What we learned building our all-in-one cryptoasset trading platform
If I could give one piece of advice to someone entering the market (any market) with a new product, it would be to first go and talk to your target audience (assuming you’ve narrowed in on one group). You may think that a SWOT, PESTLE or other frameworks are going to put you in the lead but you would be so wrong.
To show you what I mean, I thought I’d share our learnings, from our time researching for our new cryptoasset trading platform, “CryptoFabrik”. If you’re hearing about us for the first time, we’re a Hong Kong-based Fintech startup called FinFabrik and we’ve been building capital market software for close to two years now. Our company is made up of a mix of ex-bankers, consultants and developers. If you come from one of these ‘old’ worlds, chances are that you’ve not spent much time worrying about user experience design. It did take time for all of us to lose our biases, but when we did, WOW did our eyes open. So as a starting point I would say this, if you have to run some basic exercises before you take your product to the market, they should be surveys and interviews. Now I’ll explain why.
3 critical problems we learned and are trying to solve
From 2015 to 2017, the number of bitcoin wallets increased from roughly 3 million to around 25 million (not all of them are currently active). That’s quite a jump. Everyone and their dog was investing in this market. In spite of these staggering numbers, a challenge for us was finding individuals that were regularly investing or even tracking their portfolios. Most individuals that we met had made one-off purchases after getting a recommendation from a close friend or family member and then continued to hold that single currency (while the going was good anyway). In most cases, this currency was Bitcoin. So it was rather hard to get actionable insights from users that had made one-off purchases.
We did eventually meet a lot of users that were not just bitten by the crypto bug, but smitten by it. When we started asking the right questions, we got some great information and insights. We identified certain problems that seemed like very very simple fixes, but so far nobody was trying to fix them.
Lack of automated portfolio tracking
On average, crypto investors said that they had accounts on at least 3 different exchanges. Additionally, whenever a coin listed on a new exchange, they had to open a new account to transact at an additional venue.. Tracking the prices, holdings, and their available balances across different exchanges is a major pain point for crypto investors. The majority of users that we spoke to were using spreadsheets to track their investments and performance.
So our first solution is straightforward. We created one centralised trading screen, where investors could transact on and track all of their exchange balances. This integrated screen allows users to discover, compare and analyse price differences and order books between their existing exchange accounts in real time. By creating a centralised holdings page, we eliminate the need for users to pull in data from each exchange, run multiple spreadsheets and calculate manually.
Time wasted on endless KYC to find liquidity
58% of our users said that one of their biggest pain points was account opening with multiple different exchanges. This shouldn’t come as much of a surprise. People don’t particularly enjoy undergoing KYC multiple times as it is a cumbersome activity that takes time away from doing real research and trading.
To help solve this problem, we developed a feature called ‘CryptoFabrik guaranteed execution’. Rather than our users spending time on cumbersome account opening processes, the CryptoFabrik team will undergo verification process with new exchanges daily. This will allow the users to gain access to liquidity from multiple exchanges through a single trading venue. Additionally, our platform deploys a smart routing algorithm that will execute trades at the best prices amongst our existing list of exchanges, so that THE USER will no longer need to worry about price sourcing.
Transferring crypto between exchanges IS hard
Close to 60% of the users said that transferring cryptocurrencies between different exchange accounts impeded their trading activities. Wait times resulting from delays in transfers between exchanges often lead to missed opportunities.
Although this isn’t the easiest problem to solve, our product team is working on a solution. The gist of it is to allow CryptoFabrik users to transfer balances between their different exchange wallets from a centralised location. We will uncover more of this capability later.
Those are just a few examples of how simply asking the right questions can give you a great start on your building the product roadmap. After we listened to all these grievances, we identified a clear market opportunity. We went ahead and did something crazy — we just built it. That’s it. No ICO’s, no whitepapers, no roadshows. Just a team of crazy people that like to get shit done. We demoed the product at the recently held FIX conference and HKTDC Entrepreneur day and got great responses!
We decided to start with something ‘super simple’, if you’re wondering why, its so that we could solve the most basic pain points to start with and take it forward from there. This marks only the beginning of our journey. Next, we will get on to solving problems for businesses. With additional research, we will discover the specific problems faced by institutional investors such as portfolio managers, hedge funds and even crypto brokers. Over the next few weeks, we’ll share a bit more on our findings, as well as our recommended solutions to the problems.