I recently interviewed Brandon Millman, CEO of Solana’s number one wallet, Phantom. The Phantom team raised $109 million, claims to have 90% of Solana’s wallet market and is actively hiring.
In our interview, Brandon said:
1. How did Phantom grow to more than 3 million users in just 6 months?
2. What will the future of crypto wallets look like?
Here are our conversation and interview notes:
Can you share your web3 experience? What led you to found Phantom?
I started my web3 journey in 2017 when I was working at Twitter and was disappointed with the typical web2 growth model (A/B testing, time spent, etc).
I wanted something different and started digging into Ethereum. My co-founder and I built 0X and Matcha to power Ethereum DeFi. This experience gave us some insights:
- Wallets are very powerful, and wallets are often people’s first experience with cryptocurrency. A good wallet can increase the number of us joining the field by a factor of 100.
- Multichain is real. Just a few years ago, it would have been hard for us to imagine building Dapps using any non-Ethereum chain. But as Ethereum becomes slower and more expensive, alternatives like Solana become more viable.
So we decided to build the best-in-class crypto wallet for Solana – Phantom.
Phantom scaled to 3 million users in just 6 months. What’s driving this growth?
Brandon Millman: It’s been a crazy ride! There are three drivers.
- Compared to people using DeFi, NFTs bring a new group of users. DeFi users are more technical, while NFT users are more casual. With the rise of NFTs, so did our wallets.
- Solana is growing like a rocket in 2021, and Phantom is the wallet of choice for the Solana community.
- We also launched Phantom for mobile. The iOS version went live in January, and the Android version is also in beta. NFT users are more inclined to use mobile wallets.
Phantom is a wallet known for a great user experience. Do you have any core principles in developing your product?
Yes, we have some product principles:
- Sophistication is important. We are a design-led company and we take the time to polish the sophistication of our products. When Phantom was launched, it surprised many crypto folks with its refined operating experience.
- Focus on consumers. Previous wallets were developer-centric, as from 2017 to 2020, cryptocurrencies were largely built by developers for developers. But our focus is on the consumer, and we want the next billion users to join web3.
- It’s not just about the product. Getting more people to web3 also requires a strong brand voice and customer support.
How do you keep in touch with customers?
You also know that web3 users are free to speak their minds. A common channel of customer communication in the crypto space is Discord, where all users flood.
Over the past six months, we’ve built a better support process:
- We use Zendesk and all support requests come in the form of tickets.
- We label tickets by category.
- We respond to the ticket to end the user request.
I guess the most advanced technology behind it is Metamask’s Google Sheets? (joke)
How can wallets provide better web3 entry for the next billion users?
There are many easy-to-achieve goals in the short term. E.g:
- It is painful to move tokens off exchanges. I think this is going to be a thing of the past and people will use credit cards to buy cryptocurrencies directly from their wallets.
- Many people don’t know how to protect their mnemonics, and they take pictures with their phones or send them to themselves through unencrypted channels. We need to educate users better (e.g. 1Password integration) or even eliminate these mnemonics altogether.
We’ve all worked on Twitter, and it’s still the go-to platform for web3 users to follow and connect with each other. Do you think wallets can build an independent web3 social layer?
People have been trying to build a web3 social layer for some time now.
Twitter has been doing this for a long time, and has also begun to lean into the field of encryption, such as NFT avatars. So far, I haven’t seen a lot of questions about web3 censorship and deplatforming on Twitter.
That said, I think there is a huge opportunity for wallets to grow in this space. After all, wallets are the identity layer of web3.
I think the social layer of web3 has to be an order of magnitude better than what Twitter does.
you’re right. It must have a gradual functional improvement to free people from the network effects of the web2 social platform. We’ll see how that evolves.
Today, most people use wallets to buy NFTs or use Dapps. 3 million people are now using Phantom, will this help them discover more NFTs and Dapps?
A user’s crypto journey starts with the basics and ends with the discovery and use of different Dapps. Wallets play a central role in this process.
Users are currently discovering Dapps through scattered information on Twitter or other social channels, and I think we will definitely see a world where Dapps are discovered through wallets.
What other ways are there to get the masses into web3?
It’s still early. Metamask’s 30 million users and Phantom’s 3 million users pale in comparison to the hundreds of millions of web2 users.
I think we need to build new use cases other than DeFi and NFTs in web3.
Two of them excite me:
- pay. With the advent of mobile wallets and high-performance public chains, I expect web3 payments to take off.
- game. There are already many great teams working on web3 games. While a game takes longer to develop, if it is as successful as Fortnite, its impact is even greater.
It’s interesting that you mentioned payments because the original Bitcoin whitepaper was all about peer-to-peer payments. Why hasn’t this vision become a reality?
I think consumers are ready to use cryptocurrencies for peer-to-peer transactions, but one important piece is missing and that is merchant acceptance. Retail stores currently simply do not have the infrastructure to accept and manage cryptocurrencies.
What are some ways for beginners to start exploring Solana?
good question. Magic Eden is the largest secondary market for Solana’s NFTs. I also enjoy using Form Function, a marketplace for 1/1 NFT creators.
For Solana’s DeFi, Raydium is the best entry point for users familiar with Uniswap, and Solend is a lending platform similar to Compound and Aave.
What’s next for Phantom?
We invest in several areas.
- Improve performance. We want to make sure our wallets work across different phones, network speeds, and user types (eg, people with a lot of NFTs).
- Try new use cases. We are interested in many novel use cases such as Solana Pay, social and internationalization.
- Extend to another chain. This will happen sometime this year.
Posted by:CoinYuppie，Reprinted with attribution to:https://coinyuppie.com/phantom-ceo-what-is-the-future-of-crypto-wallets/
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