2 min read

The tension of blockchain accessibility

The koinos mainnet just launched over the weekend, and it's going well! Roughly 15% of all Koin has been claimed, dApps are launching, and MEXC updated one of their APIs to include Koinos (not listed yet, not an announcement, only indicates they're likely working on listing Koin).

Most of what we've seen so far does not highlight what makes Koinos unique. Sure, proof of burn and the burn pool are unique, but consensus algorithms are about security. Koinos doesn't sacrifice security, but the emphasis is accessibility.

Accessibility and security may not seem directly at odds, but blockchain is secure because you (and only you) have full control over your funds. It's a brilliant system, but it's also very unforgiving. The Koinos community respects this ethos as established by Bitcoin, but we also recognize that accessibility is crucial to improving average people's lives with blockchain-backed systems.

Unfortunately, there's already been at least one person who claimed their tokens and lost their access. The security of blockchain is highly dependent on individual responsibility, and that can make it very difficult for inexperienced users.

When someone loses their life savings, this isn't anything new in the world of crypto. Historically, the collective response has been "that sucks, tough luck, glad it wasn't me." The Koinos network can't abandon the basic rules of cryptography and digital ownership to fix human error, no matter who or how much is impacted. What we can (and arguably should) do is improve our accessibility to prevent human error within reason. We should build dApps that allow you to observe and recover from your mistakes with reasonable limitations.

For the token claiming contract in particular, we could allow users to redo the claim to a new address for a short period of time. This would allow users to recover from any future claiming mishaps without sacrificing the integrity of the blockchain. It only requires that users keep careful control of their Ethereum keys a little while longer. To me, this seems like a fair tradeoff and I would back a governance proposal for a change along these lines.

For the person who claimed and lost their tokens, I feel bad for you. If it were me, I'd be sick. It's been suggested that we could take donations within the community to help out. I wouldn't expect to restore the entire balance lost, but I think donations are the appropriate response. If nothing else, we'd be paying for the lesson that showed us where our early UX and emphasis on accessibility can be improved. Even if the individual in question is lying and still has access to those tokens, this was a valuable lesson that to me is worth a few KOIN.


P.S. Accessibility of the base blockchain layer is very important, but we must keep in mind that this part isn't meant for regular users. That would be like expecting every user of Google to set up a Google Cloud Platform login and pay for server time and database throughput.