Unlock User Accounts

Unlock Inc. provides a way for users without crypto wallets to buy keys to locks on the Unlock protocol. For this we introduce managed user accounts as well as payment via Credit Card.

By Christopher Nascone on

User accounts let you easily pay with crypto.

The decentralized web is great, but we want it to be available for those who aren't early adopters. Currently interacting with Dapps like Unlock requires the use of a Web3 wallet (like MetaMask on desktop web browsers or the use of a browser with an integrated wallet like Opera). At Unlock we want to provide an on-ramp for everyone, not just those already interested in crypto. Thus, we are pleased to introduce Unlock User Accounts, which allow people with no knowledge of crypto to use our services on selected locks. Once they're ready, they can "eject" their accounts and import them into the wallet of their choice.

A Managed Crypto Wallet

We didn't want to create parallel ecosystems of "haves" and "have-nots" on our protocol, so one of our key challenges was to host Web3 wallets for our users without compromising their privacy or control of their keys. To that end, we store an encrypted wallet with the user's password. We never see the keys, all decryption and wallet interaction is done client-side, and their transactions are carried out on the chain. When a user purchases a key, they pay with their credit card, and our backend purchaser buys the key and transfers it to their account seamlessly.

Signing Up and Logging In

The signup process is quite simple. You can sign up from a supported checkout page, or on our main site. After entering your email, you will receive a confirmation email from us with a link to finish setting up the account with a password. After that, you can set up a payment method through Stripe so that you can make your key purchases!

In The Longer Term

We're not fans of lock-in, so don't think that this is an attempt to get hooks into naive users. When a user account is ready to "graduate," the account holder can eject the account and take control of it themselves, retaining all their keys and transaction history.


We're enabling user accounts for our partners on select locks (reach out to us using the little widget in the lower right corner if you're interested!), keys for which are denominated in DAI (a USD stable coin). We charge a small fee to facilitate the transaction, which is added to the price at checkout and clearly broken down so people know what we're charging and why. The final price in dollars is computed as the amount of DAI, credit card fees, and our service fee (which we use to pay for gas!)

For example, consider a 10 DAI lock. The fee structure will be approximately as follows:

| Fee | Amount Charged | | :-------------------------- | --------------: | | Base lock price (DAI) | $10.00 | | Credit card processing fee | $0.61 | | Unlock service fee (gas...) | $0.50 | | | Total: $11.11 |

You may (rightfully) consider that this is a fairly high cost for using credit cards... but that price is usually hidden for you, as the merchants are the ones paying for it.


We believe we're now providing a way for non crypto users to purchase Non Fungible Tokens to access their favorite content or software, without requiring them to go through the hassle of purchasing crypto currencies first.

Let us know what you think!