Vitalik Buterin Points Out Cryptocurrency Payment Vulnerabilities and the Need to Improve User Experience

Vitalik posted a post discuss Experience with failed cryptocurrency payments, long delays, the need for a better user interface, and better forms of account abstraction to remove the need for centralized forwarding or even linking and generic transition roles. In his post, Vitalik described his personal experience with crypto payments, highlighting some of the challenges and failures he faced while conducting transactions.

    Electronic money

Vitalik Buterin – Founder of Ethereum

Vitalik’s article provides an interesting perspective on the current state of crypto payments. In it, he shared his experience in 2013 at a sushi restaurant in San Francisco that accepted bitcoin as payment. Despite hearing about it, his initial transaction failed and he had to walk more than 50 meters to a nearby public library to connect to wifi and submit a successful transaction. Vitalik’s experience highlights the importance of having a direct payment system that allows customers to pass on their transaction data to merchants when the internet is unreliable.

In 2021, Vitalik was trying to buy tea for himself and a friend at a coffee shop in Argentina. The shop owner recognized him and revealed he had an account with an exchange. Vitalik recommends paying in ETH, using an exchange account as a wallet, which is the standard way of direct payments in Latin America. Unfortunately, the first transaction was not accepted, probably because it was below the exchange’s minimum deposit. He sent another transaction, confirmed it, but he ended up paying too much.

Vitalik also encountered a transaction error in 2022, the first transaction failed because the default transaction sent from his mobile wallet was only 21000 gas, and the receiving account was a contract that required more gas to process. The second transaction submission fails because a UI glitch in his mobile wallet prevents him from scrolling down and editing the field containing the gas limit. These experiences highlight the need for a simple yet powerful user interface and better defaults.

Vitalik also faced lengthy and unpredictable delays when a transaction was sent and it was accepted in a block. Sometimes, a transaction is accepted within seconds, but other times, it takes minutes or even hours. More recently, EIP-1559 has greatly improved this, ensuring that most transactions are accepted into the next block, and even more recently, Merge has improved further by stabilizing block times. However, exceptions still occur and the user interface needs to be improved in terms of transaction inclusion.

    Electronic money

Source: Yinhong (William) Zhao and Kartik Nayak

In 2019, Vitalik tested one of the first wallets to attempt social recovery. Unlike his preferred smart contract-based approach, their approach uses Shamir’s secret sharing to split an account’s private key into 5 parts, so that any 3 parts can be used to recover the private key. The user must choose 5 friends (“guardians”), convince them to download a separate mobile app and provide a confirmation code that will be used to create an encrypted key to share with them.

This approach quickly ran into problems for Vitalik. A few months later, he had problems with his wallet and needed to use a recovery program to restore it. He asked his friend to go through the recovery process through their app, but things didn’t go as planned. Two of them lost data because they switched phones and forgot to switch the recovery app. For one of them, the Firebase connection mechanism was down for a long time. They eventually figured out how to fix the problem and recover the key. However, a few months later, the wallet crashed again.

In short, Vitalik Buterin’s article on his experience with crypto payments highlights some of the challenges that still exist in accepting and using cryptocurrencies as a form of payment. The article highlights the importance of having a reliable and user-friendly interface to execute transactions, and the need for better account abstraction to eliminate the need for file forwarding centers or links. Additionally, this paper highlights the importance of designing robust and secure recovery processes for crypto wallets.

While transaction technology has improved significantly, such as the recent EIP-1559 and The Merge, there are still user experience and internet connection reliability issues that need to be addressed. . However, as technology and user experience continue to improve, cryptocurrencies have the potential to become a convenient and widely accepted payment method.

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