In October 2017, I received a Telegram voice call from Viktor. He told me that he had been working on an iOS Ethereum Wallet for the past month. We discussed ideas about making a cryptocurrency wallet that would be accessible to people of all ages. Later, he asked if I was interested in working on the project together. 🚀
When I joined the team, I was the only front-end developer. The project had just been conceived a few weeks prior to Viktor reaching out to me. To give a little background, Trust Wallet is an open source Ethereum Wallet that supports ERC20 tokens.
We did not have to spend any money to acquire our power users. We only focused on building the product and interacting with the users in a Telegram group. Working with Viktor was a pivotal experience in my personal growth as I had the opportunity to witness first-hand working on a product relentlessly, talking to the users at near real-time response rates while continuing to ship features regardless of the stage of reputation.
On July 31, 2018, Binance acquired 2 Trust Wallet.
As I look back on the journey, let me summarize my biggest takeaways from the experience in this post.
- Be relentlessly resourceful. When you are in a team of 1 ~ 5, everyone needs to step up and take care of whatever is necessary. I had to constantly challenge myself to crawl out of my comfort zone and complete tasks within short time frames and pick up things quickly. Sometimes, users do not have the time and patience for you to come through, which is why it’s crucial to never stop learning, building, and shipping 🚢. Always make sure you deliver what you promised.
- Establish an online presence. While building the core product is the #1 priority, building the name and online presence is just as important. It isn’t always just “build first and launch later”. In our case, building an online presence worked in our favor, and the first step we took was set Google Alerts of the keywords (Trust Wallet, Ethereum Wallet etc). This is because whenever users encounter issues, they post it to forums and mention these keywords. We would then be notified by emails, and be able to address their concerns right away. Whenever a solution is posted, the team should always upvote, clap, like, share, retweet, or do anything they can to get maximum exposure of potential users. The team should also invite their friends and reminding them to always leave reviews. It is important to remember that whenever a negative review is posted on the App Store, the team should always address the issue promptly and politely ask for the ratings to be revised.
- Community, community, and community. A community is the fundamental backbone of a company. One thing that Trust Wallet’s marketing or customer service does really well is interacting with the users on the Telegram group at a near real-time customer support response rate. You would almost always get a reply within ~10 seconds. An unusual trend I noticed that happened in the group was that users themselves started volunteering to answer questions, which made interaction even more efficient as there were always helpful users to help answer questions despite the different time zones between users and the team members.
- Engage with the Ethereum users offline. Attend relevant local meetups in San Francisco and get involved in the community and find out what pain points users experience when using an Ethereum Wallet. From experience, I learned that utilizing these mediums to help spread word about Trust Wallet was definitely a crucial step.
- Reach out to potential partnerships. In the early stages, many ETH websites offered users Metamask as their only option to access their funds. So, by partnering with the ETH websites, we managed to increase the number of Trust Wallet users. Check out the partnerships established following the link: https://dapps.trustwalletapp.com
So here are some of my key takeaways from my time at Trust Wallet. Hopefully this will serve as something beneficial to you, as well as a reminder for myself of what I have learned working on a startup and an open source project. Please keep in mind that this reflection is solely based on my personal experiences.
Remember to focus on the product and the users, because when you have a strong product, everything else will eventually fall into place.
1The initial site of Trust Wallet had been removed from the Trust Wallet organization without any notice. Hence, I’ve pushed the codebase to my GitHub as a local repository. I later learned that the removal of the repository was to migrate to Webflow so it reduced the hassle of making changes to the site.