The Trouble with Starting in Web3 and How to Solve It.

The onboarding experience for new people using blockchain applications is terrible. Imagine recommending a friend mint a free NFT at some platform, and think of all the hoops this person needs to jump through to get started.

First, you must download a browser extension to create a digital wallet. Then, you must write down random words to keep your wallet safe.

When you try to mint a free NFT, you realize you need to pay something called “gas” to make a transaction. You ask a friend for help, and they suggest that you buy some cryptocurrency first. So, you sign up for a crypto exchange.

Now, the exchange wants you to complete KYC (know your customer) verification, which can be lengthy. After waiting some time, you finally purchase some tokens to get that free NFT.

However, you find out that there is a minimum withdrawal amount of $50, so you go back and buy more tokens. When you finally have enough funds, you transfer them to your wallet, but nothing happens. You become anxious and worried that you made a mistake. After waiting for a while, the transfer finally goes through. You end up with $40 because there was a fixed $10 fee from the exchange to withdraw.

Now, you’re ready to mint that NFT, but it took you too long, and the mint sold out. You can still buy it on the secondary market for around $40. Although disappointed, you try it, but it doesn’t work because of high gas fees, and you still need more crypto in your wallet.

Now, what happens next? You could continue minting some other random NFT (which could be a scam), hop into a Discord server of a random project, and say “GM” (though nobody is saying it back), or buy more tokens and try again (and might get rugged).

But you will likely quit. You might think that you need help understanding Web3 or that it’s all just a scam. And who can blame you? You need to be highly motivated to complete the onboarding experience, and it can be very disappointing if you are not rewarded.

What Web3 onboarding should be like

To make Web3 more accessible, a few fundamental problems need to be addressed. Firstly, the high gas fees associated with owning a free NFT discourage many users from making their first transaction on a blockchain. To buy crypto and sign up at an exchange is an additional hurdle that most people are unwilling to overcome.

One solution could be to use blockchain accounts instead of key-based wallets. With blockchain accounts like Universal Profiles, a transaction relayer service can enable someone else to pay for the user’s gas fees. A service provider, like, for example, an NFT marketplace, can cover the initial few transactions for new users. This initiative can bring more people into the platform and foster many active traders. The marketplace can then earn a small fee on each trade to recover the costs of subsidizing gas for new users. This approach offers everyone a seamless first experience and brings more people into the space.

Before even using NFTs, DeFi, or Web3 Social, users often face the hurdle of installing a browser extension or mobile wallet. For those new to this technology, installing an extension, remembering random words, and risking losing their digital assets can be challenging. All of this can be overwhelming.

Some Web3 platforms choose to create wallets for their users and manage them centrally, similar to a crypto exchange. This way some NFT platforms could offer a “gassless” experience and onboarding through email, but the actual implementation of how this works is quite crucial. Most platforms use an approach that has a significant drawback — it takes away one of the most important aspects of Web3, which is digital ownership. The saying “not your keys, not your crypto” holds true here. If the platform has complete control over your wallet and you cannot take control of it, it defeats the purpose of digital ownership.

On one end, we want to make blockchain technology seamless for users. However, there should be a balance. Educating users about digital ownership is a crucial aspect of Web3 onboarding. People should learn about the value of digital ownership and be able to take complete control over their digital assets whenever they are ready to do so.

The NFT platform uses Universal Profiles instead of key-based wallets. These profiles allow you to set permissions on your account to perform specific actions. To sign up, you must provide your email address, create a Universal Profile, and secure it with a password. The platform has some permissions on the profile but cannot take over control and is not able to perform any transactions without your password. It’s easy to sign in and confirm transactions with a password, such as buying and selling NFTs, but it’s even better that you do so without having to pay for gas. You can export your profile to the Universal Profiles browser extension or mobile app anytime and revoke any permissions to regain complete control.

From the very beginning, you are the sole owner of your profile. You can easily take it when you are ready to use your profile on other dApps. You control the permissions and own the assets, ensuring that digital ownership is introduced securely and transparently.


The Web3 experience is not broken; it’s still in the making. Everyone in this space knows how poor the onboarding process is, and it is time to improve it. We now have the technology to do so. With account abstraction, such as Universal Profiles, we can provide users with the Web2 experience without compromising Web3 principles. The key to mass adoption is to present digital ownership through education and a seamless user experience.

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