Neutron: A Centralized and Decentralized Wallet

Oluwatumininu
6 min readJun 19, 2023

Insights and Musings From Leslie’s Lost Hard Drive

Before bitcoin became so well known, there were people who had unusual access to it. Leslie was one of them.

Quite a number of people who had early access to cryptocurrency failed to see the future of the fortune they had with them.

What Happened to Leslie?

Diverting from Leslie and his lost hard drive, there are more handy and sophisticated ways to preserve crypto and NFT assets these days.

These solutions are in the form of partially decentralized mobile apps. Examples of these are Binance, Coinbase, Metamask, Polygon and some other mobile wallets.

Why Neutron?

Neutron wallet aims to bring about

  • Centralization and decentralization based on each users’ preferences.
  • User-friendly interface with basic features such as buy, send, receive, and swap for every transaction.
  • Easy access to decentralized apps (dapps) to carry out transactions using digital currencies when needed.
  • Inbuilt browser that allows users to explore Ethereum platforms without having to run a full Ethereum client.
  • Inbuilt dapp store, where investors can easily search for, and connect useful decentralized apps for specific uses to their wallets.
  • Market section where investors can see market trends and be up to date with top movers and profitable currencies.
Neutron's home page

The Blockchain Trilemma Problem

The blockchain trilemma simply explains the fact that 3 blockchain properties which are: Decentralization, Security and Scalability may not coexists in their full capacities all at once, in a blockchain system.

  • Decentralization is the distribution of control equally to all the participants present on the blockchain, rather than being managed by a single entity.
  • Security on the blockchain should totally prevent malicious entities, like unethical hackers from taking over them.
  • Scalability simply allows enormous number of transactions and users without compromising by increasing fees and transaction times.
Photo by Shubham Dhage on Unsplash

Blockchain trilemma is such that if a blockchain product is fast and very secured then it means it's Decentralization has been sacrificed to achieve the scalability and security

If a blockchain is highly secured and slow, like the ethereum blockchain, then the scalability has been sacrificed. The transaction fee will be very high.

Security is one that should not be sacrificed at all. But if sacrificed, the blockchain will be fast, low transaction fees, and less security.

The trilemma issue is a major blockchain setback in which the solution is probably in development.

Design Solutions

Centralization and Decentralization in Neutron

Neutron wallet is also not an exemption from the trilemma effect. Neutron is being built on the ethereum blockchain. However, considering the fact that users are only starting to place their trust in blockchain and decentralization, users are provided with 2 options:

Onboarding process

Backing up Recovery Keys

The recovery phrases are randomly unique generated keys that symbolizes a users’ total control over their assets on the blockchain.

Users are given 2 options within the app. The first option is to back up the keys to an external drive like Google drive, iCloud or manually, — by writing them down somewhere safe and easily accessible. For users who chose to write down their recovery phrases, they can continue into the app without backing up their keys.

The second option is to use advanced security.

Using Advanced Security

The advanced security option is provided for users who do not totally trust that they wouldn’t lose their recovery keys.
It is the usual process of onboarding users, where a little bit of data from users are being collected.

Like emails, passwords, usernames and the likes.

Onboarding process
Onboarding process
Onboarding process
Using advanced security (centralisation)

The Crypto Market

The crypto market is an important feature. It helps the investors keep tabs on what is happening in the market. To know what to hold or sell, to understand when to invest and when not to.
Generally to be up to date on market trends and rates.

Market trends for coins

Accessing Other Decentralized Apps

The Dapps section is a feature that allows users to see and access other decentralized applications in different sectors, like the ecommerce, gaming, finance, agricultural, medical sectors.

These decentralized apps are made such that users are able to carry out transaction using digital currencies, when needed.

The In-built Browser

The browser is made to work just like every other browser. It can also help in accessing and exploring sites built on the ethereum blockchain.

The Inbuilt browser allows users to explore Ethereum platforms without having to run a full Ethereum client.

The in-built browser

The Settings Page

Every other low priority activities go on here.

Users have access to their recovery keys when they are within the app.
Also, for users who may eventually decide to opt for the advanced security option, they may do so from the settings page.

Settings page

Other UI Solutions

The flow for sending crypto assets
Sending assets
Buying assets
Receiving and swapping assets

Market Research

There are 2 major competitors who have similar goals as Neutron. They are Coinbase and Metamask.

These two platforms were benchmarked and audited.

See details about the analysis here.

The goal was to identify and understand their processes, and build on the foundation they had laid.

The user research process

Success Metrics

In order to measure the the success of Neutron’s solution at launch, I will be keeping tabs on the following metrics:

  • The number of user downloads
  • The visitor to sign up rate
  • The customer engagement score
  • The feature usage rate (in the case of in-built browser and dapps store)
  • The customer churn rate.

Future Iterations

There were a number of iterations noted for future modification of Neutron.

The first is designing the NFT aspect of the app.

The second is integrating IBM Watson’s AI into Neutron.

Insights and Lessons

As much as the onboarding and security aspect of this project was challenging, it was at the same time interesting to learn a lot of new things while designing Neutron.

I learnt that onboarding users on different platforms, most especially DeFis are different and peculiar to the goals of each product. Understanding this fact will help a great deal in providing appropriate solution for users.

Links

Download Neutron here

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Oluwatumininu

I love to live like Aelin Galathynius in my head. I'm a Product Designer.