Over the past few years, we all have heard the term “blockchain” at least once. But not all of us know what this technology exactly is, why we need to use it and what benefits it can give to companies and professionals. Turns out, it’s really going to have a huge impact both on our daily lives and on our working experience.
Generally, blockchain is a decentralized system that allows for a fast, secure and transparent peer-to-peer transfer of digital goods. And it is a continuously growing list of records, called blocks, which are linked and secured using cryptography.
Now let’s highlight some reasons why developers, creatives and UX designers should pay strong attention to this new technology and always stay up-to-date.
Information in the blockchain can be trusted, as they are verified by a technically enforceable consensus. Even if the network contains black sheep, you can trust its judgment as a whole.
Because blockchain is such a sought-after and versatile technology, a number of large technology firms have embraced it and started offering a blockchain-as-a-service facility.
These include Amazon Web Services, Microsoft Azure Blockchain Service, and IBM Blockchain Platform. The rise of these services means that blockchain is becoming more widely used. Keep an eye on this space, this is only the beginning.
There are two important features that could be leveraged for the use in the creative industry: Transactions are verified and approved by consensus among participants in the network, making fraud more difficult. The technology operates on a distributed, rather than centralized, platform, with each participant having access to exactly the same ledger records. This allows participants to enter or leave at will and providing resilience against attacks. There are some key forces of blockchain technology to serve as a platform to protect “creative” people:
- Enable smart contracts
- Establish transparent person-to-person transactions
- Promote dynamic, efficient pricing
- Establish a reliable reputation
In many ways, blockchain presents the same UX challenges as digital design generally. Web design changes from static to flexible. This represents a massive opportunity for designers to shape a still-young industry. Here are some tips for UX designers:
- Know your user: as blockchain platforms reach mass adoption, designers need to consider their shifting user base.
- Account for processing time: because transactions on blockchain take dramatically longer than in a centralized network — it currently takes about ten minutes to confirm a bitcoin transaction — users need information on their status and progress during this time.
- Call attention to one-way doors: blockchain transactions are irreversible once they’ve been validated by the network — there’s no tolerance for typos. So designers need to create points of friction for users before they pass through one-way doors.
Place the blockchain on your agenda now; strategically, tactically, operationally and educationally.
When using a product built on the blockchain, most users won’t understand the underlying protocol. Fortunately, they don’t need to. Instead, they need to learn to trust a “trustless” technology.
The blockchain technology is both intriguing and exciting. Could it be the revolution that gurus predict? Or is it just a speculative bubble based on an impractical idea? We’ll see.