Ripple has changed significantly over the nearly three years I worked there, but the vision has always stayed the same: "Enable people to move money like the internet allows people to move information". We started out with a consumer focus but found that the real value was working with financial institutions where money is custodied.
I worked on every major product and project at Ripple that occurred during my tenure. It required a lot of context switching and understanding entirely new elements of business and technology, to which I hadn't had any exposure before.
I started as a UX Product Designer and moved into Product Management. I took over products that I had been spending a majority of my time designing. This allowed me to continue the design work and have more input for the long-term direction of the products.
One of the more interesting aspects to come from the rise of blockchain technology and cryptocurrencies is new security requirements and the interaction of identity and money. With previous concepts of money, there were two primary methods of security: physical security of assets and trusted third-party security (e.g. holding money in a bank). Both of those methods have gone through a lot of iterations and legislation throughout history. We had to attack the relatively new frontier of cryptographic security.
The methods that we employed have shown to have better than industry standard protection against theft, while also having good protection against catastrophic account loss.
The pseudo-anonymous nature of cryptocurrencies has sparked questions of money laundering and other illicit activity. In contrast to the prevailing questions, especially in the more nascent stages, I worked with internal and external resources to pioneer an identity program that could have large potential, even outside of the cryptocurrency space. The architecture was robust and ready, but it was shelved as we moved from consumer to enterprise solutions, where banks were working under current regulatory burdens for their identity programs.
Financial markets and data can be incredibly complex, but we found that many of our users were accessing this on the go to respond to real-time changes in market conditions. We made data and trading interfaces that were comprehensible and interactive on mobile to respond to customer needs.
The nature of blockchains is to produce a vast amount of data. We used that data internally to gain knowledge of how the Ripple protocol was being used as well as to meet our regulatory and compliance burdens. We designed and built a variety of tools, visualizations, reports, and alerts on top of a well maintained, responsive data warehouse for complex queries.
User experience does not just come down to an individual's interactions with a user interface. I had to understand and design for complex bank integrations. These take into account not only the end user, whether that is an individual in a business role or software development role, but also where in the bank's architecture and security procedures our solution will fit.