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Web3 consumers: Chain abstraction is the utmost need of the hour | Opinion

Opinion
Web3 consumers: Chain abstraction is the utmost need of the hour | Opinion

Disclosure: The views and opinions expressed here belong solely to the author and do not represent the views and opinions of crypto.news’ editorial.

In the rapidly evolving landscape of web3, a common misconception persists among developers and startups: that the choice of blockchain is the paramount concern for users or sticking with the ethos of web3 is Northstar and guiding principles. One case in point is the web3 social network or “decentralized” social network. 

The original selling points of many decentralized social networks were around user data ownership. While I believe this is the case for web3 social networks, the hard truth is that to gain wider adoption of decentralized social networks, most users don’t care about data ownership or setting privacy settings for what is shared and what isn’t. Facebook/Meta does this largely, but it took them a while to implement it. 

To achieve mass adoption, decentralized social networks must not only champion the ideals of web3 but also address the everyday usability that centralized platforms have established. This shift requires a new approach that considers both technological innovation and user behaviour.

While hardcore early adopters of web3 might “buy in,” the rest of the users (web2 or web3) are careless about what chain or how easy it is to take one’s data from one network to another. Due to this false Northstar, what often happens is a disproportionate focus on the technical underpinnings of decentralized applications (dApps) at the expense of user experience (UX) and engagement mechanisms. However, as web3 matures and strives for mainstream adoption, it’s becoming increasingly clear that the average consumer cares less about the blockchain infrastructure and more about the seamlessness of the user interface (UI) and the tangible rewards offered.

Frictionless UX/UI experience: The cornerstone of web3 adoption

The success of any consumer-facing app, whether web2 or web3, hinges on its usability. In the web3 space, where the learning curve can be steep, and the technology complex, providing a frictionless UX is not just desirable but essential. Users are drawn to applications that offer intuitive navigation, quick responsiveness, and a familiar feel. 

Consider popular web2 platforms like Instagram or Spotify. Their success is largely attributed to their clean, user-friendly interfaces that make interactions straightforward and enjoyable. They fulfill innate human needs for communication, socializing, and sharing experiences, thereby becoming integral to users’ daily lives. They adapt to emerging trends, user feedback, and technological updates to enhance user experience and maintain relevance. Web3 apps must adopt the same principles. Users should be able to interact with dApps without the need for a deep understanding of the underlying blockchain technology. Wallet integration, transaction processing, and asset management should be as seamless as logging into an email account.

The power of incentives: Tokens, whitelists, and status

Beyond UX, the driving force behind user engagement in web3 applications is the incentive structure. Gamification and reward mechanisms play a crucial role in attracting and retaining users. Tokens, whitelist opportunities, and OG status are potent tools that can enhance user loyalty and participation. 

  • Tokens: Users are motivated by the prospect of earning tokens that have real-world value. These can be used within the app, traded, or staked for additional benefits. Clear, achievable pathways to earn tokens can significantly boost user activity and retention.
  • Whitelists: Being on a whitelist gives users exclusive access to new features, beta tests, or upcoming token sales. This sense of exclusivity can create a strong community of early adopters and advocates who feel a deeper connection to the project.
  • OG status: Rewarding early and active users with OG status recognizes their contribution and loyalty. This status can come with unique perks, such as special badges, access to private channels, or enhanced earning opportunities, fostering a sense of belonging and importance within the community.

Paired above with Discord, Telegram, and X (formerly Twitter) integration, web3 and web2 users can and will feel a sense of belonging and being in a community, which will lead to more engagement!

From a user POV: Engagement, retention, and revenue is king

As the web3 ecosystem grows, the focus must shift from the technical merits of different blockchains to the user experience and engagement strategies. Users are more concerned with how easy it is to interact with the app and what they stand to gain from using it than with the specifics of the underlying technology.

For web3 startups, the path to success lies in designing dApps that prioritize seamless UI/UX and implement compelling reward mechanisms. By integrating with social platforms like Discord, Telegram, and Twitter/X, they can further enhance user engagement, retention, and revenue. By doing so, they can ensure that their applications not only attract users but also convert them into loyal, active participants. In the end, the chain may power the app, but it’s the user experience, rewards, and social integration that will power its adoption.

Robert Kao
Robert Kao

Robert Kao is the co-founder of Plato. He has background and experience as a seasoned consumer mobile developer as Rob started his career as the first mobile developer for a multi-billion dollar investment bank. In 2008, Rob bootstrapped his first mobile security company (developed Find My iPhone-like features for Android and BlackBerry) with his co-founder, Dante Sarigumba. In 2011, following the exit of the first startup, Sarigumba, Kao became a serial founder. Plato Protocol is Rob’s third startup with Dante Sarigumba, with whom he co-authored numerous technical books published by Wiley and Apress.