Andy Morales .jpg

“History does not repeat, but it rhymes” Mark Twain 

The notion of money and value are things that most people do not question. 

Like the air we breathe, it is just there. 

But what happens when we begin to question the origin of money? when we begin to question the nature of value? and perhaps most importantly when we begin to think more deeply and question the necessary properties of money in an increasingly digitized world. 

Fundamentally, I believe that money is one of the most interesting design problems because it is, at its core, a solution to human trust and cooperation at a large scale. 

Although, as the world evolves, as new technological progress is made, the properties of money must change, and thus our design solutions must evolve as well. 

I had the pleasure of speaking with Andrea (Andy) Morales about designing value from a human-centered lens, here's what I learned: 

The Design of money and value: Money has always been redefined throughout history. How do we learn from those periods? because this has been done before. 

Foundational Money Design: Humans are not just incentivized by greed, what can we learn from sociology, anthropology, community organizing about the economic irrationality of emotions and our primal motives as human when designing for money? 

Tokens as a medium of expression: Spending as a way of telling the world what you believe… similar to why we buy certain brands, what will the tokens we buy or the community networks we choose say about us? 

Learning from game design: Levels, Loops, and Flow. What happens when we think of users as players in a game? 

Designing For Fairness (or consequence): How do we show the potential impact of non-whales from a design perspective? When you let people vote according to the weight of their token, networks tend to die. The idea of levels and the grind of harvesting tokens/influence is a potential solution. “With great power come great responsibility” giving people a clear path to power, but we should also make the consequences of power clear. 

Participatory design: Bringing in users and other stakeholders make your design better because it is not just about ideas, it is about partners. Targeting the right people and bringing them into your process is essential. We must have humilty - we don't know everything… it is a way of realizing that there are unknown unknowns, and other people can point them out for you. 

Overcoming dApp hurdles: We need to convince users that dApps are more valuable to them than anything else, how do we do that? Some examples are helping them understand core terms, dApps that have different levels of fidelity for new and expert users… 

Growing users: Keeping users engaged by offering them a path from new user to expert user. 

New kinds of metrics: Defining metrics that are more tethered to the actual use of the system, for example, community health over daily active users. 

Common questions for decentralized design: 

Does this need to be decentralized or not? 

Who are we designing for?

Are we just designing for the people who are already in crypto? Who are they, what do they look like? Beyond demographics. 

What sort of systemic change am I proposing with this product? 

What lever am I pulling in the system, how is my design changing the entire system? 

How and should you account for gender and racial bias in your products? 

For much more detail about the topics mentioned above, you can listen to the full episode below.