If you want to trade, sell, purchase, or collect Web3 assets like cryptocurrency or NFTs, you need a crypto wallet to facilitate sending, receiving, and storing to keep everything safe.
However, not all wallets are the same.
The crypto wallet landscape is vast but dominated by a few key players. Not because they offer the best user interface or connectivity but because they became adopted and industry-standard down to a lack of options. However, even crypto natives will agree that crypto wallets in their current guise are not user-friendly.
Arguably, the user interface is what holds the Web3 industry back. Convenience rules in a world where people tend to rush, and brilliant minds sometimes don’t think of consumers’ needs first. So a complex web of responsibility, seed phrases, and passwords await new users, with no line of discourse should things go wrong.
Nonetheless, according to a report by Triple-A, as of 2022, it is estimated that there will be more than 320 million cryptocurrency users worldwide. Even if each has one wallet, the percentage of global adoption is frighteningly low at around 0.4%. The tech can be amazing, but only a few users will appear unless it has a suitable interface.
The interface has to make sense for what people want to do with the tech. But, more vitally, for any blockchain company to break through the noise and appeal to a mass audience, they must look to provide convenient tools that potentially obfuscate blockchain technology entirely so that native Web2 users will understand and grow to adapt.
This presents a clear opportunity for emerging Web 3.0 companies to take a stab at solving the useability and onboarding problem currently facing the blockchain and decentralized application industry.
Chicken and egg
Blockchain technology is still developing and fractured. Consumer-facing products using smart contracts rely heavily on a stack of development tools. Tools need to communicate and function alongside each other without friction. If the underlying infrastructure fails, fixing the wallet user experience is impossible.
Many companies are approaching the pain point from an outsider’s perspective, trying to fix a problem without first addressing the underlying cause of the issue. On the other hand, UK-born layer one blockchain Radix is approaching the problem from the ground up with a full-stack in-house solution to take on the challenge.
Which, alongside its Radix Engine platform for building decentralized finance and Web3 applications, could put Radix on the map. The company showcased its engine at its recent virtual RadFi event, with CEO Piers Ridyard pledging to deliver the Unity engine of DeFi.
However, as explained, the Unity engine of DeFi needs a user-friendly wallet for end users. If Radix is the platform for mainstream Web 3.0, they need to rethink the concept of a digital wallet from the essentials. It needs to make it easy to hold digital assets securely.
Radix Wallet under the hood
At the aptly named RadFi event, Chief Product Officer Matthew Hine outlined the Radix vision for a complete Web 3.0 wallet. Starting with the fact Radix had to integrate five new technologies to support solving the user experience puzzle. Starting with the most significant pain point, seed phrases.
Radix claims its smart accounts idea can give people a secure decentralized wallet without having to deal with complicated seed phrases. Instead, they work as containers for assets with multi-signature signing and multifactor recovery baked in. So, for example, if you lose your phone, the smart account will recover access without a seed phrase and without trusting a centralized service.
Complimenting smart accounts are Personas, which are like smart accounts, but for identity. They use the same on-ledger multifactor security features as smart accounts, but they control access to log in instead of holding tokens. Matthew Hine says soon, logging into Web 3.0 applications on Radix will be as simple as a tap on the phone.
Alongside these tools is Radix Connect, which creates a secure connection directly between the Radix Wallet on your mobile phone and dApps running on your desktop. As a result, everything can stay protected and accessible, and there is no need for a centralized service in the middle to make it happen.
A relatively simple but significant issue for everyday users of Web 3.0 is that a wallet needs to be able to show what assets are inside it in near real time. So, for example, when refreshing balances on MetaMask, the app is not calling simple value data. Instead, it’s communicating with a smart contract on the blockchain to retrieve an accurate figure.
That’s why it doesn’t always work well, and providing a banking app experience is not so simple. Radix proposes native assets so the network understands assets as real objects held inside smart accounts. That means the wallet can always show everything inside it at any moment. Moreover, Radix says the whole point is that native assets make digital ownership real.
The final piece outlined in the nearly two-hour-long RadFi event was improvements to the transaction manifest that promise to eliminate uncertainty when reviewing and signing transactions. Which, although last on the list, is quite a leap.
Radix will completely change how transactions work on their network with transaction manifests. They will relay more than just a message to a smart contract and fully represent what a user wants using a set of instructions, like what assets to withdraw, where assets go, and what assets should come back.
This seems like an evident approach, but no other network does it for some reason. The result is that the Radix Wallet can read the transaction manifest and show users what will happen when they sign.
Portal to Web 3.0
Numerous layer-one blockchains are gunning for significance amidst the changing landscape of consumer needs. Add to this several thousand third-party providers looking to build onboarding solutions.
Nonetheless, the Radix Wallet promised by the team feels like the culmination of almost a decade’s work in crypto. More importantly, it looks familiar and appealing to anybody. They will need to deliver and start getting their tools in the hands of developers and users to stay ahead in the layer one contest.
Blending the appeal of Web 2.0 features and useability into blockchain applications while simultaneously providing the infrastructure for developers to build ‘Instagram on the blockchain’ feels like a surefire way to embrace the masses.
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