Principles to build by

Henri Stern


Nov 27, 2023

At Privy, we think a lot about who we build for. This is after all, the single greatest determinant of our product’s shape (rather than the other way around). The following is an excerpt from our internal handbook. We’re excited to share a few principles we build by.

Our target customer is building onchain products for mainstream audiences.

This means a developer whose product would be meaningfully altered if they didn’t have access to a decentralized stack (rather than a skin deep wallet integration), but whose core user is not coming for a web3 product, but rather for a good product. Period.

We believe web3 has much to learn from best practices in design and UX the web-over, but that conversely ignoring web3 idiosyncrasies when crafting a product likely means missing the point of this new stack altogether.

We believe that the intersection of native products and mainstream audiences is where product magic happens: novel interactions built for everyday users. These are the products that will shape self-custody on the web.

Concretely, this translates into three product-building principles we build by, here at Privy:

Embedded wallet or third-party wallet, a user is a user.

What: We ensure that our integrations work equally well for users coming in with third-party wallets and embedded wallets. To the developer, a user is a user.

Why: Delight happens when native apps are built for mainstream users. This means products that make use of the unique things decentralized infra offers but cater to a non-technical audience. Apps that exist for their own sake, rather than as “web3 apps” per se.

We pilot with customers.

What: We work on all novel or cutting-edge integrations with a customer champion driving the shape of the product and ready to use it as soon as we ship it.

Why: We are building product for our customers and to delight their users. By embedding deeply with them and understanding their use case, we will build better products. The risk on the other hand is we get carried away by shiny technology and forget about impact, making Privy a bloated museum of technical rabbit holes.

Built for flexibility, with secure out-of-the-box defaults that work.

What: Privy’s core toolset (user management, wallet connectors, embedded wallets) comes with ready-to-use integrations so developers can get started quickly. It remains flexible enough to enable developers to swap out components for their own as needed. This tension allows us to grow with our customers.

Why: This recognizes where our market stands in terms of maturity. Many developers are still at the early stages of figuring out what their product is and how to build it. We help them by simplifying the stack and getting them going quickly with great ready-to-use options. However, we also understand that scaled customers and mature products are unique and integrations are not one size fits all (especially in a nascent stack), accordingly all core parts of the Privy product must be usable with third-party integrations we didn’t choose.

Share this post