Jennifer Ding, IDEO CoLab Fellow, Solutions Engineer at Numina
Audrey Levy, IDEO CoLab Fellow, Industrial Design student at the University of Washington
Fahad Punjwani, IDEO CoLab Fellow, Creative Director at SUCH

Educating Consumers to Securely Store Crypto-key via a Comic Strip

Cryptocurrencies open a wealth of new opportunities for asset holders...but today they also place the responsibility of security in the hands of privacy-conscious users, who choose to contend with the challenge of managing their own keys instead of saving them with a third party. A Crypto-Comic Adventure focuses on demystifying an integral part of blockchain transactions—storing and retrieving public and private keys - through a personal approach.

 
 

Problem:


In 2013, James Howells lost ~$127M in a single day. He accidentally threw away the hard drive with his crypto-keys that would allow him to access his 7,500 bitcoin, leaving him with no way to ever retrieve them. James’ story is not unique. Billions of dollars have been lost simply because people have misplaced or forgotten their crypto-keys, which are used to securely access a cryptocurrency account and perform transactions.

Private keys and seed phrases are long strings of random characters or words, which are difficult for the average person to remember. However, storing them in a digital format can make them vulnerable to hacking. By not sharing crypto-keys with another person or saving them elsewhere in digital or physical form, users increase the privacy of their data and the security of their assets, but also expose themselves to higher consequences when human error occurs.

Managing and protecting crypto-keys are major challenges facing blockchain developers, designers, and users. These responsibilities can make this technology inaccessible and insecure for many. In the meantime, while we wait for more user-friendly solutions to be developed, it’s important for the average user to understand the risks of storing crypto-keys and start to practice methods of protection. This Crypto-Comic Adventure explains the challenge in easy-to-understand terms and introduces the reader to creative ways to maintain security.  

Solution:


This comic strip outlines the risks and opportunities of a privacy-forward approach to crypto-key management in a clear and playful way. Engaged readers get guiding principles to take ownership of storing and maintaining their crypto-keys.

Who is this for?


This comic will benefit all privacy-conscious users interested in exploring the crypto world. You’ll understand what public and private keys are, why they’re critical to the privacy of your assets and data, and how to securely store them.


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Scenario:


Jordan is curious about investing in crypto and wonders how their crypto assets will be stored, maintained, and safeguarded. Given the recent hacks and data breaches, Jordan is skeptical of depending on 3rd parties, especially when it comes to the privacy of their information and security of their crypto assets. The online resources they have found are filled with unfamiliar concepts and terms. The mass of introductory crypto articles and definitions has left Jordan overwhelmed and unsure about the security of investing in crypto. This is where Jordan and many others like Jordan drop off.

Crypto-Comic Adventure intercepts Jordan at a critical moment when lack of understanding and empowerment are barriers to entry that could cause them to throw in the crypto towel. The comic strip makes fundamental concepts of security via key storage more accessible to Jordan through visual metaphor and approachable language.

By widening the scope of crypto participation and presenting guiding principles for finding creative solutions to privacy, security and storage concerns, the comic hopes to take a small step toward increasing user confidence in crypto. Increased education surrounding privacy can prevent new crypto users like Jordan from making costly errors and empower them to build innovative solutions for personal key storage that leverage the fundamental concepts covered in the comic.  


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