DeFi Opportunities for Designers

DeFi Opportunities for Designers

DeFi aims to recreate traditional financial products without central intermediaries. In 2020 alone, the total value locked in DeFi grew from $670 million to over $15 billion. However, complex crypto concepts and technical interfaces remain barriers to mainstream adoption. This is where talented designers come in. As Aave CEO Stani Kulechov notes:

“Design is extremely important for DeFi projects to bridge the gap from the abstract technical complexities to an average consumer.”

Opportunities span UX/UI, visual design, user research, and content strategy roles. Read on to learn more about how designers can make their mark on the DeFi space.

Understanding DeFi Products

What is DeFi?

DeFi stands for “decentralized finance,” an umbrella term for financial products and services built on blockchain networks. These eliminate financial middlemen through smart contracts, which are programs stored on blockchains like Ethereum that run automatically when conditions are met.

The main categories of DeFi products include:

  • Decentralized exchanges (DEXs)
  • Lending and borrowing platforms
  • Stablecoins – cryptocurrencies pegged to assets like the US dollar
  • Payments apps
  • Asset management tools

Key Users and Needs

The main users of DeFi products are crypto traders and investors looking to:

  • Earn higher yields on cryptoassets
  • Access trading products not available on centralized exchanges
  • Maintain custody of their funds

However, complex cryptographic concepts pose steep learning curves. Design can help overcome these hurdles to safely onboard new users.

Key Roles for Designers

As DeFi projects seek to expand their reach, design talent is now heavily in demand. Here are some of the key roles designers can explore:

UX/UI Designers

DeFi interfaces often assume high technical familiarity. UX designers help rethink interactions and visual interfaces to improve usability. This includes simplifying transaction flows, appropriately explaining concepts like gas fees, and crafting intuitive layouts and navigation.

User Researchers

Understanding user motivations and barriers is crucial for creating better product experiences. User researchers assess needs, identify pain points, run usability tests, and provide recommendations to guide design.

Getting Started in DeFi

Breaking into cryptocurrency design requires learning new domain knowledge. But the efforts can pay off with opportunities to influence the future of finance.

Learning About Crypto and DeFi

For designers new to the space, taking time to learn crypto and DeFi fundamentals is key. Some helpful resources include:

  • Crypto and DeFi blogs like The Defiant for news and analysis
  • Protocol documentation e.g. Uniswap, Aave
  • Online courses covering blockchain basics
  • Money legos — resources explaining DeFi building blocks

Getting hands-on with existing DeFi products like lending platforms is also great for understanding flows and pain points.

Showcasing Blockchain Experience

The best way to break into crypto design is by directly working on blockchain products. Some options:

  • Contribute to open source DeFi protocols by providing design concepts
  • Take on pro bono work for early stage crypto startups
  • Launch a fictional DeFi redesign project in your portfolio

Showcasing these, especially through case studies documenting decisions, helps demonstrate blockchain expertise even without full-time roles.

Networking and Jobs Sites

Finally, actively connecting with the crypto design community and seeking opportunities can land that first role. Great places to start include:

  • CryptoDesigners.com community
  • Cryptocurrencyjobs.co job board
  • Conferences like ETHDenver and EthCC

Following and connecting with crypto designers and builders on Crypto Twitter is also invaluable.

Conclusion

The rapid pace of innovation makes DeFi design an exciting space for UX/UI designers, visual designers, user researchers and content strategists. As protocols and products mature, there is growing demand for designers who deeply understand the needs of crypto users. We’ve only scratched the surface of what blockchain and crypto can enable. By jumping into this niche, designers have immense opportunities to shape the future of finance and potentially other decentralized spheres.

FAQs

How is design for DeFi different from other fintech?

DeFi design must account for the unique complexities of decentralized technology and crypto-native users. This means going beyond conventional finance to design interactions for blockchain concepts like wallets, transactions, gas fees, and crypto assets. There is also an emphasis on principles like transparency, interoperability between services, and user control of funds.

What specific skills are most in demand?

UX research, UI design, and visual design stand out as key needs. Deep user empathy, great communication skills, and understanding complex blockchain technology are must-haves. Expertise in designing data-heavy interfaces is a major plus.

Where can I learn crypto/DeFi fundamentals?

Refer to online courses on platforms like Udemy, LinkedIn Learning, and Coursera to start. Resources like The Defiant, Finematics, and Amy Castor offer great overviews. For technical knowledge, reviewing protocol documentation is invaluable.

How can I best position myself for DeFi roles?

Building a portfolio highlighting UX processes for designing blockchain/DeFi experiences is key. Document flows, wireframes, prototypes etc. Contributing design ideas to open source DeFi projects also demonstrates capabilities. Finally, actively network in crypto design communities.

What sites post the most DeFi design jobs?

Cryptocurrencyjobs.co, crypto.jobs, Web3Career, Cryptocurrency Jobs List, and individual project/company sites are some of the best platforms to monitor for open positions. LinkedIn, Twitter, design Slack groups and networking events are also great channels.