The sphere of money transfers and the narrower sphere of cryptocurrency payments is developing fast thanks to the rapid evolution of global digital infrastructure. Only a few people anticipated this turn of events back in 1990s. The following material is aimed to provide a quick overview of the most promising ways to pay with cryptocurrency from the user’s perspective. Two major aspects of user experience will be discussed — interface and fee policy.
The history of cryptocurrency wallet services is in deep conjunction with the history of Bitcoin and other coins. The interface, an integral part of front-end, varies from wallet to wallet. When opening a wallet, the user expects to see an easy-to-understand software or website, and the vast majority of popular cryptocurrency wallets have managed to solve this task. The user fee, in turn, is one of the most integral parts of back-end, and here it’s important to demonstrate what is being paid in addition to the main transaction.
Sometimes cryptocurrency wallets can take unusual forms. The fees mechanism is not used in Dharma.io, a cryptocurrency service which recently announced the integration of payments via Twitter. Instead, one-tenth of the interest generated by user deposits is taken. The integration with Twitter is made via linking a wallet account with your Twitter account, effectively making the special Twitter bot know what address is associated with it. There are, however, some serious downsides connected with this payment tool: if you lose your Twitter account, you might lose the money on a wallet linked with it, and the only cryptocurrency accepted today is dToken. In this case, a large part of customer pool who only wants to use Bitcoin is being scared away. It’s probable that Twitter and other social networks will introduce their own payment systems in the future, but the current market of cryptocurrency is viewed as small and risky by tech giants. The situation might change over time.
While still being under active development, in-chat payments may become as common as cryptocurrency wallets during this decade. Again, the main selling point of this payment instrument is easy interface. The back-end of cryptocurrency in-chat payments is currently their biggest weakness. Today everyone can use Telegram Bots to accept fiat payments, and the same cannot be said about Telegram Open Network — the large system with its own payment token. Its release was repeatedly postponed in 2018 showing how difficult the blockchain technology can be at the building phase. In 2020, the additional regulatory challenge connected with the United States financial authorities has further hampered the work on this promising infrastructure. When looking at fiat in-chat payment systems, for instance, WeChat, one can see the main feature necessary for the future similar blockchain-based solutions: low fees.
What’s the real problem we can see from this overview? The biggest challenge for cryptocurrency payment services when it comes to user experience is to combine back-end and front-end in a way that the user base would be pleased. While there are some interesting deviations from the standard concept of a cryptocurrency wallet and in-chat payments may improve in the future, you can’t expect everybody to use your brand cryptocurrency, as Bitcoin makes over half of the crypto market as a whole, and you surely can’t set high or hidden fees and expect popularity.