PIVX Stakebox: A Heuristic Analysis

The following review of the PIVX Stakebox is meant to serve as a friendly, yet professional outside pair of eyes for the PIVX and Stakebox teams. It is based on a heuristic analysis and highlights a few pros and cons surrounding the user experience of the PIVX Stakebox.

A heuristic analysis, in brief, leverages established design principles (heuristics) to evaluate the user experience / usability of a product or interface. For more information on the heuristics used / cited in this review, please see Nielsen Norman Group's 10 Usability Heuristics for User Interface Design.

Our mission at Chockablock is to help those working with blockchain technology ( 1 ) identify their product's barriers to adoption and ( 2 ) create a better user experience for existing and future users. We offer a full stack of consulting services in the areas of user research, usability testing, and user experience design. This review is done gratis for the cause. However, if the information proves useful, tips are most certainly welcome.

The above recording is of our initial interactions with the PIVX Stakebox and does not necessarily  provide the same information as the review below. However, we encourage the PIVX and Stakebox teams to view the recording as it does provide a first-person perspective into an actual user's experience when setting up and using the device and wallet. 

Please Note

During our review of the PIVX Stakebox we discovered that there are technical limitations preventing the PIVX wallet from running successfully on a Raspberry Pi. For this reason we will only discuss a few aspects of the PIVX wallet's interface without referencing the process of setting up the actual Stakebox to run the wallet. Further, we strongly encourage Stakebox.org to remove this item from their online store.  

The PIVX wallet provides users with interactive status icons


  • Visibility of system status
  • Consistency and standards
  • Error Prevention

One of our favorite things about the PIVX staking wallet are the interactive status icons located in the bottom right corner. We've found that other staking wallets also leverage icons in this area to convey the same type of information to users regarding the wallet's status - so there's a bit of consistency and standards being established across different staking wallets. This is great as it provides users with familiar experiences from one wallet to the next. However, this is the first time we've seen icons in a staking wallet that also provide users with shortcuts to options otherwise buried in the menu. 

The only one that causes us a bit of concern is the wallet encryption and lock status icon. Here, a user can hover over the icon to see if the wallet is encrypted and locked. If the wallet is locked, then the user can select the icon to bring up the option to unlock the wallet with the passphrase. This is good functionality. However, if the wallet is unlocked and the user selects the icon, then the wallet locks without first providing the user with a confirmation modal or any type of warning other than a slight change to the icon's appearance. This is problematic as it makes it easy for users to accidentally lock their wallet without knowing it happened - and a locked PIVX wallet cannot stake. This would be like accidentally turning off your savings account's ability to accrue interest or your stocks from providing dividends. The fact that a primary use-case of staking wallets is to set-it-and-forget-it so your tokens can earn passive income means that it might be a while before a user notices that the wallet is locked. We recommend that there be a confirmation presented to the user if they select the icon while the wallet is unlocked for the purposes of error prevention. 

Users are not presented enough upfront warning and direction during encryption process


  • Error Prevention
  • Recognition rather than recall

To encrypt the PIVX wallet, users create and enter a passphrase. Naturally, a wallet passphrase must be complex. It's a passPHRASE, after all, not a passWORD. However, this is a paradigm shift for users who are used to the current status quo of login credentials (i.e., the use of passwords they can remember but, if they do happen to forget, can easily reset via the now ubiquitous "I forgot my password" feature.)

pivx encrypt.gif

Unfortunately, users are not provided any upfront warning about the importance of not losing their passphrase. The only warning comes after the user has already entered the passphrase twice and selected "OK." At this point, if the user has not written the passphrase down and selects YES (accidentally or not), their ability to access their coins is 100% dependent on their memory. We recommend that users are presented with a warning about the importance of not losing their passphrase before they begin entering it in for the first time. Further, we also recommend that this warning instruct users to physically write down their passphrase so it can be referenced during entry and then stored in a safe place afterwards.