Fast growth cannot come at the expense of security and UX
DeFi 2.0 promises more focus on user experience, easy onboarding, and presenting decentralized financial services in a way users already understand.
DeFi 1.0 was a mind-blowing wave of innovation and adoption that saw crypto make it into mainstream headlines and capture the attention of millions of people. However, along with significant strides in the services offered to users, DeFi did little to ease the pain of user onboarding and security.
Platforms like Crypto.com and Coinbase pulled the masses with tales of riches beyond their wildest dreams and a chance to get involved with the next technological revolution. However, these exchanges are centralized and do little to aid the development of true DeFi.
Add to these more than one billion dollars lost in hacks, exploits, and theft from DeFi protocols, particularly bridges, in 2022 alone, and it’s easy to see why people are perhaps still reluctant to abandon traditional banking in favor of genuinely decentralized finance.
Squarely focussing on juicy yields, liquidity rewards, and more financially motivated mechanisms to attract users to DeFi works fine in a bull run. Moreover, it did wonders for the advancement of the services on offer, despite most being still in beta.
However, during more depressed times, protocols are looking to improve and position for longevity and, more importantly, sustainability. Arguably, we will see far fewer [insertname] Swaps popping up and collecting liquidity only to pull the rug. While more serious DeFi protocols that want to serve millions of users build for the future.
Security and usability are key
Two things are of evident importance when onboarding the masses: Security and useability. Several protocols are tackling both on different blockchains to varying success. While some focus on providing the most accurate and secure services, others chase UX and Web2 feels. Arguably, long-term winners will combine them all.
While we see UniSwap, Sushi, and PancakeSwap as clear leaders in DeFi today, none appear massively concerned with attracting newbies or becoming mobile first. Using one of these three platforms requires knowledge and some prerequisites, such as already having set up a blockchain wallet to be able to connect to the dapp.
Newcomers need to learn by experiencing basic financial activities on the blockchain, such as getting and storing a seed phrase, buying, selling, and trading, before heading towards more advanced activities like lending, staking, and farming. Baby steps are vital if the user is to have a pleasant first experience and, more importantly, keep returning.
People fear the unknown
Jargon words like dapps, protocols, DEX, gas fees, slippage, etc., can be too technical for non-tech-savvy people. Moreover, while millennials and the younger generations have command of technology and devices, they are not the ones with the deepest pockets.
The older generations arguably have more disposable income, time, and inclination to invest. Ignoring them for any Web3 business would be suicide. Additionally, given that mobile usage climbs around 10% per annum, it makes sense to build DeFi dapps with mobile-first in mind.
In this article, we dive into several DeFi dapps across various blockchains that are positioned to offer users a high level of security alongside easy UX, such as one-click staking, social logins, cloud password storage, or fiat onramps.
We are looking for DeFi dapps suitable for beginners that can offer three core things: simplicity, transparency, and literacy. Arguably, the same challenges that Web2 builders faced more than twenty years ago when introducing websites and e-commerce.
Spoiler alert! There aren’t many right now, but we expect to see many more mobile focussed, non-custodial DeFi dapps arrive over the next few years. The list includes several dapps that, while not strictly DeFi, will undoubtedly get users familiar with the mechanics of DeFi dapps. We encourage those beginning their crypto journey to try them out and learn the basics.
- SweatWallet – Walk into crypto
- GoodDollar – Free crypto for all
- Volt App – DeFi in your pocket
- My Ether Wallet – From zero to crypto
- Maiar – Welcome to the future of money
- DeFi 2.0 in summary
Sweatwallet – Walk into crypto
Sweatwallet is a sister application to the iOS and Android app Sweatcoin. The platform rewards its users with free tokens for the simple act of walking and is part of the move-to-earn trend.
Users have two choices. They can collect and then leave the in-app rewards inside Sweatcoin and use them to make purchases and upgrades within that ecosystem. Alternatively, they can download the SweatWallet and send them there to stake their crypto for rewards. Shortly, users will be able to swap SWEAT for other cryptos and cash out to fiat money. This will introduce the platform’s millions of users to more advanced DeFi mechanics without them knowing it!
Users can receive a yield on their SWEAT tokens by staking their rewards. Users with higher stakes can access better rewards and optimized app experiences, including lower transaction fees, premium services, and increased daily SWEAT minting limits.
This simple mechanic allows an introduction to move-to-earn dapps, the chance to collect crypto without spending any money, and then for a user to understand how staking works and what rewards they can collect for that.
Based on today’s market value of SWEAT at $0.02 and capped earnings per day of 5,000 daily steps would earn you 5 SWEAT. That’s about $0.10 per day or around $3 monthly. Enough to get a cup of coffee. Still, the premise is not for users to be getting rich; it’s to introduce the idea of crypto and blockchain wallets through a familiar medium.
GoodDollar – Free crypto for all
GoodDollar is a platform for distributing a global basic income. Or, in simpler terms, free crypto for anybody who wants it, delivered through their token G$. Like SweatWallet, we highlight GoodDollar because it’s easy to access, costs nothing to get involved, and, more importantly, gets users familiar with making daily transactions and receiving crypto to a wallet.
The GoodDollar economy revolves around two primary user types: Claimers and Supporters. Claimers are individuals that claim a daily basic income in the form of G$ coins. Supporters are individuals or institutions that believe in basic income and bottom-up growth and fund the supply of G$ coins by staking their capital to support the GoodDollar economy.
Once again, users have two choices, be a claimant or be a supporter. As mentioned, supporters are usually high net worth individuals looking to earn something on their assets while also giving back to the community. The most likely scenario is to become a claimant of G$.
By using the website, users can access the GoodDollar wallet and start receiving G$ by simply logging in using Google or Facebook accounts or continuing without a password. When passwordless, users provide a phone number and confirm with a text message.
Once the simple onboarding steps are complete, a wallet is created for each user. Once the wallet is set up, the user has custody of their claimed G$, i.e., nobody can access it, freeze or move it anywhere without the owner’s permission.
Claims happen daily with users needing to go to the GoodDollar site and sign a transaction, then receive crypto. The amount received varies depending on how many people claim on that day. Notably, the amount is small, and once again, the idea is not to create overnight millionaires but familiarise people with wallets and crypto.
A growing number of local businesses and traders accept G$. Interested people can contact a regional GoodDollar Ambassador to find where to spend G$. You can donate to Ukraine_DAO, join the GoodGiveBack campaign or keep in touch with the community to find other Good Causes.
G$ can be exchanged for other cryptocurrencies via GoodSwap, but this requires setting up a blockchain wallet such as MetaMask or TrustWallet and going further in education. We highlight GoodDollar because it’s a great way to start collecting crypto while getting used to wallets and daily transactions.
Volt App – DeFi in your pocket
The first real contender on the list to offer a suite of DeFi products and services all within an easy-to-use mobile application is the recently relaunched Volt App. Importantly, Volt absorbed a platform called Fuse Cash, which focused on the useability and easy-to-create wallets, while Voltage offered complete, on-chain DeFi services.
Together they are trying to solve the mass adoption riddle, and early signs look good. Voltage ticks many of the boxes outlined in that it’s user-friendly, non-custodial (your keys, your crypto), has a fiat on-ramp, cloud backup recovery, feeless transactions, and is available on Android and iOS. Simply put, they are trying to create DeFi at pocket reach.
You read that right. There are no gas fees when swapping crypto using Volt App. In Volt, gas is covered by Voltage Finance liquidity pools to bring more frictionless DeFi closer to mainstream users.
Another exciting feature is that apart from the standard backup template, creating and storing a seed phrase, Volt users will be able to connect the Volt app to their Google Drive, where the cloud backup of the recovery file will be stored.
The cloud backup of your recovery file is protected, and Volt can’t access other files on your drive. On top of that, users can protect their Volt app with biometrics, such as fingerprint mapping.
The first version of Volt is primarily designed as an entry point for everyone. That being said, Volt states they will gradually enrich the application and add DeFi features as time passes. Expect staking, farming, governance, and much more to be entailed under the Voltage ecosystem in the coming months.
My Ether Wallet – From zero to crypto
My Ether Wallet, or MEW as it’s known, is the most established player on the list and has been providing easy DeFi for more than three years through its non-custodial iOS and Android app. MEW is a free app that helps users interact with the Ethereum blockchain. It’s easy to use, allows you to generate wallets, interact with smart contracts, and more.
More importantly, it ticks many of the boxes required for newbies. Users can buy ETH inside the MEW wallet using a bank card or Apple Pay and store it in a non-custodial Ethereum wallet. This means that you and only you have access to your funds.
MEW also understands users are not yet familiar with wielding the power of private keys, so it will teach you how to stay safe and secure in the crypto world. MEW keeps your account secure by using state-of-the-art encryption and storing your keys locally in a secure vault on your device. While they can also help backup a wallet to be able to recover your funds in case a device gets lost or stolen.
Maiar is a digital wallet and global payments app that allows users to exchange and securely store money on a mobile phone. You can use Maiar to send and receive money near-instantly, to and from anyone worldwide, by using a phone number or herotag.
Maiar – Welcome to the future of money
You need a smartphone with a SIM running on iOS or Android to start. Since Maiar is a non-custodial digital wallet, no verification is required in any country.
The Maiar app is free to download and use. However, the Elrond Blockchain on which the platform runs has fees as low as $0.001 per transaction associated with payments to support the security and speed of transactions.
Notably, the app will always clearly display any fees charged, so there are no surprises or hidden costs. Maiar supports Elrond Gold (eGLD), Binance (BNB), Ethereum (ETH) and Bitcoin (BTC). Over time, Maiar intends to support other digital currencies.
Assets and user data are protected using encryption and verification techniques to ensure they’re securely stored. If a phone is lost or stolen, a private key recovery phrase can be safely used to recover your funds.
Defi 2.0 in summary
At writing, true decentralized, peer-to-peer finance is still a game for experienced blockchain users, while newbies or casual retail investors gravitate toward centralized exchanges like Coinbase. Why? Because they offer far more intuitive and easy-to-use mobile applications, people quickly understand. They also provide the ability to cash in and out very fast.
For DeFi to break free of the small numbers of people able to install blockchain wallets and interact with dapps, it must embrace lessons clearly outlined in Web2. Namely, easy onboarding and a frictionless experience for users. While projects like MEW were set up this way from the beginning, others have started to see the potential of offering users what they want.
For now, however, the race to unlocking truly decentralized, mass appeal DeFi is still on. DappRadar users can analyze which DeFi dapps are making moves and which are being left behind using the Rankings. At the same time, continue your educational journey by jumping into one of the projects above and getting the first taste of crypto.