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Breakpoint 2023: Want a Better User Experience? Let's Kill the Wallet

JP Bedoya of Civic proposes a radical simplification of onboarding to Web3 by eliminating the need for wallets and improving the overall user experience.

The notes below are AI generated and may not be 100% accurate. Watch the video to be sure!


During his talk at Breakpoint 2023, JP Bedoya, the Chief Product Officer at Civic, challenged the status quo of the Web3 user experience with a provocative proposition: kill the wallet. Bedoya highlighted the cumbersome aspects of current Web3 onboarding processes, including managing seed phrases, conducting Know Your Customer (KYC) procedures, and transferring crypto assets. He argued that the requirement for wallets in the experience is an unnecessary barrier, proposing alternatives like email-based logins and simplifying the transition toward self-sovereignty and self-custody. Bedoya's vision includes using established Web3 tools and making strategic design decisions to foster a user-friendly environment that still upholds the principles of decentralization and ownership intrinsic to blockchain technology.

Key Points:

Eliminating the Wallet and Simplifying Onboarding

JP Bedoya presents a compelling case for rethinking how new users are introduced to Web3 platforms, emphasizing the need to improve user experience by removing the complexities and security concerns associated with traditional cryptocurrency wallets. The reliance on seed phrases, learning curves related to scams and research, and zero-balance welcome screens are seen as obstacles that could scare away potential users. His alternative involves streamlining the entry process with familiar authentication methods such as using email addresses for initial sign-ins.

Civic's Product Innovation and Design Principles

Civic, through their product, experiments with alternatives to conventional wallets, enabling connections through email and social accounts without immediate requirement for self-managed private keys. Bedoya outlines three design principles: managed wallets by service providers, the use of MPC wallets that balance security with ease-of-use, and leveraging PDAs (Program Derived Addresses) which is unique to Solana for managing digital assets. These technologies permit a gradual introduction to Web3 without overwhelming the user.

Forward-Looking User Experience Strategies

In his speech, Bedoya discusses rent and network fees, advocating for their subsidization to remove financial barriers for users. Furthermore, he points to compression technology as a means to reduce costs and enhance scalability across platforms. Bedoya also calls for adoption of self-custody wallets while recognizing that they should be integrated later in the user journey, ensuring users are ready for the responsibility that comes with controlling their digital assets.

Facts + Figures

  • JP Bedoya is the Chief Product Officer at Civic, an identity management service.
  • Civic has been contributing to the Solana ecosystem for several years.
  • Bedoya critiques the initial Web3 user experience as being intimidating due to the potential of losing assets and facing scams.
  • The speaker proposes alternatives to the traditional wallet-dependent onboarding process, suggesting a user experience that starts with something as simple as an email login.
  • Hosted MPC wallets and services like MetaKey, Web3Auth, and MagicLink offer managed wallet solutions.
  • The strategy includes the use of PDAs, enabled by Solana's technology, to manage cryptography for users.
  • Bedoya encourages subsidizing network fees and utilizing compression technology to reduce costs and increase scalability.
  • Self-custody remains an essential aspect according to Bedoya, but it should be introduced progressively to users.
  • Examples of email-based Web3 applications include SolarPlex and Liquid Collect.

Top quotes

  • "So we've got to kill the wallet. So how do we invite people today to come to Web3?"
  • "Do we really, really need a wallet to experience Web3?"
  • "What do we want? We want to maintain speed. We want to leverage the low costs. We want to maintain decentralization and of course, ownership."
  • "Can we just start with something simple? Like an email to log in?"

Questions Answered

Why does JP Bedoya believe the traditional crypto wallet is a barrier for new users?

JP Bedoya points out that the traditional wallet setup process, with its complex seed phrases and susceptibility to scams, is intimidating for newcomers to Web3. This creates friction and can dissuade potential users from adopting and continuing to use blockchain applications.

What alternatives to wallets does JP Bedoya propose?

JP Bedoya proposes user-friendly onboarding methods, such as logging in with an email address, connecting social accounts, and managed wallets, to simplify and secure the entry process into Web3, making it more accessible to a broader audience.

How does Bedoya's vision maintain the principles of blockchain?

Despite advocating for simplification, Bedoya stresses the importance of speed, low costs, decentralization, and ownership in the Web3 experience. His strategy suggests a balance between user-friendly solutions and retaining the blockchain's foundational aspects.

What are the potential benefits of subsidizing network fees, according to Bedoya?

Subsidizing network fees can potentially remove financial barriers that discourage users from engaging with Web3 applications. This approach could make it more affordable for developers to offer free initial interactions, leading to an increase in adoption rates.

How can Self-custody fit into a simplified Web3 experience?

Self-custody is key for digital sovereignty but Bedoya believes it should not be an immediate concern for new users. Instead, it can be introduced as users become more acquainted with the ecosystem, thus providing a more manageable learning curve.