From the Internet era, how does the blockchain move toward consumer applications?

Blockchain technology has spawned the encryption economy, allowing people to see the hope of change. Believers have come up with ideas and plans, and even put into action, hoping to ignite the fire of the encryption economy. However, to this day, blockchain and encryption economy are still a few people's carnival. How to expand the user base of the encryption economy is one of the most important issues at the moment.

Daily life of the internet

As a modern person, if you suddenly break the net, you will definitely feel anxious, uneasy, and even want to beat people and other withdrawal reactions. Do not believe that you can find a restaurant with a bad signal and no WiFi to eat a meal, experience the refreshment of receiving WeChat notifications but can not brush out the content – I believe that you will not even care about the taste of the food, just keep eating and leaving This ghost place. When you rush out of the door to unlock the screen to open the settings and double-click the flight mode in one go, look at the signal that is gradually full, and keep popping up the message – although there is no important information, but – comfortable. "Internet" is the daily life of this era, there is no network? nonexistent.


However, if we expose the age, we will find another kind of daily existence: under the bandwidth of 56 kbps, a picture with very poor definition will also be loaded for tens of seconds, and the network fee is expensive. Select the "Dial-up connection when you need to connect" mode, even if the dialing is very slow every time (commonly known as meow). That is the era when Internet users are still high-end people, the Internet is still very small and expensive, and many families are trying to carry out productive activities such as stock trading. "Not connected to the Internet" is the daily life of that era. Is it necessary to go online? Think of good reasons.


The blockchain is no longer a new term. The skyrocketing of bitcoin and the entry of giants have made it impossible for the world to ignore this field. However, as a value network analogous to the Internet (data network), why has the blockchain not penetrated into people's lives to become our new daily life? If you ask the insiders, in all likelihood, you will get an answer: the threshold is too high.

User perspective: How high is the threshold of the blockchain?

Let's wash off the chain skills of our body first, and try to use the ordinary user, the chain white hand to touch the door.

First hurdle: cognition

You must think that I have to say the help words first? The mnemonic is really annoying, but as an Internet user, you can still recognize that it is a password-like thing, and you can record it. In fact, mnemonics are a very late question. Before that, users must have a basic understanding of the blockchain. To what extent is the foundation? Feel it:

Today, I will introduce you to the blockchain: blockchain is a technology, not a chain of certain materials, nor is it a stock or P2P financing; do you think there is also a P2P in the blockchain? Oh, that's a kind of network transmission technology, not the kind of news that thunders on the news; you said that the news blockchain also runs? Oh, that's something that is scammed by the banner of the blockchain. It's not a real blockchain project. What do you want to do with the blockchain project? For example, Bitcoin is a blockchain cash system that can be used to pay, about 1 hour to the account… It's a bit slow… Well, the fee is a bit expensive… I don't know who did it, but because of the P2P technology. Need to know who… isn't it? It's not the P2P that runs…. Ok, I can't talk about it. You can see the Bitcoin white paper yourself.

If you look funny, it means that your cognition is up to standard: You understand the difference between P2P network and P2P financial platform. You know that Satoshi Satoshi also understands the meaning of decentralization, but you are not a little white. Why can blockchain chickens be popular, and even projects that use blockchain to prevent hackers? That's because ordinary people understand: I don't know technology, but I have heard that the blockchain is characterized by security, traceability, and tampering. Isn't it good to use such "safe" technology to prevent hackers? Putting the information on raising chickens on the chain, I can "trace" the growth course of each chicken. Others are still "not tampering". How good!


Many serious team members are often asked to be impatient when they face Xiaobai. They eventually become "a situation that they don't want to talk to you and throw a white paper at you", and those projects that are big and flicker are actually obtained. The user is sought after, this may be because the insiders are still sitting in the door of the big house, there is no "going out to welcome customers."

Second hurdle: wallet

To enter the world of blockchain, we must first have a wallet, and we still go through the process from a small white perspective:

1. Download a wallet app

(User: Wallet is an app, simple and simple)

2. Click to create a new wallet

(User: It is definitely easy to create new ones)

3. Attention! Next you will see 12 mnemonics, which are important!

(User: What is a mnemonic? How many 12 words do you remember?)

4. □ Ticked to show that you know that once you lose the above words, you will not be able to recover your wallet, we will not store your private key for you, and you will not be able to apply for a recovery account.

(User: So important, it has to be copied and sent to WeChat to collect… and the private key is 啥?)

5. Please record the following words in order and copy them on paper. Never copy and paste these words in a networked environment, your assets may be stolen! ! You can't freeze or retrieve your wallet with an appeal! !

(User: Hey!! So serious? Where do I go to make paper now… Do you want to take a picture, oh)

6. Warning! Using screenshots to back up mnemonics is not safe!

(User: God, am I looking for someone who knows how to do it and ask for it again?

I believe everyone used to come here. The mnemonic effect on Xiao Bai's persuasion effect: a bunch of unspeakable English words are very scary, and the wallet is constantly scaring you with warning messages in various color fonts. Can I not play it? … Although we understand the importance of the mnemonic as a person, it makes sense that it is not appropriate to arrange such a difficult boss in the novice village (Miyazaki Hideo is beaten up), it should be gradual, allowing the user to have enough assets and understand enough. Give him a choice of backup mnemonics, and the user has the motivation and awareness to complete this step.


In fact, there are already some wallets that focus on the user experience. The wallet is optimized in the mnemonic process. It allows the user to skip this step first. Even the default is not to take this step, then prompt and guide later. This is very good. progress. If we think that the encryption economy can achieve greater development, then the wallet is undoubtedly a very important user portal. Who can fully disassemble the user's needs in this step, and lower the threshold of the white user to be low enough, who can enjoy the encryption. The user dividend of the economic tide.

Third hurdle: terminology

Blockchain is the intersection of network technology, cryptography and economics. Unfortunately, practitioners in these three fields before the cross are very fond of creating and using various terms, so naturally, as an intersection In the blockchain field, there are basically high-level languages ​​that "every word can be understood, but don't know what it means" – or a mixture of Chinese, English and alphabetic abbreviations. It can be said that it is very punk.

Xiaobai: What kinds of blockchains are there?

The blockchain can be divided into a public chain and a federated chain according to the read permission . The public chain can be divided into a license chain and a license chain according to the write permission. According to the consensus mechanism, it can be classified into PoW, PoS, DPoS, etc.; pBFT, RAFT or PAXOS reach a deterministic consensus on the number of strongly trusted , limited nodes .

noob:. . .

Even in the usual user scenes, these terms are not willing to give up, from time to time to emerge, to combat a little self-esteem that the user has just established.

I am a little white, I want to play BTC! Start looking at the information:

What is the public key and private key? What is RSA, elliptic curve? UTXO is it? Why do you want 6 block confirmations? Howling will 51 attacks, what will happen on May 1st? What is the case of forks?

I worked hard and understood the meaning of these nouns. Is it enough to play ETH? however:

contract? Who is it signed with? What is gas? What is the difference between gas limit and gas price? How much should I choose? What is ERC-20? How can I not see the transaction (internal transaction) when I play the coin? Do you think that you have to explain it with parentheses? ?

I finally figured out this pile of terms and abbreviations and even the operating mechanism. I feel that I am omnipotent. I am not afraid to listen to others when I go out and mix! I added a group of coins and looked at the newcomer to ask the West. I was smug, and posted my bitcoin address to educate him and said, "Look, this garbled code is my bitcoin address, that is, The public key is converted into a string of base58 format strings by a specific algorithm…" After that, Xiaobai sent a grateful expression, just as I was filled with joy in becoming a big man, someone said:

"Man, your address is not the SegWit address, it is time to upgrade it, or how to use the electricity network? Later is the era of Layer 2, do you know? The rising Dapp and DeFi tide will not catch up… "


Some people say that the threshold is inevitable, because the blockchain is not a technology for ordinary users. Indeed, the current state of the blockchain is like a "trial car" without interiors and dashboards. The details of the external exposure are too numerous, and the users are at a loss and can't use them at all. However, the test-loading car is not the self-proclaimed carmaker, but the polishing before delivery. In the end, it is necessary to lay the skin-friendly interior, install the steering wheel and pedal that people can understand, and integrate it into people's daily life after mass production.


In fact, technologies such as machine learning and AI are harder than the blockchain, but after optimization of consumer product design, they can still be integrated into our lives and become the nerve chip of “sweeping face unlocking”, or Convenience function of "Voice Input". I believe that the blockchain's current infrastructure is still in the "industrial" product stage, which is aimed at professionals; but if the encryption economy needs to be further developed, it is necessary to expand the user base and create user scenarios. What is needed is a "consumer-grade" blockchain product.

Market perspective: from industrial to consumer

"Industrial" and "consumer" are two terms that I have often mentioned recently, because the blockchain format is now very suitable for analogy, and it can sort out some of the puzzles that make people want to break their heads.

The audience of industrial products is the main body of production, and their characteristics are – not bad money, but high requirements. Products at this level tend to be expensive and complex to use, but with superior performance, users are willing to spend a lot of money and time to use them because they can bring more than cost benefits.

The audience of consumer products is the vast number of consumers. To put it bluntly, it is the most common and complicated group. The characteristics of consumers must be familiar to everyone: price sensitive, not demanding, lazy. Therefore, the essence of designing consumer products is to reduce production costs and use costs as much as possible under the condition that the functions can just "clay" consumers, that is, cheap, sufficient, and easy to use. Since the utility of consumption is a psychological value, whether the product function is not up to standard or the use is too complicated, it may cause the consumer to feel "not worth" and lead to failure – of course, if the price is cheap enough, the probability of failure can be reduced. After all, "If you can't buy a dollar, you can't buy it, you can't buy it for a dollar."

Let's take an example of being close to the people. Everyone has seen the router more or less, right, it is to insert a network cable into the box that can be divided into several, and can release the WiFi signal, generally cheap dozens of pieces, expensive one or two hundred, enthusiasts to toss The "smart router" is almost a few hundred, and the octopus in the game's pursuit of the ultimate "eye of the defeated" suit is almost top, about one or two thousand. The usage of the router was very high for Xiaobai, but the current consumer router boot process has become more and more user-friendly. It has been able to set up the network all the way, and even the password for dial-up Internet access. It is very intimate to restore the "one button" to the new one on the old router.


But you may not know that the router used by the enterprise is completely another thing. They are small and look like a one-meter square flat iron box, which can exceed the size of a three-door refrigerator. In many cases, they only have one or two network ports. The WiFi is even more impossible to support. There is no boot setting interface. You must use the command line to code. Ordinary users should be crazy now: Who will use this stuff? But I have to add that their price range is tens of thousands to millions, do you think you want to hit the wall?


If you don't have a consumer router, everyone who wants to go online needs to spend tens of thousands of dollars to buy equipment, and then spend a week or even a month to learn how to use the command line to manage the router (to tell the truth, most people really can't learn). I believe that the Internet will still be a very high-end plaything.

The blockchain has been developing for ten years. Why is it still stuck in the field of "high-end niche"? Let's take a look at the current blockchain product design: garbled address format, horrifying mnemonics, terminology such as "contract call", "private key signature" and "transaction hash", calculated in minutes or even hours. The processing speed, and sometimes the cost of the transaction can not be sent – this is a typical industrial grade product! You are counting on the design of industrial-grade products to make the blockchain popular and civilian, how is it possible!

In order to get rid of the niche, the encryption economy must develop a large number of consumer products. This is the path of Internet development and the secret of commercial eco-prosperity. Here I give some suggestions for designing consumer-grade blockchain products, hoping to be the butterfly that caused you to brainstorm.

Recommendation 1: Break the "curse of knowledge"

Once you know one thing, you can't imagine what it looks like in the eyes of the unknown. This is the so-called curse of knowledge. In fact, I think this is just a beautiful way to cover up the problem – if a product manager can't think about the problem from the perspective of the target user, then the product he designs can only be tailor-made for himself.

Blockchain is a high-knowledge field, but it is not so difficult for Internet users to understand the basic principles and values ​​of the blockchain. Just sink your heart, communicate with users, and constantly understand the blockchain in his eyes and his problems. The way, and constantly compare with myself, I believe that everyone can reap the excitement and joy of the other side, and become a "blockchain product koi."

Recommendation 2: Disassemble the utility point of the blockchain

"What are the advantages of the blockchain?" Such questions have been heard and asked more or less. As a circle insider, we can quickly think of a lot of rhetoric, but stop it – remember the one above? Before making an answer, we'd better let some hardcore information be fully softened, and the utility of the blockchain be better "digested."

For example, "security" is actually a big concept. The security that users understand is often "there is an authority to cover me, I can rest assured", such as the security of the police, the security of bank-managed funds, the process of professional assistance (such as asking a lawyer to review the contract, playing The lawsuit is safe and passive. The security of the blockchain is actually "no one can control my assets and data, and the initiative is always in my own hands." For example, except for the private key, no one can turn away. , freezing, destroying my encrypted assets (under the premise of the blockchain system functioning properly), and no one can restrict me from transferring assets to any part of the world. It is a proactive security, and even more Described as "freedom."

According to this idea, the other concepts can be dismantled and combined with the user's point of reprocessing, the utility of the blockchain can be understood and clearly explained, and the product can be targeted when designing the product.

Proposal 3: Stretching the reins of idealism

  • "Do everything you can to centralize"
  • "Chain arbitration can protect the security of users' assets"
  • "Centralized exchanges are very risky and everyone should use decentralized exchanges."
  • "The mnemonic must be remembered, the hot wallet is not safe, only the cold wallet is the safest."

All of the above are correct. Some of them can even be called the ideals of blockchain practitioners, but if users don't buy them, they can only stay at the ideal level and never be able to shine into reality.

I also have these ideals. I hope that everyone can stick to these ideals in their hearts, but I would say that when designing consumer products, you must not let your user thinking be defeated by idealism. After all, for the user, the best for you is the best; for consumer products, the user is really good.

Recommendation 4: Layered design

As a distributed system, blockchain must sacrifice certain efficiency in order to achieve global consensus. Therefore, the performance problem is a big problem that is currently faced by the public chain. So is improving the performance of the main chain is not a solution? According to the above discussion, if the user's security requirements are significantly lower than the performance requirements, then the sacrifice of consensus to improve efficiency is a feasible consumer solution. The most typical example of this is the DPoS public chain. In fact, it is true. Received support from many users. However, as time progressed, the weaknesses in the consensus were exposed. Some people complained that the committee did not act after the money was lost, complaining that the big nodes were using power for personal gain. At this time, users found that the utility of consensus security improved, because the performance is good, and the assets you produce are also Not guaranteed. So improving the performance of the main chain is a solution, but not good enough, because it shakes the most basic value of this product.

In fact, the five-tier (or seven-tier) model of the Internet is the best example: any problem is at a complex stage. If the current method does not solve the problem, it can be solved by adding one more layer. In the blockchain field, the underlying public chain is the consensus layer. This is the most fundamental value foundation for the upper application. We should let the underlying layer maintain this, and put the application related issues such as performance and privacy on the upper level. This is The layered idea of ​​blockchain. Now the discussion about Layer 1 and Layer 2 is more and more enthusiastic. The idea of ​​layered design is gradually gaining popularity. As a designer of consumer blockchain products, we also need to use the concept of layering to make Layer 1 and Layer 2 each. As for his duties, some seemingly unsolvable problems will suddenly become more and more open.

The Future: Consumer Blockchain Needs More Flexible Infrastructure

It’s hard to be a good woman. If the infrastructure of the blockchain is still at the level of “big brother”, no matter how much our developers are, how can the product koi be opened and it can’t be done on it. Fast and WeChat. In order to produce a consumer-grade blockchain product with a good experience, we need a flexible infrastructure that allows us to leverage the user's needs while leveraging the key utility points of the blockchain.

According to the idea of ​​layered design, we first need a Layer 1 underlying chain that is sufficiently secure to carry the "asset security" or "data security" utility point. In addition, the underlying chain is also best to maintain a high degree of flexibility in the design of the virtual machine, so that you do not need to often upgrade the underlying layer for the upper layer requirements (refer to SegWit), increase the risk of hard fork, and maintain Layer 1 The stability can also make the Layer 2 get rid of the cockroach and make full use of it.

Then, we need a Layer 2 framework that is close enough to the user to provide developers with a free, user-friendly, one-stop solution. Such a Layer 2 framework needs to break the curse of knowledge, abandon idealism, design products from the perspective of the user, and then pass the idea to the developer. Like WeChat's small program design specification, it is a very valuable user habit guide for developers. Layer 2 must fully disassemble the utility of the partition blockchain and design different combinations, making it easier for developers to produce consumer-grade blockchain products, allowing users to understand the advantages of blockchain products more directly.

With Layer 1 and Layer 2 in this way, developers can continue to try to break through the barriers of the encrypted world and the atomic world with the principles of first use. The blockchain is indeed relatively niche, and the encryption economy is still in its embryonic stage. Some insiders don’t believe that the blockchain can have the same universality as the Internet, and it will only become a new financial facility, but I don’t. think. From the smooth operation of Bitcoin in the past ten years to the ecological prosperity brought by Ethereum, there is a historical shadow, but there are also some new fires. I believe that the technology and philosophy of the blockchain will bring about a series of changes as the society advances, and ordinary users will also get used to the daily life of the encryption economy.

Let us revisit the scene at the beginning: two eras, two everyday, incomprehensible to each other, but another line. Each era has cognitive limitations. It is not necessarily worthless to understand the value. Incomprehensible needs may become customary in the future. For the possibility of the future, we must have awe, borrow a sentence from the "Three-body":

Weakness and ignorance are not obstacles to survival, but arrogance is.

Author: Zhixian, head of LITEX Lab product .