SafePal CEO says its time for Web3 to mature, advocates for shift in focus – Interview

In an industry where innovation and disruption are the norm, Veronica Wong, CEO and Co-Founder of SafePal, offers a refreshing yet provocative perspective on the evolution and future of Web3. With a blend of realism and foresight, Wong dissects the Web3 landscape, emphasizing the need for a strategic balance between pioneering spirit and pragmatic application. Her insights challenge the status quo, advocating for a shift from the speculative, high-risk environment that has characterized much of the crypto and Web3 space, towards a more structured, user-centric approach.

This isn’t necessarily a bad thing; as projects with empty promises of wealth generation without genuine revenue sources or sustainable business models have been getting away with exit scams, ponzis and rugpulls for far too long.

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Users are steadily learning to be more informed with their investment choices, and are asking questions beyond “ Will this project token make me rich?” and learning to research if the project has an actual product or service with feasible go-to-market strategies and proper treasury management.

Projects and builders will need to consistently bring value and establish a positive track record if they wish to thrive in the industry. This is also a trend I foresee for 2024.

As we witness continued new wallet providers entering the space, what do you think will be the key differentiators for wallets in terms of user onboarding and technology, such as MPC and Account Abstraction?

The first thing is usability and applicability. While it sounds simple, executing and achieving this will still take a long time.It’s easy to fall into a trap and echo chamber of sorts after being in a fast paced and complex industry like Web3 for some time, but the needs and problems faced by veterans and new users are different. 

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Wallets need to build useful features to meet different user demands while keeping the products simple and easy to use, otherwise users will migrate to competitors. This poses consistent challenges for wallet builders in understanding users and product design, as it requires continuous efforts to execute and deliver results to meet ever-changing user demands. 

The second is security. Web3 wallets are designed to store and protect valuable crypto assets. It takes a long time to build a solid brand reputation for a wallet by delivering safe products consistently — but all it takes is a successful hacking attack for this reputation to crumble quickly and users to flee.

Competition among wallets is thus complex and challenging as it takes strong commitment, user-centric spirit, adaptability and swift execution to successfully onboard and retain a large user base.

Given your experience with SafePal, how do you foresee crypto wallet providers adapting to the evolving demands of Web3 users, especially considering the increasing variety of wallet options and technological advancements?

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I think it’s essential as a builder to be objective, open to adapt and understand what Web3 users need and want. While MPC and account abstraction(AA) provide interesting solutions, they have their own issues – with the former being too complex for the average user and the latter only being for EVM chains.

Despite being an externally owned account (EOA) wallet provider, we experiment with technology like MPC and are always ready to make the transition should the need arise. It’s crucial however not to get caught up with every trend and hype that comes along, and rationally assess and evaluate if the technology or application genuinely solves problems and meets user needs.

We are also actively improving the usability of our products, by enhancing the UI, features and functionality of our entire wallet suite while continuing to integrate more blockchains. Education for our users is also an important part of our efforts, as knowledge of security best practices is essential in self – custody and prevention against scams and malicious attacks.

The perfect Web3 wallet doesn’t exist yet, but we are definitely working towards creating it with SafePal — ultimately the ideal wallet should be as easy and seamless to use as ApplePay, but much more secure to truly onboard the masses.

From your perspective, if Web3 needs a complete overhaul, what fundamental aspects would you retain, and what would you radically change to align with a more sustainable and user-centric future?

Openness, transparency, and decentralization are the crown jewels of the Web3 ecosystem and I would retain them. 

While Web3 is a permissionless ecosystem that welcomes participation from everyone, I think it’ll be nice if there could be a universal standard of security when it comes to DApp development. After witnessing so many scams and rug pulls, I yearn for a transparent and open security standard that will verify all existing Web3 applications and warn users if there are risks involved. 

Due to the penchant for fortune-hunting in Web3, many new users come into the ecosystem without the necessary knowledge about key fundamentals such as decentralization, self-custody, and gas fees. It would be great if we could have a unified user-onboarding process that educates new users regarding all the important details before they make their first deposit. While this might be a hassle for some users and deter them from giving the technology a try, it could also eliminate a lot of the scam and phishing attack cases that are currently poisoning Web3.

Connect with Veronica Wong

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Author: Liam ‘Akiba’ Wright

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Web developer with a keen interest in the disruptive potential of cryptocurrency and blockchain technology. Experienced investor in various markets, including equities, bonds, real estate, p2p lending, and cryptocurrency. Loves coming up with solid investment strategies based on objective data to mitigate emotional risk. Believes in dollar cost averaging for long term investing while keeping a small allocation in cash for larger market dips.

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