Designer on Bitcoin’s Flaws

There are so many things “wrong” with Bitcoin (and cryptocurrencies in general), I was happy to see that designer Melissa Volkmann of Hashrabbit is going to give advice.

Surprisingly, the problem isn’t that the technology is wonky, or the community schismatic, or that the underlying ideology is self-contradictory, or even that it is a solution in search of problems.

The problem is that the Bitcoin community “need to refresh the public’s perception”, and specifically, “to truly embrace design, usability, and standardization.”

OK, I’ll bite. What does this boil down to.

Well, Volkmann thinks, “the biggest and most controversial design issue” is the “logo”. That funny “B” thing.

Wow! I didn’t see that coming.

She’s got a point, if a small one. “Bitcoin” isn’t a company or a brand. It shouldn’t have a “logo” at all. (Granted, a lot of us use that term much more loosely than professional designers.) Worse, usage has been undisciplined, creating “confusion”. “It doesn’t meet any standards that are required for mass adoption.”

Obviously, she knows how to deal with this problem. “We should popularize an easily accessible unicode symbol — a sign — for bitcoin”. And she makes some concrete suggestions, and some intelligent discussion.

The Volkmann solution:


Phew!  I’m conflicted by this article

It is good to have a competent designer on the case. Somebody needs to worry about logos and typography, and you don’t want to leave that to programmers or other amateurs. (You get embarassments like people who misuse the symbol Thailand’s baht for Bitcoin.)  She really knows and really cares.

On the other hand, of all the things that are wrong with Bitcoin, this is the least of our problems. Worse, even if you “fix” it with Volkmann’s symbol or something else, the big problems won’t go away. The symbol will not increase “trust” as long as BitCoin is the currency of choice for cybercriminals. A symbol will not get people to use something they simply do not need.

More power to you, MV, but this isn’t really that important.


While you are on the case, could you do a quick workup for DogeCoin, too? I assume it is just a goofed up as BitCoin.

Oh and the article ends with the promise:

This is part one of a five part series “Bitcoin needs better design.”
Next up: standardization! Oh yeahh.

Super! I’m ready for more.

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