Arwen—the most secure way to trade on centralized cryptocurrency exchanges
Arwen—formerly known as Commonwealth Crypto—is a new trading application and trading protocol. Arwen enables trading at a centralized exchange without risking losing cryptocurrency, even if the exchange is hacked.
Based in Boston, Arwen’s founders are seasoned experts in security and cryptography. They “designed a system where blockchains would provide the security rather than a central trusted party that can be targeted.” By utilizing "on-blockchain escrows and off-blockchain atomic swaps," Arwen offers the best of centralized and decentralized cryptocurrency trading.
The Commonwealth Crypto team hired me to rename the company and create a visual identity to reflect their reliable, robust, and secure cryptocurrency offering. I helped the team identify the brand attributes, positioning, and metaphors that formed the foundation for the naming and design of the new brand.
As part of a brand definition process I led, we explored several metaphor directions for the name. The team liked the idea of nimble protection—things that shield or guard but are not rooted to one place.
A challenge was to avoid any name that would imply centralization. With cryptocurrency, decentralization provides better security and custodianship. Arwen, one of the name options I presented in the first round, is a fictional character and a wise and trusted protector of travelers—a personification of the metaphor direction.
After the team selected a name, I explored different design directions for the brand symbol and visual identity. Shown is the final design direction. The triangular shape resembles a capital letter A. The negative space within the brand symbol represents an instantaneous atomic swap—with another triangle beneath to reflect the swapped triangle. Atomic swaps are cryptographically enforced in the Arwen protocol. We later visualized atomic swaps a little differently so that the atomic swap icon was more accurate technically and consistent with the rest of the brand iconography.
The Arwen team and I worked iteratively to visualize key Arwen concepts—such as "locked on blockchain escrow"—and to create an icon design system that would be flexible enough to include common trading and cryptocurrency concepts like liquidity and blockchain. We also iterated on diagrams to explain how Arwen works for users and centralized exchanges.
After the naming and visual identity were approved, I worked on a third phase: designing Arwen’s responsive website. Throughout the process, on all phases, I working closely with Scott Sigel, Arwen’s head of BD and Marketing. During the website design phase we worked closely together on the copy and supporting illustration.
- Their Goal: Make Cryptocurrency Less Scary – Boston Globe, Feb 2019
- This Startup Is Fixing The Biggest Security Hole In Bitcoin Exchanges – Forbes, Jan 2019
- Crypto Startup Wants You to Trade on Exchanges Without Trusting Them – Coindesk, Jan 2019
- Arwen Enables Self-Custody for Traders of Centralized Crypto Exchanges – Bitcoin.com, Jan 2019
- Arwen and KuCoin to Safeguard Cryptocurrency Investors against Heists on Centralized Exchanges – Bitcoin Exchange Guide, Jan 2019
- Brand Identity
- Website Design
- Sharon Goldberg – CEO / Co-Founder
- Ethan Heilman – CTO / Co-Founder
- Scott Sigel – Director Business Development and Marketing
- James Dalessandro – Arwen Design Lead
- Oak – Website Development