Episode 19

Conor Okus and Christoph Ono on the Bitcoin Design Community


January 11th, 2022

44 mins 25 secs

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About this Episode


Conor Okus | Christoph Ono


Richard Littauer | Georgia Bullen | Memo Esparza

Show Notes

Hello and welcome to Sustain Open Source Design! The podcast where we talk about sustaining open source with design. Learn how we, as designers, interface with open source in a sustainable way, how we integrate into different communities, and how we as coders, work with other designers. Today, we are joined by two guests, Christoph Ono, who is a UX and digital product designer from the Bitcoin Design Community, and Conor Okus, who works for Block, and is part of an initiative called Spiral, previously Square Crypto. On this episode, we are going all out looking at design for Bitcoin. Christoph and Conor fill us in about the Bitcoin Design Community, Bitcoin Design grants, and some challenges they had to face in the process of setting this community up. They go in depth about the designer’s principles, the life cycle of a project, how they decided to focus on the onboarding side. Also, Conor tells us more about a video series he helped design to learn the basics of how Bitcoin works called, Hello Bitcoin. There is so much more to hear, so go ahead and download this episode now to find out!

[00:01:27] Memo, Richard, Georgia, Conor, and Christoph give us a brief introduction of what they do, and we find out how Conor and Christoph know each other.

[00:10:02] Conor and Christoph fill us in on what’s so special about the Bitcoin Design grants and if they have seen a lot of design grants in the crypto space. Christoph tells us his plan on how he wants to pay it forward to make the grant possible for others.

[00:14:25] Find out more about the Bitcoin Design Community, how many contributors there are, how many designers have been funded, and the projects.

[00:17:48] Christoph shares some of the challenges he’s run in to and how they scope a problem for contributors to work on.

[00:21:34] Christoph and Conor explain how they ended up focusing on the onboarding side.

[00:25:03] Georgia wonders if they have a sense of where people are coming from, and if they’re coming with a design background, or a Bitcoin background, and if that has an effect on what they’re able to do.

[00:30:12] Christoph and Conor tell us more about the designer’s principles and what they’re doing to ensure they are praised for their work.

[00:33:58] Find out more about the life cycle of a project and the design review process. Conor tells us about a video series he does to help people understand how Bitcoin works called, Hello Bitcoin.

[00:36:40] We end with Conor telling us a little bit about Lightening Network, and Christoph shares what he would love to see next year for all creatives and designers.

[00:38:53] Find out where you can follow Conor and Christoph on the internet.


[00:18:40] “I always try to encourage, share early, even if it’s rough, because someone else may help push you in the right direction.”

[00:27:25] “I would consider it an environment where designers have to work more closely to a protocol than another environment. You may have to move slower at times, and you may have to think through with more rigidity. Setting that as an expectation is quite important.”

[00:29:10] “I have never worked with such principled designers and developers.”

[00:31:42] "Bitcoin is a lot more long-termed focused.”

[00:32:50] “One of the ideas is that any self-motivated designer can come in and say I have an idea, and then they do it because they’re excited about it. And then there’s support.”


  • [00:39:43] Memo’s spotlight is a crypto tool called The Giving Block.
  • [00:40:39] Georgia’s spotlights are a pattern library called, Decent Patterns, or Decentralization, off the shelf. Also, a workshop she hosted at Mozilla Festival called, “Explain Decentralization To Me.”
  • [00:41:41] Richard’s spotlight is Karri Saarinen.
  • [00:42:22] Christoph’s spotlight is Penpot.
  • [00:42:45] Conor’s spotlight is a project called, Bitcoin Smiles.