Web3 and AI are converging
And you are the beneficiary
Yes, the two biggest buzzwords of recent years are on a collision course.
The beneficiary…you (the user).
Let’s zoom in…
One of the tangible effects of AI that every one of you will feel will be the impact on the user experience of…everything. Certainly every software and web application. For decades we’ve been forced to click buttons, navigate drop down menus and hop through a workflow of screens to send a wire transfer or book a flight. This “funnel” experience exists because websites don’t know what you are trying to accomplish, nor is there a way for you to tell them. So they’re forced to give you a menu and let you navigate your way through all the options. The most common paths are often the ones most prominently featured.
When you introduce AI and natural language processing to the user experience, all those buttons and drop downs get abstracted away. Instead of navigating a pre-set menu of options, it becomes a conversation. Every website/application will have the equivalent of a personalized assistant standing at the counter waiting to help. You state what you want to accomplish, and the application makes it happen. The result is, every user has a personal experience.
Now let’s pivot to crypto…
It’s hard to find a worse user experience than crypto today. Ok healthcare, so maybe not that hard! Nevertheless, everyone complains about crypto’s UX and acknowledges that it’s preventing more user adoption…yet it remains overly technical and unintuitive. If you’ve ever tried to swap an asset using Metamask, navigating slippage and token approvals, or tried to move assets from one chain to another just so you can test out an app like Friend.tech…it’s prohibitively difficult for most people.
We’ve applied the same fundamental approach to UI as everyone else on the Internet. A standard menu with all the options; forcing you to navigate through everything. This may be the user experience we deserve, but it ain’t the one we want.
The one we want, and the one around the corner is the conversational experience popularized by ChatGPT. In Web3, we call this an intent-based user experience because we like to make things sound more complicated than they really are. An intent-based user experience is basically “chat-based” - taking natural language provided by the user (“I want to swap 10 ETH for USDC”) and converting it into a transaction by mapping it to smart contact functions, or entrusting a third party to translate your intent for you. In this swap example, the user’s intent might be mapped to Uniswap smart contract functions, but it can be done for any protocol.
An intent-based experience sorta exists with Telegram trading bots like Banana Gun and Maestro, but it’s hardly a conversation. These bots use slash commands (.../buy…) and can require you to configure settings, which is a steep learning curve for your average person. The goal is to abstract away any semblance of computer code and smart contracts.
A pure chat-based wallet/dapp experience is the lowest common denominator UX possible, and it should eliminate existing barriers to entry for new users overwhelmed by order books, slippage, gas fees, etc. It also makes wallet integrations into chat apps (which already have a conversational user experience) pretty seamless. Imagine using Telegram or Whatsapp to interact with your digital assets.
Thanks for reading,
A big thanks to Travis Skweres, Alex Cullen and John Shutt for providing insights and feedback on this issue.
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