Every now and then, I would hear someone say that web3 is at a very nascent stage. And guess what? They’re right. It is. There’s a lot of BUIDLing that needs to happen to become at par with web2 counterparts. Taking back the control of your data is sexy. But if masses don’t adopt, you would be the one of the handful people on a platform albeit owning your own data.
But there’s another thing that I want to confess. Some of these people think that Web3 is #NGMI. Reason? It’s not up to the mark in terms of features, UI and UX to compete with web2 giants. And that’s when my blood starts to boil. So in this particular post, I am simply going to take a case study of a web2 giant (probably the largest in my country) and compare my experience of interacting with vis-à-vis a DeFi protocol. Yes, I am talking about State Bank of India a.k.a SBI.
It’s that time of the year. No, I am not talking about Christmas or New Year. I am talking about the dreaded taxation. Whatever you declare to save in the beginning of the year, needs to be proved now. To my misfortune, I opened my PPF account with SBI. Why? Because my dad’s office was right above an SBI branch and he had some connections who were in need of savings/PPF accounts.
Long story short, I never use SBI for any other purpose than PPF. So every month, I would transfer my share of investments in the PPF account through UPI and then forget about it. But this time around, I also needed a statement to share with the taxman at office.
And that’s when I had my eureka moment. For those who think web3 needs to improve, let’s first talk about how the infrastructure of a web2 company sucks big time. This is going to be a fun rant. I never loved SBI but now I even hate it more.
The Forgot Password:
It’s the year 2022. Phones that feature a finger print based unlock start from a measly 6000 bucks. Despite that, Mr. SBI for some reason doesn’t have that feature. So this time when I decided to login (after a complete year may be?), I was hit with a password mismatch. I tried every password under the sun but it just won’t work.
But hey, it wasn’t as easy as you think. For it should give you those ‘Sarkari Bank’ vibes.
So, to my surprise, when I open the application I am asked if I am an existing SBI customer or new to SBI. Once I chose the former option, I am asked to pick a SIM using which I registered. So far so good right?
But then, I am hit with a timer. Please wait while system checks your number. Each time this 120 second timer would go to zero and ultimately tell me that I am already registered for Netbanking (ikr? I just told you that I am returning customer).
The very next step is super obvious. You have to enter your ID and password.
This is where the fun begins. I put in an ID and a password and it would take me to the page where I put in an OTP. So for the first time, I try putting an ID password and then start waiting for the OTP. But it never comes. I refresh my message app but no success.
That’s when I decide to hit ‘Resend OTP’ button. And you know what it tells me? That username or password is incorrect. I feel violated man! This is just senseless.
Why didn’t you tell me earlier? This doesn’t end here. Every time I try out a new ID/Password combination, it is going to tell me only when I select the resend password option.
This means that each try has to take a minimum of 30s. Awesome. I know it’s unbelievable. That’s why I made a video to prove it.
The Website Woes:
And when the shit marketed YONO application wasn’t good enough, I decided to check on to their website. Legit right? That’s what I thought. But then, I was welcomed with this beautiful screen.
If you’re thinking, neither of the links on this pop are interactable. I cannot click on those buttons to go to the playstore/app store (not that I wanted to). Also the website wasn’t a hyperlink.
SBI: Type, you god damn peasant!
So I then hop on to the next site in a bid to find some answer to my questions.
The agony is about to begin:
I opened the link mentioned on the site and start the process of resetting my password. Now whenever I would enter my details (and trust me I entered it a gazzilion times), I would get this message:
Invalid User ID/Account No./Mobile No./ Date of Birth
That’s not the best way of telling someone where they’re wrong. I understand about the security concerns but for god’s sake, give me SOMETHING.
It’s equivalent of saying, we don’t know, but something doesn’t feel right here.
Anyway, I decide to use the principal of elimination here. I know my account number ( I even validated it from the passbook). I am sure that I have only had one mobile number ever since I opened account in this bank. Finally, date of birth is rare to goof up with.
So I conclude that I might be making mistake on the user ID. This time around, I decide to pick “Forgot user ID” option to see if I can do something about it.
One thing leads to another and I am finally hit with this message:
Yet again, I am not sure. This is an extremely subtle way of asking someone to fuck off.
I don’t want to make this blogpost about bashing SBI. Although I don’t understand, but they may their own reasons for not focusing on customer experience. But there are some points we should keep in mind while evaluating a digital ecosystem:
A. I don’t know how many of you are complaining about the likes of SBI on a daily basis, but since I have maintained this perception for past 2 years now and nothing has changed, it makes me believe that a lot of people are still visiting branches to get their jobs done.
In such a landscape, adoption of web3 is going to be an even bigger challenge. Web3 has no physical manifestation of it. It’s purely digital and online. Long live Jio may be?
B. We talk about ease of transaction in web3 and how it’s extremely cumbersome to connect wallet and sign every transaction. What about web2? We’re not there yet in terms of web2, leave aside web3.
C. Another key insight to note here is that this is happening in a country with world’s largest and most evolved payments infrastructure. There’s a special focus on digital Bharat. I don’t know what other countries must be facing.
D. And finally, this tells me that 2022 is going to be an year of UI/UX in web3. Why? Because most of these companies are being led by young disruptive innovators. Legacy companies are going to fall behind in this race if they don’t pivot their mentality soon enough.
Still stuck with the password? Yes. I wasn’t able to recover it. Also, I would not visit a branch to recover it because I can only imagine the horrendous situation I would be putting myself into. For now, I would think of a way around.
What’s your experience of dealing with CeFi giants like these?
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