Phantom, a self-custodial browser extension and crypto wallet built for Solana, became the ecosystem’s top dog despite lacking a mobile app–hitting 1.8 million monthly active users in just nine months.
With the mobile app public rollout approaching, CryptoSlate touched base with Phantom co-founder and CEO, Brandon Millman, who cleared the air about the bumpy iOS beta launch.
Mobile app launch
The Solana wallet built for DeFi & NFTs crushed it in 2021–since the public launch of the browser-extension product in July, Phantom grew to 1.8 million active users, facilitating 55 million DApp transactions.
1/4 — 2021 has been an incredible year for Phantom & the @solana ecosystem! We opened up our invite-only beta in March and then launched publicly in July.
In just 9 months we have grown to over 1.8M monthly active users with no sign of slowing down! pic.twitter.com/kY4tjBQuyv
— Phantom (@phantom) January 1, 2022
“For 2022, we are planning on coming hot out of the gate with our full public iOS launch, an Android app, and improvements to private key management,” said Millman, revealing that Phantom is exploring the possibility of expanding to other blockchain ecosystems.
According to Millman, when the original IOS beta launch was announced, the phantom community provided initial feedback that caught the Phantom team off guard due to a greater misunderstanding.
“With a limit of 7,000 beta invites available due to restrictions from Apple and TestFlight, our original intention was to use the overwhelming demand for early access to also do some good by donating 100% of all proceeds from the Dutch auction to Girls Who Code,” he explained the idea behind the NFT auction on Magic Eden.
Auction winners were supposed to use their NFTs to redeem invites to the wallet’s iOS Beta TestFlight group, but Phantom scrapped the plan following the community’s backlash.
“There is a huge misunderstanding that invites were selling for 8 SOL as that’s not how Dutch auctions work–it would start at 8 SOL and decrease in value over time. People could choose to bid at whatever price they felt the invite was worth,” Millman clarified, underscoring that Phantom had no plans to profit from any of the donations.
Our donation has been made to @GirlsWhoCode through @getchangehq via https://t.co/X6s0gOipIZ $200k / 1,111.11 SOLhttps://t.co/a3eW4w7PnU
— Phantom (@phantom) December 28, 2021
“Due to this misunderstanding, we have made all 7.000 invites available from now until January on a first come first serve basis for free,” he concluded by explaining how Phantom restructured the beta access rollout.
According to Millman, one of the defining differences between Phantom and other wallets on the market stems from prioritizing users.
“This means developing a wallet with a world-class user experience, constantly listening to and ingesting user feedback to be incorporated into the product, and communicating with users,” he explained, adding that “this attitude extends past the walls of the application itself and into facets of the experience like support and content.”
The advent of Web3
With the advent of Web3, Millman said the “wallets are becoming the new browsers to the (decentralized) internet.”
Down the adoption line, he believes that traditional institutions onboarding with their own crypto wallets will soon grow into competitors.
“We’re already seeing large tech companies like Facebook and Square jumping into the fray, it’s not long until the trend trickles down to slower movers like banks,” added Millman.
However, as the adoption continues unraveling–new users are followed by new scams.
“The fight against phishing and scamming is a continuous cat and mouse game. As scammers become more sophisticated, it is our job to keep up and stay ahead of them by making improvements to the wallet application,” commented Millman, adding that “in order to do this, we must acknowledge that fighting scammers must be a core competency of the company, on the same level as user experience and technical performance.”
According to him, this attitude expands into investments like user education and the employment of third-party takedown services.
“The influx of users due to NFTs is multiple orders of magnitude greater compared to that of DeFi, which came before it,” said Millman, commenting on how NFTs are helping to pave the way for crypto’s mainstream adoption.
“The new cohort of users that are attracted to NFTs are more casual and mobile-first,” he added, predicting that in 2022, we will see a rise in collectibles that can be used in interactive environments (i.e. games).
While noting that he is personally bullish on the continued rise of NFTs as art and collectibles, Millman remains “a bit bearish on ‘real-world’ use-cases of NFTs like ticketing and things like house-deeds.”
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