about the underlying process, to conduct the transaction, and then close it. But trying to use all these decentralized projects demands the management of all these tokens.
What is the easiest way to handle payments and funds for a modern user? Through a smartphone, of course! There are 2.5 billion smartphone users in the world today and 63% of all users prefer the mobile Internet over the old-fashioned desktop computers. So, the guaranteed way to spread adoption and facilitate blockchain usage is to release wallets for each token. So, how is this possible?
Don’t consider it cryptocurrency, think of it as a resource
To understand the kind of solution we need, we have to shift our outlook on utility tokens. Basically, these tokens were issued not to serve as some kind of currency, but to provide access to the functionality of decentralized applications. They can be compared to fuel in the car – you can trade it, but it has only value because it can be used to put the car in motion.
Bloomberg’s Matt Levine also gave a good explanation about this, comparing utility tokens to a Starbucks card: “A Starbucks gift card is probably not a security, even though you pay money to a corporation for the card and expect to get back something in the future, because you are not investing the money in the expectation of profit: You’re investing it in the expectation of coffee.” There are various expectations from various decentralized applications: some advertisers can be interested in place ads on decentralized advertising platforms, such as the Brave ecosystem, or some businesses want to integrate crypto payments and decentralized billing, such as the Request Network, into their operations. Or maybe they simply want to subscribe to an interesting sports channel on a decentralized video platform like BOLT.
So it’s a bit more like certificates or loyalty points that can be exchanged to redeem something, right? If we treat utility tokens this way, we could make this conclusion – it’s perfectly natural for every store and company to release its own mobile app for storing and using these loyalty points.
Now that we’ve established that, we can see the whole picture regarding utility tokens and their wallets. Only 10% of all utility tokens are actually being used and we can safely guess that the percentage of projects with actual token use AND their own wallets is even less. But at least we have great examples of such projects.
Real examples of working application wallets
Generally, all utility tokens can be handled via the same wallets, as the majority of them are built on Ethereum. So there’s a lot more wallets for managing these tokens out there, but here we only care about the convenience for the end user. Not many projects with ERC20 tokens bother to release a wallet, but there are some exceptions and by using these wallets the user experience becomes much better.
Nebulas – It’s a “Google for the blockchain,” as some people call it, and it helps to search for various decentralized applications in various blockchains and rank them according to its own inner metrics. It has its own blockchain with smart contracts and it has a native token called NAS. This token can be used as a currency and as payment for running smart contracts. For managing NAS assets, Nebulas developers released mobile app wallets for both iOS and Android. It has only a few buttons – “send” and “receive”. It also allows users to create a wallet if they don’t have one.
Request Network – This is a payment system that aims to make cryptocurrencies integrated to our everyday lives by providing secure integration interfaces. It’s already possible to add a crypto payment plugin, developed by Request, to your site to start receiving crypto payments. It’s also possible to create bills that request payments from any Ethereum address. The goal of the team is to create a friendly ecosystem for handling these payments not through addresses but through the actual names of people and companies registered on the network. The REQ token is used to pay for these services. The friendly mobile app wallet for Android is almost ready, and it can be used not only to handle REQ tokens but for storing and sending any ERC20, ERC223, and ERC721 tokens. The new wallet can be created in seconds and any payment can also be made in that time – just scan the QR code, approve the transaction, and that’s it! The iOS wallet will soon be released as well.
BOLT – That’s a decentralized video streaming network for emerging markets with limited bandwidth. They give access to many channels, including Al Jazeera, Discovery Channel, Citizen TV, Channel NewsAsia, and all user-generated content for BOLT tokens. Their BOLT app is available on Android and it’s good for watching content and managing tokens. The content is optimized for watching shows with low bandwidth and you can instantly get access to hours of video by paying for a few BOLT tokens.
Eidoo – This is a multicurrency mobile wallet designed for maximum simplicity when managing ERC20 tokens, ETH, and BTC holdings. It also has a native EDO token that can be used as a debit card and for paying fees on a hybrid exchange. All private keys are stored on the device and can be backed up in one second. The new wallet can be created just as fast. It already has more than 400,000 downloads, which is quite impressive.
How many wallets do we need?
Let’s imagine that we live in a decentralized world where all applications are decentralized. Statistics suggest that an average smartphone owner uses nine apps per day and 30 per month. Does this mean that we’ll have to use that many tokens and wallets?
It’s entirely possible in this case that we’ll be able to manage them all via one particular mobile wallet application for all types of currencies, and then use decentralized applications without having to bother tokens, because all of them would be stored at one address and associated with one person. If necessary, these apps will have the feature to sendreceive their own token directly from your smartphone, but it won’t be a popular feature. When an average user wants to watch a sports game, he’ll be able to open the BOLT app and watch it without having to think about tokens. It’s convenient to think about it only once a month along with managing other household bills. But it’s also a handy feature to see the balance in the app itself, so the possibility to manage tokens inside the app is necessary. Some people will continue to make token transactions via the old-school wallets, such as MyEtherWallet, and managing tokens will become incredibly easy. It’ll be just as easy as using today’s regular mobile apps, and that’s the key to adoption.
Thanks to the Howtotoken Agency experts for the information and comments provided for this topic.
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