TryCrypto's vision is to make crypto easy for everyone with apps such as "Folio" that uses photos for crypto accounts


Most people don't try cryptocurrency because it seems scary and complicated. They face a "chasm of intimidation." The ecosystem needs to do more work to make the technology more accessible to non-technical people before it can become mainstream. With TryCrypto my vision is to build tools and create content to make crypto easier to understand and more accessible to people. For the Hackathon, I built an app called "Folio" which makes Ethereum account management as easy as the ubiquitous photo gallery converting ordinary photos into crypto “photograms."

What it does

The Folio app leverages the open XMP (Extensible Metadata Platform) to use photos as a means of storing Ethereum address and public key information. It eliminates the need for people to remember (or save) mnemonic pass-phrases and private keys, and instead uses visual techniques such as Instagram filters, emojis and pattern locks to create a simple, easy-to-understand approach to crypto transactions. Without compromising security, Folio provides an integrated desktop app for Mac and Windows that people can use to view their crypto assets, interact with dApps and send/receive crypto.

How I built it

My goal is to make the TryCrypto Photogram framework available for anyone to use. I started with an Open Source photo gallery app (Tropy) and transformed it significantly to manage Ethereum accounts. The app is based on Electron so it runs on Mac, Windows and Linux. The XMP libraries for JS all have issues so it was complicated making the metadata embedding work. I also spent a fair bit of time coming up with techniques to securely protect accounts without compromising ease of use.

Challenges I ran into

Since no one has attempted to make a consumer-grade account manager, everything was new territory. The main challenges I had were in XMP handling, emoji library compatibility. And of course, time. I could not implement my full vision for the hackathon.

Accomplishments that I'm proud of

I was successful in creating an app that really makes interacting with crypto simple so even my kids can use it. I am especially proud of the innovative use of embedded metadata as it makes Ethereum accounts portable.

What I learned

I learned a lot about XMP, mnemonic passphrases, entropy, Ethereum address, private and public key generation and metadata standards.

What's next for TryCrypto

I would like to apply for funding from the Ethereum Foundation so I can fully realize the TryCrypto vision. In addition to making the Folio app production-grade, I also want to create a series of comics that explain crypto to the public. I have developed a cartoon character “Merkle Macaw” and am working on the art and scripts.

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