HODL Wallet is a secure, easy to use, open source Bitcoin wallet that makes it simple to hold, send, and receive Bitcoin. Created by the founders of Bitstop.
Bitstop had always recommended Bread Wallet to its customers. But, with the emergence of alternative cryptocurrency, Bread rebranded as its token BRD and redesigned it’s wallet. All the new coins, especially bitcoin cash, caused a lot of confusion for Bitstop customers.
As you can see in the video, Bitcoin Cash is even the first coin on the list. It’s easy to see how users, who don’t know any better, who want to buy bitcoin with cash can mistakenly scan a Bitcoin Cash wallet. Users who do this at the ATM will lose their funds and once bitcoin is sent, it can not be reversed.
Because of this Bitstop no longer had a trusted wallet to refer it’s customers to.
So we began our journey to
Creating a wallet that Bitstop can confidently refer customers to.
With the hope that it will lead to a decrease in related support tickets.
The founders and I were building HODL while still working on all our Bitstop projects. Multitasking different projects and phases was key to timely succeeding our goals.
I started by doing an industry benchmark, evaluating which apps have which features and deciding which to carry into our wallet. I also interviewed users of these applications.
As we continued to discuss our goals for the wallet, we realized that we had the opportunity to not only create a wallet for Bitstop users but also for anyone who wanted a bitcoin only wallet with a seamless experience.
I met with the team to address concerns, pitch ideas, and rank them. To reduce the amount of time Bitstop users were left without a bitcoin centric mobile wallet we prioritized a quicker launch by forking Bread source code for the MVP with the mindset that we will build our own from scratch in the future. Coming to consensus on how to address BRD's source code limitations for an MVP and selecting the best ideas for inclusion into the product allowed for a balance between user needs and business goals.
After the decision to make the app not only for Bitstop users but for anyone who wants a bitcoin only wallet, we added claiming the HODL name to our goal list. HODL is a bitcoin meme that, from a bitcoin maximalist perspective, embodies all that bitcoin stands for. It’s about leaving the current financial system for a new one. We wanted to claim it for instant brand support by the community.
I worked on the branding alongside designing the screens so in the following mockups you will see some of my color explorations and even an alternative logo.
I landed on this HODL symbol because it represents holding on to something precious and important. It also references the third eye. The third eye’s concept of perception beyond ordinary sight really resonates with the concept of HODL. I selected the Electrolize google font for its techno punk feel and because it works well in any size from body copy to headlines. The color scheme is dark and moody to emote a sense of privacy and security. Bitcoin is also often referred to as digital gold which led me to selecting the yellow gold color. Lastly, the illustrations are a bit whimsical and abstract mixed with grounded practical elements. This juxtaposition felt right to me because of it’s parallel to bitcoin.
There are two login screens, for new users and for returning users. I explored slogans, logo lockups, touch and face ID placement (working with source code limitations), and the inclusion of the send and receive buttons. I decided on having both send and receive buttons easily accessible on the login screen for existing users. The send button prompts a pin to be entered to finalize the action while the receive does not. This makes for quick transactions and an added layer of privacy.
Even though users can create an account with only a pin, we immediately encourage them to set up a recovery key. This ensures that they can access their fund beyond HODL and in case they no longer have access to their phone.
On the top right there’s a question mark that when clicked gives more information about the screen and serves as an educational tool for users.
The dashboard structure stemmed from the bread source code so there were minimal changes I could make beyond colors and icons. The changes I did make were:
Adding the dollar amount to each transaction as well as the number of confirmations and when it’s available to be spent.
I also added the bitcoin exchange rate to the top right. This was a highly requested feature during my interviews.
I was able to make the biggest changes on the send screen. Before there was the to, amount, and memo. Now, I designed what we called “smart fees”. It adds a layer of transparency for how much of a fee is being charged and how long it’s estimated to confirm.
Bitstop support would often get calls with customers saying things like “I purchased bitcoin but it’s not in my wallet yet and it’s been 30 minutes”. Showing the confirmations and allowing users to become educated on it, gives them a better understanding of how bitcoin works and when they can expect for funds to be spendable.
Working with the team, we decided on giving users 3 options, economy, normal, and high and added the capability to select a custom fee if users choose to. I would have liked to spend more time user testing these interactions and the labeling.
Receiving bitcoin should be quick and easy. I kept the receive screen minimal with the QR code, the address that users can press down to copy, and a share and request amount button.
From a peer-to-peer as well as a Bitstop customer perspective, this screen is easily accessible whether you are logged in or not. It is especially handy at the bitcoin ATM where you only need the app to scan the QR code.
I also designed the widget with send and receive options and the bitcoin price information. For the Apple Watch I made the receive QR code and the user's wallet total easily accessible.
Along with the app I created wires and designed the landing page for hodlwallet.com. This site also had a knowledge base which hosted all the links I designed for the question icons in the app.
As the app gained traction and was received well by the bitcoin community, we decided to create some merch as a source of revenue. I created designs in different languages to appeal to our worldwide community.
I also created illustrations and motion graphics for social media posts. This was a lot of fun. I always enjoy illustrating and animating.
The feedback we received was overwhelmingly positive for both new and experienced bitcoin users. The name HODL really resonated with the bitcoin community and the app basically marketed itself. We had popular people in the space promoting us on social and creating video reviews of the product on youtube.
Bitstop now has a wallet it can confidently recommend to its users to. As Bitstop is able to refer users to HODL Wallet, we saw a decline in tickets related to alternative coin confusion.
App Store Rating
Creating the app from scratch for the next iteration I believe is essential. The current source code is too limiting for optimal user experience and business goals. If I could I would