CryptAvatar - Improving wallet usability

A lot of you know about Gravatar, a globally recognized avatar service. It's essentially a website that lets you set an avatar that is associated with your email address across multiple places, like forums, StackExchange, etc. From a user experience standpoint it's a great service that can fetch all of your relevant data wherever you go without you having to type it in over and over again.

Awhile back I learned that Gravatar supports Bitcoin addresses. Neat! Now anyone can know your address of choice for Bitcoin, Litecoin and Dogecoin. Sample profile. This is useful if say, you want to tip someone some BTC and only know their email and so forth.

However, if this concept was expanded a bit, this could become a really neat feature for a number of wallets!

Friendly wallet profiles

Imagine that whenever you scan someone's address, instead of seeing a boring string like "18zRT8jaHJUZe3foLcHkocV468dZ9sGiBq", you would see someone's profile picture. You could easily identify who you're paying to, what's their name and so forth. This would be a much friendlier user experience. Essentially, it could look a bit like what PayPal did with their mobile app:

While this wouldn't protect users from some fraud of someone creating a fake profile and what have you, it would still make Bitcoin wallets more user friendly.

Pay to anything

At the moment Gravatar does not support searching for a user profile by anything other than their email, which is very limiting. If we could search by users' coin addresses, we could use their Gravatar images easier. Moreover, if Gravatar supported searching by any field the wallets would become even more user friendly. Imagine being able to find someone's Bitcoin address by their Twitter handle, phone number, or any other online profile. This would eliminate the need to scan QR codes while still allowing for easy person-to-person payments.

CryptAvatar, a sample implementation

Awhile back I was inspired to create a sample implementation of what Gravatar could become for crypto users. I call it CryptAvatar. It's a service that allows any wallet provider to search for peoples' public profiles using their email, coin address, Twitter handle, phone number and a number of other handles. It supports any currency using a similar address scheme as Bitcoin. Data is presented in a human and machine readable code. Here is a sample profile found by a handle:

Now we just have to wait for some wallet services to start supporting this...

In conclusion

All in all, Gravatar supporting Bitcoin addresses in their public profile is great, but given a few more tweaks and more searchable data a service like Gravatar focused on cryptocurrencies could really take off!

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