Contest #1: The Pillar Project Design Contest

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Contest Results

This is the original text of the design contest ...

Pillar Project Foundation, a nonprofit Swiss blockchain-innovation company, announces the Pillar project design contest. The goal of the Pillar project is to build the world’s best consumer user experience for managing your digital life. However, if we try to do that now, we’ll fail. To start, we will design the perfect extremely simple wallet experience and iterate from there.

To understand the project, see the videos on our web site and read the Pillar Gray Paper. We are not looking for final designs. We are looking for concepts, sketches, and methodology. This contest should be about two weeks of work for 2-4 people.

Existing Wallets
We’re looking only at mobile wallets for now. Many wallets have exchanges built in, and while a wallet is a product, an exchange is a service. This immediately makes the wallet more complicated. A wallet that interfaces to the banking system will need a KYC database and process. A wallet that is purely crypto has no accounts.

Here are some existing wallets to look at, you can find them in the App/Play stores:

What is Atomic Ownership?
It’s critical to understand atomic ownership and how it’s implemented. With Lykke and Jaxx wallet, you hold the private key on your phone and the company doesn’t have it. With the Coinbase wallet, you are just logged into your Coinbase account and don’t have your private key - that’s not atomic ownership. There are three kinds of atomic ownership:

  • Self storage: You are responsible for your own private key. You lose your key, you lose your assets. This is what the Jaxx wallet does. Unfortunately, most consumers need more help than this.
  • 2-of-2 multisig: You and the exchange both hold half of the key. It takes BOTH sides to make a transaction go through. Lykke implements this. That means Lykke is required for any transaction. Periodically, Lykke sends a “keep alive” message to the smart contracts that manage the multisig. If the smart contracts don’t see that message, it means the exchange has been compromised, and it sends all people their assets to a predefined “refund wallet” that they have control over.
  • 2-of-3 multisig: Requires three keys: The exchange holds one, you hold a private key, and you or a third party backup service holds a recovery key. Two of these keys are needed to perform a transaction.

You can learn more about multisig wallets online. Here are some good resources:

We will most likely use a 2-of-3 system eventually, so consider this when thinking about the future. For the first wallet, we’ll use self storage.

Pillar wallet 0.1
Our first goal is to design and build our 0.1 wallet and eventually get it to the 1.0 wallet we launch. Here’s what you can do with Pillar wallet 0.1 ...

  • Create and set up a new wallet (single-factor ID - email required)
  • Back up your private key (self storage)
  • Restore a previous wallet
  • Accept transfer of ether in
  • Transfer ether out
  • Copy your ether address to the clipboard
  • Show the current value of ether according to some service
  • Show transaction history
  • Send a feedback message

And that’s it! We want to build this wallet and make it work. It’s going to have a very simple interface that looks nothing like our future interface. But that’s okay. We don’t plan things, we build them. We then rebuild and rebuild and rebuild, so we’re always recreating the experience.

Pretotype vs Prototype
When we have designs, we can build a pretotype and test it rather than connecting it to code. We can maintain a “dummy” code base that just does some basic things that are good enough for A/B pretotype testing. Almost no one explores the pretotype space very well. We should think about how to incorporate pretotyping into our design flow. See David’s webinar on pretotyping.

So we have two possible modes:

  • Design and build pretotypes to test with a test market
  • Design and build our product, ship it to our alpha/beta testers, and continue to improve it.

We plan to use both.

User-Centered Design
It’s critical to come at this from a consumer-behavior point of view. You should really see section 3.1 of the Gray Paper and use user-centered principles in all your communication. It’s absolutely amazing what beginner users can do and how they get themselves into trouble. Our typical customer will get an account on an exchange, send money to that account, convert to ether, then transfer the ether to her Pillar wallet. This will all be very confusing to him or her. They could easily make mistakes just transferring ether in, and that has almost nothing to do with our wallet! People don’t pay attention, they rush, and they simply send all their money to random addresses that look right. Then they wonder why they can’t get it back. They fall prey to phishing hacks all the time, and hackers are very active. This is why several exchanges force people to make small transactions first and limit what they can do in the first days.

Multi-Skilled Teams
We want teams to submit. Examples of the skills needed:

  • User interaction
  • Service design
  • Typography
  • Interaction design
  • Pretotyping
  • Behavioral research
  • Javascript, other front-end scripting languages
  • Customer service

How to find team members? Join our online community and introduce yourself, say you are interested in the contest, and interact with people. Jump into all the various design and UX slacks and other communities and find your partners.

The First Contest
To do this, we will start with a worldwide contest that has a significant prize, so we find talent and creativity around the world, from many different sources. Then, when we find the people who can do our design work, we can hire them, either as contractors or as part-time or full-time employees.

Contest Objectives
We are looking for a mix of simple design and smart thinking. We plan to have several design competitions. They will be short and ongoing, so we iterate quickly and solve problems incrementally. For the first one, we are looking for a) concepts and b) some thought behind them. We are not looking for final or working designs!

We are offering quite a lot of money for this first contest, to get the word around the world and reach the world’s best designers and design thinkers.

Design: 50% of score: We are looking for sketches and concepts on the pillar wallet. For now it’s just visual design. Can be video, slides, a PDF, or a mock-up. See the existing wallets and sketch out a screen flow. Restrict your answer to the Wallet 0.1 feature set. Doesn't have to cover everything, just show the look and feel.

Testing: 20% of score: We are not stopping you from pretotyping and testing your ideas! We would like to see some real-world interaction experience and documentation of your testing. This could be pretotyping or just showing it to people and getting their reactions - it doesn't have to be extensive, just get some feedback, because that's part of the process.

Thinking: 30% of score: Include either a video (link) or a short document or presentation with your ideas for making customers safe, beginner and intermediate users, different needs and use cases, and scaling from 0.1 to 1.0 and then to become the true Pillar wallet envisaged in the Gray Paper. We are looking for sympathetic systems/design thinking. SHOW US you can take this project from a simple 0.1 version to the 1.0 that we will announce to the world. You should also discuss working methodology, and an overall evolution path to the 1.0 product.

Contest Details
Deadline is Midnight GMT on Sunday, September 17th, 2017.

You must be over 18 years old to enter.

You should sign up for our newsletter if you want to participate.

We encourage teams to enter. Include a page of short team-member bios. Include in your entry each person’s name, nationality, email address, and respective percentage allocations for the reward.

First prize is 50 ether
Second prize is 20 ether
Third prize is 10 ether

By submitting, you agree that …

  • You own the rights to everything you submit
  • You have properly compensated or plan to compensate all contributors
  • Are not including any unpaid-for photography
  • You have not been paid by other clients to develop these assets
  • You understand that they will be made public whether you win or lose
  • You agree to participate in the publicity for the project before and after prizes are awarded

Your work will go into the public domain. After receiving all submissions, we will post them in our online community and ask for opinions, but we will be the sole judges. Be sure you are willing to share your entry openly.

For large files, send the URL, do not email large files. We encourage you to use YouTube, Slideshare, and other public repositories.

There will very likely be future contests and development contracts.

Judging will be at the sole determination of the Pillar core team and Twenty Thirty AG. There is no appeals process. We reserve the right to add extra prize money for work we feel deserves a prize. We reserve the right not give any/all prize money out if we don’t find worthy responses. For example, we may not give a first prize if we don’t have an entry we feel deserves it. We’ll reuse the prize money for another contest.

Judging will take place until around September 25. Winners will be announced by 30th of September.

Awards will be immediate and will go to the individual team members according to the allocation. If an application comes from a company, the award money will go to the corporation. Winners will be responsible for paying all taxes.

To enter, send your completed package to [email protected] by midnight GMT on Sunday, September 17, 2017. Only your first submission counts! The best way to do this is to shoot for one week earlier and send it to a review audience, then make your changes and send it to us by the following Sunday. We won’t accept any second submissions, so be SURE you’re sending what you want us to see. There are no exceptions to this - practice first.

Paid employees of 20|30 or the Pillar project are not eligible for this project. Contractors and community members are welcome.

Much of the communication will take place in our upcoming online community, where you can find team members and build an audience. Please watch this blog and the newsletter for further information.

Questions? Email us [email protected]