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Why Poor UX has Prevented Mainstream Adoption of Web3 Betting

Analyzing the Three UX Obstacles That Have Prevented Adoption of Web3 Betting & How SX Bet is Tackling Them

Introduction The explosive growth of decentralized finance (DeFi) and non-fungible tokens (NFTs) over the last two years has been phenemonenal to see and shows that there are clear use cases for the web3 space. However, web3 blockchain betting — the space that I’m working on with SX Bet — hasn’t seen the same explosive growth. Growth has been incremental — for example, SX is the largest blockchain betting platform in the world and grew betting volumes 2x last year to $180m. While this was nothing to sneeze at given how bad the overall crypto market environment has been, it’s a far cry from its potential. Why hasn’t web3 blockchain betting achieved the same adoption rates of DeFi and NFTs? I think the answer can be found in three core issues that web3 betting apps have grappled with since their inception: poor user experience (UX), low trust, and lack of a compelling value proposition.

💀 The UX Nightmare In this article, I’ll be diving into the first of these issues — poor UX. This has massively stunted the progress of the web3 betting space and made it difficult to convert existing mainstream sports bettors into web3 bettors. At the end of the day, even if web3 betting offers far better odds, offers unparalleled security and transparency, and offers literal ownership in the platform; if the product is too hard to use, then no one will use it. The user experience for many original Web3 betting apps was a nightmare, with three main issues preventing web3 betting from attracting mainstream bettors:

  • 🖨️ Overly technical UIs

  • ⛽ Expensive gas fees

  • 👝 Unwieldy on-ramps

I’ll be diving into each of the above in detail.

🖨️ Overly Technical UIs The main initial stumbling block for first-generation web3 betting platforms — i.e. Augur, Gnosis — encountered a significant stumbling block: an incredibly poor user interfaces (UI). Augur’s platform, renowned for its complex and unwieldy interface, was not designed for sports bettors. It was often a technical challenge to even place a bet.

The main initial stumbling block for first-generation web3 betting platforms — i.e. Augur, Gnosis — encountered a significant stumbling block: an incredibly poor user interfaces (UI). Augur’s platform, renowned for its complex and unwieldy interface, was not designed for sports bettors. It was often a technical challenge to even place a bet. The problem was that these projects were targeted for a very niche “crypto prediction market” trader target market; instead of the much larger average sports bettor. ✅ The SX Solution — Familiar UI For this reason, we’ve spent tons of time developing the SX user interface to be as similar to traditional sports betting products as possible. For example, when you come to SX Bet, you’ll notice that the main page looks almost identical to a traditional sportsbook. You can also place a bet directly from the summary page.

Only if you click into an individual market are users shown the more complex back-end information that sophisticated bettors care about (like order book depth, line movement, and recent bets).

⛽ Expensive Gas Fees The tech was also subject to the expensive whims of the Ethereum network’s high gas fees. Additionally, blockchain users need to hold the gas currency of the underlying chain just to submit transactions. Given the small relative size of sports betting transactions (vs. DeFi), high gas fees quickly made it uneconomical to operate or utilize web3 betting platforms on Ethereum mainnet. SX Bet, which was initially launched on Ethereum mainnet in March 2019, had to move off Ethereum a mere 18 months later in August 2020 to Polygon PoS just to survive.

Since then, Polygon PoS gas costs have increased substantially and show no sign of stopping. The increased usage of the chain has often created moments of network congestion which make it very difficult to run a high-performant betting exchange application on it. These problems aren’t unique to Polygon; Solana has had many full-blown outages while gas fees for Ethereum layer-twos like Arbitrum and Optimism are near the point of being uneconomical for bettors. ✅ The SX Solution — SX Network Blockchain We initially dealt with gas costs by paying for users transactions through a process called meta-transactions. However, this didn’t solve the issue, instead shifting it to us. The only real solution to deal with the vagaries of the fee market of a third-party blockchain is to build your own blockchain and give yourselves control and sovereignty over the native fee market.

This is exactly what we did with SX Network — the first-ever blockchain designed for betting. It was built using the Polygon Edge SDK, and last summer, with the SX Bet dapp deploying on it in August 2022. SX Network is an EVM-compatible chain in which validators stake SX in order to secure the chain and act as the oracle for the SX Bet betting markets.

👝 Unwieldy On-Ramps Finally, we’ve consistently heard from mainstream sports bettors that Metamask is unwieldy and overly technical to use and that it’s very difficult to on-ramp from fiat to a crypto wallet.

These are common issues across the entire Web3 space to be fair; however, they are challenges that mainstream sports bettors don’t have to deal with traditional bookmakers. ✅ The SX Solution — Magic Wallet + Banxa To deal with this, SX Bet integrated Magic wallet sign-in flow to the app. Magic allows users to create a secure non-custodial wallet with their email (and, in the future, social sign-ins). This is incredibly easy user experience and doesn’t feel overly alien to them.

Furthermore, SX Network is in the process of integrating the Banxa fiat-on ramp processor directly into the SX Network chain and SX Bet dapp. This enables users to use one of +150 payment methods to easily purchase USDC straight to their crypto wallet.

Conclusion In conclusion, web3 betting is yet to fully tap into its transformative potential. For it to resonate with crypto bettors, especially those previously active on platforms like Stake, Rollbit, and, it must squarely address these three fundamental issues: poor user experience, lack of trust, and having unique value proposition. In this article, I’ve dealt with the first of these: poor user experience. In future pieces, I’ll tackle how web3 betting platforms can bridge the trust deficit and deliver a truly unique value proposition. The task might seem daunting, but the rewards are substantial. Those who succeed will not only pave the way for a new era in online betting but also cater to a growing demand for a credible, user-friendly, and rewarding betting platforms in the crypto sphere. Sports bettors deserve a web3 revolution and we’re excited to be leading the way at SX Bet.

About SX SX Bet is the #1 blockchain sports betting platform by betting volume across all chains. All bets are peer-to-peer and settled on-chain. SX lets you get the best odds when you bet on sports with crypto, all from the security of your own wallet. SX has processed +$335,000,000 in betting volume. SX Bet is not available in the United States or other prohibited jurisdictions. SX Bet | Twitter | Reddit | Whitepaper

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