A cryptocurrency entrepreneur has warned “there are a lot of usability issues that have to be dramatically improved” if digital assets are ever going to enjoy comparable levels of success to the world wide web.
David Gold, who established the Foundation for Interwallet Operability, was speaking after a survey performed by his organisation revealed that just 40% of long-term crypto users feel confident that their transactions will complete without any issues – with almost 20% admitting they have had problems with payments in the past.
He told CCN that crypto transactions need to offer a better experience than using fiat – offering greater levels of ease and safety compared with current market leaders.
A damning report
Drilling down into the numbers, 13% of users questioned by the FIO said they had sent or received an incorrect amount of crypto – with 18% losing funds or suffering a failed transaction because of a user error. This is separate to those who were left out of pocket through phishing or a so-called “man in the middle attack,” with 6% admitting they fell victim to malicious activity in 2018.
In an indication that more needs to be done to assuage the fears of newer crypto users, the FIO survey also uncovered a significant divide between inexperienced consumers and those who had owned digital assets for more than three years. While 40% of long-term users described themselves as “very comfortable and confident that their transaction will occur as intended,” only 21% of short-term users agreed with the same statement.
And, in an indication that more needs to be done to make crypto usable – one of Mr Gold’s key arguments – the FIO’s report revealed just 11% of those polled had sent funds to somebody else on a weekly basis, with 19% on a monthly basis. This effectively suggests that the vast majority of those in the crypto community are holding on to their assets rather than spending them. Indeed, 27% said they had completed no transactions whatsoever during the whole of 2018.
The FIO also sought feedback from crypto users about the frustrations they have when trying to move their assets.
Transaction fees was a common sticking point, with many respondents finding the link between charges and delivery times “conceptually confusing.” One person claimed that they ended up waiting two months for their Bitcoin to be transferred because they had accidentally set their mining fee too low.
Others lamented that delivery times were inconsistent – ranging from fast confirmations to a wait of over 24 hours. This, when compounded with a lack of notification services, meant that many crypto users felt like they were in the dark about when their transactions would actually clear.
The addresses used to send and receive crypto were another issue and appear to be the main source of anxiety for many users. Respondents said that checking and double-checking that addresses were correct was the “biggest challenge” they faced – and the onus fell on them because many wallets fail to alert users when a public address is incorrect.