Designing the Right Experience for Trading Bitcoins

Nikila Kothari

Our entire world is built on currency exchange. At its core, Money represents a means of exchange or trade. We have changed money several times in history. Money already takes many forms and is evolving into new ones.

From Bartering to Bitcoin

With a constant demand for ways to ensure businesses can trade easily new innovations are constantly being introduced and refined. And in this run now we have Electronic money like Bitcoin which has entered the mainstream.

What is Bitcoin?

  • Bitcoin, invented in 2009 by Satoshi Nakamoto, is a digital asset and a payment system. It is the first decentralized cryptocurrency.
  • It is an open source software which means just like no one owns internet, there is no person, company or country which owns Bitcoin network, Unlike paper currencies backed with government authorities.
  • The entire trading system is peer to peer which means users can transact directly without an intermediary like a bank or an advisory company.
  • Only 21 million bitcoins will be created ever for circulation.
  • Bitcoin is scarce, divisible, durable and it is highly portable, unlike cash or gold which are tangible assets.

Bitcoins are stored in your digital wallets and can be easily traded and accessed through any mobile device or computer. So, you can transfer money anywhere around the world without having to worry about banks or forex agents instantly at minimum charges. World’s biggest companies like Dell, Microsoft, Expedia, Paypal, etc have started accepting bitcoins.

So, Where do you trade Bitcoins?
A bitcoin exchange is a site that facilitates trading bitcoins for fiat currencies or other digital currencies and vice versa. Bitcoin exchanges also provide you with the service of storing your bitcoins. Trading bitcoins means speculating with their value in relation to another currency, let’s say the INR where 1 BTC = 76,624 INR.

Buying bitcoins at low spots and selling at higher spots is obviously anyone’s objective, and thus for that, you either need to be lucky or use a good trading platform where you can see the daily trends, news and any information required to take smart decisions. Being able to buy and sell instantly as well as being able to send bitcoins to another user are some of the other functions. All that functions performed on a bitcoin trading platform of your laptop, phone or tablet.

Let’s model a scenario where a person who is a newbie to bitcoin is planning to trade on a bitcoin exchange platform. As a first time user, what will be his expectations from the platform?

  • The user has a fixed job, so he is looking for a platform that allows him to sell or buy bitcoins during the day quickly from his phone (maybe a bitcoin mobile app will be helpful).
  • Since he is a first time user, he will need minimum understanding about Bitcoin. Tutorials or any basic help tips available will be useful.
  • Important news which the user has to be informed, sent as notifications to his phone which briefly notifies the user, lets him buy or sell.
  • Price alert: The user should get notified when his desire price gets real like for example if he wants to buy 1 Bitcoin at $990, and right now they’re at $1049, the user should be able to set an alert at $990, so that whenever it hits $990 he would be notified and he could check out what trend is going on, and maybe he could wait longer to buy cheaper, or If he believes that’s the lowest it can get, he can buy instantly.
  • Similarly the user should also be able to set an alert for selling such as, for e.g. you buy right now at $1000 and want to sell at $1052, the user just have to set a limit such that when the price hits that amount, it automatically sells, this way the user doesn’t risk too much.
    The user interface should be simple, visually intuitive with a simple login, for even beginners to understand the platform.
  • The homepage should have a dashboard with charts showing previous trends, current price BTX-USD, bitcoin converter, lowest last bitcoin price, highest last bitcoin price, buy button, new order button, etc which shows important metrics upfront to the user.
  • Easy payment method which lets the user to buy through a credit card/ debit card/ Paypal or any payment method.
  • Also, the user should be provided with some wallets for cold storage such that when buying or selling, it is safer just to transfer in and out of the cold wallet to the hot trading exchange platform.
  • And above all this, the most important thing the user would expect is security of the website and server

There are already some platforms that are trying to make bitcoin trading simpler. The current bitcoin exchange platforms are not that well presented for a broad demand, for experts to dummies.

Let’s take up an example of Kraken for this, Difficulties what we faced are listed below

  1.  5 steps to login
  2.  Shift from Mobile to Web to generate API
  3.  Not so great UI
  4.  No tutorials or basic help tips

Let us explain it in detail, We downloaded Kraken app on our mobile phone, and it asked us for an API key. To generate the API key we had to go to the Kraken website and fill in a form. And then we got a QR code which we had to scan from our phone. Finally, we got an account on our phone.

Now we had to enter payment methods and start trading! But in the app, it doesn’t look as simple as it sounds. The home page of Kraken’s app looks not so attractive. So, we click on “Trade” thinking that it’ll be simple! And then we see a similar screen displaying the exact same content. So we follow the instructions and click on “New Order” at the top right. And something like the above screen pops up.

Basically, our experience with this app was rather unsatisfactory, mainly, because we had to spend some time to understand it and adapt ourself to it, while it should be the other way round. Apps have to adapt to the user, making it easy to understand and driving him towards carrying out the task without any obstacle, with “flow”. On the other hand, we had listed few expectations what a new user expect at the beginning and they weren’t met.

The Bottom Line
Digital globalization is all about allowing everyone to use simple tools for each and every activity. Are the current bitcoin trading platform providing that service? That is a question we and our designers can solve because there is always room for improvement.

Our challenge is to make the bitcoin trading platform even simpler, more attractive, trustworthy and useful in order to help the user as much as possible. People are already risking their money, right? Then let’s make things easier for them and try to approach them to success! Our goal is to provide an exceptional Bitcoin exchange experience. Anything else is a distraction.

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