Magic Wormhole is a sophisticated, clever way to send files securely. In this project, we set out to explore how the technology could bring about social justice.

In multiple countries of the world, sharing certain photos, videos and documents can be risky. The goal of the research for Magic Wormhole was to match the secure file transfer technology with potential user communities living in highly censored and surveilled parts of the world. We spoke with 12 individuals from 6 countries in an effort to understand how the technology is relevant and could be used in various contexts.

Our Aim

The goal of this research project was to discover use cases that would then guide the development roadmap for the technology. The outcome was a report filled with research findings, personas that represent use cases, and information to inform the development roadmap for Magic Wormhole. Read more about our methodology on our blog: Matching A Community With Technology.

The Biggest Challenge

The biggest challenge with new technology is encouraging people to change their current behavior in order to adopt new methods. Naturally, our biggest challenge within our research mirrored this. We needed to find cases where the potential for communities to adopt the Magic Wormhole technology was realistic.

To tackle this, we conducted interviews to learn about current file sharing behaviors around the world. By sharing a design prototype to showcase the experience of Magic Wormhole and watch the interviewee interact with it, we could gauge their interest in the technology and identify the most likely communities to adopt the technology as a substitution for their current file sharing methods.


We found interesting insights on file sharing behaviors, storage concerns and available internet connection. We were taken by surprise by the overwhelming number of people who primarily shared files over standard messaging apps. We thought that saving content on the cloud would be a privacy concern for everyone, but for some communities it was helpful for when they wanted content off their devices, but to be easily retrievable.

Partners: Least Authority
Role: Research, UX Strategy