Digital ownership is important. For many years, it was only possible with the help of trusted centralized intermediaries. Decentralized blockchains have changed this, and digital ownership is now possible without the need of a single third-party keeping track of who owns what. However, just like the early days of the internet, this new paradigm is only accessible to tech enthusiasts, early adopters, and nerds. It seems like only they care about it. But times are changing, and it is becoming more apparent that digital ownership will become the norm, used in various products and services. From fashion to gaming, finance to music, and art to entertainment, many industries can use digital ownership to innovate.
However, it’s not inevitable that this will happen. Making digital ownership accessible to everyone is not a simple task. There are challenges to overcome, like the complexity of concepts like wallets and private keys, which are difficult for everyday users to understand and too limiting for developers to create something that can truly unlock its potential.
This is made worse by the fact that there is a multitude of tokens available for purchase and speculation, which further complicates things. The ecosystem currently consists of a relatively small group of active users, with most people in the crypto space only here to speculate. However, there is a missed opportunity here. Underneath the hype, speculation, and distraction, there is a technology that can bring ownership to the internet and make it accessible to everyone.
To make digital ownership accessible, there are a few things that need to happen. Firstly, people must learn about new concepts. Although technology should be abstracted to the background, people still need to understand how digital ownership works. For example, someone could buy a digital collectible, but it doesn’t necessarily mean that it’s stored on a blockchain and its ownership can be verified. Even though the term NFT has become a negative connotation for some people, they still need to know whether a collectible is an NFT or not. Education plays a big role.
For everyday users to embrace new concepts, they first need to have a great user experience. The current steps to get started are too complicated and overwhelming. Downloading a browser extension, creating a wallet, saving seed phrases, buying tokens for “gas” — all these steps are daunting. To introduce someone to a new concept, they should be able to sign up and get an NFT without leaving the site. They may not understand what it means to own an NFT, but they can learn about it later. The first step is to get through the process seamlessly.
Once someone has an NFT, they can learn why it’s essential to store it on a blockchain. It’s better to show them than to tell them. For example, on universal.page, users can sign up and mint an NFT that serves as their domain for a customizable profile page. They can experience the utility of the NFT because they can start building their page directly without worrying about concepts like “gas fees”. Later, they can learn that this domain can be sold on the open marketplace, and the new owner will get control over the domain and page, all permissionless. This will help them understand that they own the NFT and can transfer or sell it to someone else. We need more experiences like this that are simple, seamless and focused on utility.
The key to making digital ownership accessible for everyone is to simplify the user experience and educate people along the way. By making the technology less intimidating and highlighting its practical benefits, we can turn digital ownership into a tool for innovation and empowerment available to everyone.