Announcing the Bitcoin Design Guide

Bitcoin Design
4 min readJun 2, 2021

The Bitcoin Design Guide is here! 🎨

This free and open resource aims to help designers and developers build better Bitcoin products faster. The guide covers everything from Bitcoin basics to user onboarding, private key management, and designing transaction flows. Whether you’re a seasoned designer or just getting started, the guide was designed with your Bitcoin journey in mind.


The Bitcoin Design Guide is a product of the Bitcoin Design Community, which was kick-started by Square Crypto in the summer of 2020. We realized that one of the biggest hurdles for designers in Bitcoin was a startling lack of reference resources. If you wanted to design Bitcoin applications, you had to do as much researching as designing.

While the community had many ideas for its first project, the lack of reference resources produced the most duplicated work, and therefore the most pain. Using Slack, video calls, and Google Docs, the Bitcoin Design Community created a rough table of contents that outlined what the guide could and should be. While much has changed since then, it has stayed surprisingly close to the original framework.

Almost a year in the making, the Bitcoin Design Guide is now ready for broad circulation and additional contributors. Dozens of designers, developers, and other contributors from the Bitcoin Design Community have already chipped in. Huge thank you to them.

The guide is divided into chapters created by individuals working with the community in an open and collaborative way — a first for a tech design guide. To stay true to Bitcoin’s open-source nature, all of the content is available on GitHub. All you need to start contributing is an account.

What’s in the guide?

More than fifty information-filled pages define this first version of the guide. Here’s a brief look at what’s inside.

Getting started

This chapter is all about big Bitcoin design concepts. It provides top-level overviews of Bitcoin’s visual language, software, and hardware.

Designing Bitcoin products

A closer look at designing Bitcoin applications, this chapter covers From the concept of open design, fundamental Bitcoin design principles, frameworks like the usage life cycle, and the intersection of Bitcoin and personal finance.


Onboarding can make or break UX. Many bitcoin users have bank accounts, debit cards, and a lot of ingrained ideas about money. On the other hand, close to two billion people have no exposure to traditional financial institutions.. This chapter shows designers how to create onboarding experiences that work for both.

Private key management

An overview of available approaches, advice, and best practices regarding private key management, perhaps the most important of all — if your application is not secure enough, you risk losing the user’s funds. But if it’s not convenient enough, you risk losing the user.


At its core, the Bitcoin protocol is a way to make payments. This chapter provides best practices for sending and receiving bitcoin, in addition to how and where they intersect with privacy concerns.

Case studies

Explores diverse use cases for Bitcoin applications such as daily spending, saving, prototyping, and upgradeable and shared accounts with wireframes designs.

What’s next

So is the Bitcoin Design Guide done? Not at all. Since Bitcoin is always evolving, so will the guide. To keep the guide, ourselves, and the greater bitcoin design community up to speed, we’re always looking for additional feedback and contributors. The more people who chip in, the more people the guide can help. Join us in the Bitcoin Design community Slack to get in touch.

Beyond building the guide itself, we are interested in helping designers get the most from it through workshops, mentoring, video how-tos, and other resources. We have ideas, but want to hear from you so that we can move forward together.

The Bitcoin Design Guide really is a community project, and we would like to thank everyone that helped bring it to life. Whether that was by writing, illustrating, designing prototypes, reviewing, commenting, acquiring domain names, writing snarky tweets, or providing grants to designers—thank you!



Bitcoin Design

A free, open-source community resource for designers, developers and others working on non-custodial Bitcoin products.