Blockchain at Berkeley

Blockchain at Berkeley Crypto Wallet

accessibility, trust, security



Blockchain at Berkeley is a student organization at UC Berkeley focused on blockchain innovation via education, research, design, and consulting. Since design was a newly-formed department, I mentored team members in UX patterns, best practices, and design process, led team-wide design thinking workshops.

My Role

UX Researcher, UI/UX Designer


Guerrilla Research, User Interviews, Competitive Analysis, Literature Review, Ideation, Sketching, Wireframing, Visual Design, Design Systems


Motivation & Scope

We believe that better user experience in blockchain applications is key to accelerating blockchain adoption. Given the increase in attention given to stablecoins, we wanted to envision a use case for stablecoins, targeting the mainstream user.

The State of Stablecoins

A stablecoin is a cryptocurrency that maintains a stable value against a target price (e.g. USD). It is designed for any application that requires a low threshold of volatility to be viable on a blockchain.

The Problem

Sending money internationally is expensive and takes a long time for most people. That led to our question: how might we design a cross-border money transfer experience that is accessible and secure using stablecoins?



Our research process consists of a competitive analysis of 8 crypto wallets on a variety of features, and interviews with potential users.


Adults in their 30s-50s, middle-class, understand some of the banking system but don’t know much about blockchain, not very tech-savvy, wants to send larger amounts (>$1000) for each transactions

User Goals

To transfer money internationally in a way that’s fast, cheap, and secure

Design Principles

With these insights, we came up with the following Design Principles:

  • Accessibility: minimize jargon, use consistent terminology, and maintain a conversational tone

  • Security: Designing for security, especially for irreversible actions, while maintaining the ease of use

  • Trust: Create trust with the technology itself, in addition to building trust into the user experience and brand

Success Metrics

From the Design Principles, we came up with the following value metrics used to guide design decisions

  • Number of new users: Mainstream user growth, especially non-technical users with minimal blockchain experience

  • Number of transactions: How many total number of transactions conducted within Stable Wallet per month?

  • Comfort with blockchain technology: Are users getting more comfortable with the basics of the technology as they use the app?

Home - new transactions (1).png

Native Desktop App

Research studies and user interviews have shown that people tend to prefer using the computer (vs mobile) to transact larger amounts of money. In addition, web applications are very vulnerable to phishing scams, especially in the crypto space. With that in mind, we decided to design a native desktop app.

Send 1.png
Send 2.1.png
Send 4.png

Designing for Friction

Because the transaction is irreversible, it is important to slow down the process and ensure that the user entered the information correctly. In this case, we are intentionally building friction into the sending process - unlike other apps designing for frictionless transactions.

Designing for Accessibility

We wanted the product to be accessible for people not familiar with blockchain. This includes the use of minimal jargon, keeping a conversational tone without being too casual, consistent terminology, and educating users on what is happening where relevant and necessary

Designing for Security

Security is crucial in the crypto space, due to the prevalence of hackers and phishing attempts, and the permanence of any transaction errors. Hence, designing for crypto transactions should take extra precautions when it comes to security. It is important to allow the user to review transaction details and toggle between different currencies. We also opted to have the user re-enter the password before confirming the transaction.

Designing for Transparency

We focused on clarity and hierarchy for visual design to ensure users do not miss important information.

When analyzing designs of similar crypto wallets, users are given the option to enter a limit on network fees, indicating the maximum amount users are willing to spend. However, users new to crypto would likely not understand why or how to do this. We wanted to be more approachable and offer control over the ETA: where the more urgent the transaction, the lower the ETA, and the higher the fee. We also added a slider for the user to adjust the network fees and ETA.

Currently, transactions in blockchain tend to take anywhere from a few minutes to an hour. From users interviews and research, people tend to be anxious when waiting for transactions to be completed. We designed this to provide more transparency on what is happening in the process, from the beginning of the transaction to when the end user received the transaction, including ETAs.



Payment flows are pretty standardized, and you made great choices in terms of where to obey that standardization and where to intentionally differ. The insight around deliberately adding friction is excellent.
— James Reffell, Director of Design @ Clever
The deliberate choices around which specific user group this wallet was serving led to targeted choices on what to prioritize (accessibility, transparency, frictions etc.), which creates a more comfortable experience for an audience unaccustomed to crypto and more familiar with traditional UX patterns. The introduction of stablecoins as the main medium of exchange speaks to this as well given the targeted use case of cross border transfers.
— Alexis Gauba, Co-Founder @ Mechanism Labs, she256