I’m planning to post a weekly update. It’s something I want to practice so that I form better habits around sharing my work early and often instead of hoarding it and attempting to perfect it (in other words, participating in delusion).
I’ll probably be making these on Fridays just for a sense of finality and closure about the week. However, I’ve got a backlog of things I want to write about, and I’ll probably be distracted with the upcoming Thanksgiving holiday in the US.
Bitcoin Design Core Jam
2 weeks ago, I met up with several of my colleagues from the Bitcoin Design Community in Barcelona, Spain. This was a small meetup of regular contributors to the Community.
We had working sessions focusing on specific projects. We fantasized about what we want to accomplish with bitcoin and design. We brainstormed ideas for the next year and did cooky design-thinking voting exercises. We formed a rough roadmap of things to come. But most importantly, we had tapas, paella, several cases of Estrella Damm, and several cases of COVID-19.
It was great to meet everyone in person! I’ve been working in the Community for over a year now and still hadn’t met several of my collaborators IRL. Def recommend the occasional offsite for your FOSS project.
Next, I rewinded across several timezones to go to El Salvador for Adopting Bitcoin. El Salvador is a beautiful country — unfortunately, I was little too occupied with work this time around to be able to explore as much as I did last year. But I’ll return.
Thanks to Nicolas, Chris, Noor, and Kemal for putting on a high-signal event. This is one of those conferences where there’s a lot of cool stuff going on and it’s just impossible to see everything you want to see. Def looking forward to catching up on more of the videos on YouTube. They already several of the stages conveniently sorted into playlists on their channel.
My takeaway from this conference: bitcoin adoption is slow, and this is OK. There are so many communities around the world that are experimenting with bitcoin circular economies, and each community is taking a different approach to the kind of tools and tech setups that work best for them.
- Cashu: this is a cool chaumian eCash project and the way they are integrating with LNbits is neat. Long-term, I’m more bullish on Fedimint because I feel that it’s better to have federated model for eCash. But the cool thing about Cashu is that because they don’t have to worry about complex federation logic, they are free to more quickly iterate on the UX of eCash, which I think is a benefit to the bitcoin ecosystem.
- Slashtags and BitKit: I’ve been testing the beta of BitKit and will report back soon. There’s a lot of very promising stuff in this wallet, I think. John’s slashtags talk was interesting. Keeping an eye on this team and their projects.
- Machankura: this project to bring lightning payments to feature phones in Africa is freaking cool. Just a reminder that every society will have a different way of interacting with money and technology. I love seeing people come up with creative new ways of accessing the bitcoin network.
- Fuji Money: price volatility is a UX problem. Cool to learn about a new project for creating stability for users on bitcoin. They are using DLCs to create a stabilized asset backed by bitcoin on Liquid. Will keep an eye on this. A lot of folks are approaching this problem in different ways, so I’m always curious to learn about the different approaches.
I gave 2 presentations while I was there: Intro to the Bitcoin Design Community and a Bitcoin UI Kit workshop. Here are the slides from my intro talk. As for the workshop, this was a sort of improvised demo forking the Bitcoin UI Kit on Figma, changing the colors and using the components to build your own wallet design, and bringing in Bitcoin Icons where needed. There was an audience of designers and engineers who fed me feedback and ideas while we jammed on the design together. We ultimately produced this screen for a wallet called “unfreeze”. No idea how we arrived at that name. It was very improvisational.
I’m back home in Atlanta now. No time to rest, as there are plenty of projects to execute on.
- Blixt Case Study: I’ve been collaborating with Mogashni to get her case study of the Blixt wallet design process into the Guide. Open PR here.
- BOLT12 + Async Payments: We’ll be meeting today to jam on BOLT12 and Async payments. What does the UX look like in a perfect world, and what does it look like an imperfect world with only partial adoption of either of these ideas?
- Merchants: Pavlenex and I will be moving forward on merchants content for the Guide soon. I think I’d like to start with a review of what’s already on the market and how they’re solving problems for their users. Merchants is a broad topic. You’ve got eCommerce vs. brick-and-mortar. Then you have solutions for large organizations, e.g. IBEX Mercado and OpenNode, and solutions for mom-and-pop shops like Bitcoin Beach’s merchant mode or Breez’s point-of-sale mode. I think we’ll probably be focusing more on the solutions for smaller organizations in the Guide, but I don’t want to commit to that just yet while we’re still exploring what kind of content is most useful. Anyhow, follow the discussion in #merchants.
Legends of Lightning
My friends and I rebooted our PlebFM project, which is a lightning powered jukebox. You can follow our project progress on our Bolt.Fun project page. I don’t think we’re going to ship something complete for Legends of Lightning, but we are having fun working on it anyways. It’s a project I see us continuing to build just because we think it’s cool. You can follow the design process here.