What does Ethereum need to be better? According to its founder, it’s all about the user experience. And on February 28th, Vitalik Buterin talked about the many issues in the Ethereum network that need to be fixed before truly solving that particular one.
Vitalik explained in his blog that he faced many inconveniences while using the Ethereum network to process payments due to high transaction fees, which sometimes ended up costing more than the product he wanted to pay for.
Vitalik’s Issues with ETH Date Back to 2021
Vitalik recalled that his troubles with Ethereum payments date back to 2021 when he visited Argentina and tried to pay for tea. To his surprise, the 0.003 ETH transaction was not accepted, perhaps because it was below the exchange’s minimum deposit of 0.01 ETH.
Despite this, Vitalik decided to send the 0.007 ETH needed to complete this transaction. This represented a three-fold overpayment of the product’s price, but he did not give importance to that fee and chose to think about it as a simple tip, realizing that it was an error that needed to be worked on to improve the user experience.
In 2022, he learned that things didn’t change that much. Vitalik tried to pay for tea again at another place. Gas fees prevented him from using his ETH this time, as the transaction was not processed because the receiving contract “required extra gas to process the transfer.”
Those bad experiences served as a lesson for him to understand that “simple-and-robust UIs are better than fancy-and-sleek ones.” He also learned that many users do not even know what gas limits they need to process their transactions, so default values should be improved.
Payment Delays Can Be Irritating for Many Users
Vitalik also complained about the “surprisingly long time delay between my transactions,” which has been irritating, as there is always the doubt of who is to blame when transactions are not confirmed quickly.
“Sometimes, a transaction would get accepted in a few seconds, but other times, it would take minutes or even hours.”
He added that although the team has worked to improve these issues with the EIP-1559 update, which ensures that most transactions are accepted in the next block, there is always the risk of things not working perfectly because “outliers still remain.”
For example, if many people make transactions at the same time, there is a risk that the network will experience a spike in fees, resulting in the rejection of many transactions. This problem can cause significant money losses even for the most expert users, as “wallet UIs suck at showing this.”
Brave wallet deployed a workaround for this problem. The team listened to his suggestions and increased the maximum base fee from 12.5% to 33%, improving both the interface and the user experience.
Buterin ended his statement by indicating that, especially in Southern countries, many people choose centralized solutions instead of decentralized alternatives because of how outdated the applications are regarding user experience.
Although the Ethereum Merge helped speed up the average time to process transactions, there is still a lot to correct to achieve the global adoption that crypto enthusiasts dream of.