GRAFT Development Status Update January 16th, 2019

Today is GRAFT blockchain’s 1st birthday! One year ago, on January 16th, 2018, a team of a few developers and several miners launched the GRAFT mainnet. Happy Birthday, GRAFT blockchain!

This week is shaping up to be big on deliverables:

  • Alpha RTA version 4 – this version brings greatly improved stability to the SuperNode
  • Improved RTA workflow proposal (based on the community input and vulnerabilities found)
  • Exchange broker and sample test application with installation instructions made public on github and made to work on the RTA AlphaNet

Stretch goals:

  • Payment Gateway and BigCommerce plugin on RTA AlphaNet
  • Monero 13 merge

We would like to be more specific and technical in our development updates, so we have included a breakdown by specific tasks for each topic below.

Core Team

  • Making last preparations and bug fixes for Alpha4 release.
  • Working on stack transaction functionality.
  • Progressing on Monero13 merge
  • Working on the next revision of Auth flow and Communication RFCs

Payment Gateway

Preparing for transfer to RTA TestNet

TMS-150 Payment Gateway: Refactor pages

TMS-151 Payment Gateway: Documentation for developers (GitHub description)

TMS-152 Payment Gateway: changing in config file

TMS-157 Exchange Broker: check source code

TMS-159 Payment Gateway: installation test

Exchange Broker

Preparing for transfer to RTA TestNet

TMS-154 Exchange Broker: check configuration file

TMS-153 Exchange Broker: Installation and deployment documentation

TMS-160 Exchange Broker: installation test

ColdPay Card / Hard Wallet

Continuing to do R&D on implementing a smart-card based mobile wallet / payment mechanism

TMS-140 2.3 a) Discovering transaction structure and signing procedure in the Monero testnet: transaction structure and hash base: Monero unsigned tx set & Monero signed tx set discovered and parsed by means of Trezor monero-agent code (https://github.com/ph4r05/monero-agent)

Best Regards,

GRAFT team

Upcoming Wallet Redesign


There are lots of cool features we’re planning for GRAFT and GRAFT wallet in particular. These changes will be rolled out over time as the supporting functionality develops inside the GRAFT network and around it, but we wanted to give you a sneak preview of things to come. 🙂

Improved and Ehnanced Payment Workflow

Those QR codes that you’re scanning off POS actually carry product information inside of them that the wallet can display to the user and store for future recall and analysis.

Rich Transaction Logging

All transactions will be logged – both the sale (RTA) and transfer transactions. What’s more, the sale transactions will store the metadata about the transaction for further analysis.

Improved Login Usability

We hear you – the login needs to be fast and easy, passwords are evil. 🙂

Better Wallet Management

Being able to manage multiple wallets without having to reset the wallet every time.

P2P Transfers connected to Address Book

Ability to launch and manage SuperNodes and Exchange Brokers right from the App

We want to make launching and managing the nodes and brokers super-easy and accessible to everyone.

Integration with CryptoFind

so you can find those locations that accept digital currencies

Integration with ColdPay Wallet / Payment card

Oh, and last but by far not the least, multisignature support in the underlying blockchain and its innovative use with the wallet means that the phone app can still be light without sacrificing security.

As usual, we welcome constructive comments from the community around wallet design and other topics!

GRAFT Development Status Update January 9th, 2019

Hi everyone, this is our first update on GRAFT development activities in 2019!

With the New Year off to a great start, we are closing in on several important milestones and deliverables in Q1 of 2019.

For the past 3 weeks we have been hard at work on:

  • 1. Preparing to the publish payment gateway, exchange broker, and BigCommerce plugin on RTA alphanet
  • 2. Making solid progress with the Monero 13 merge
  • 3. Working on the new proposed RTA flow based on community feedback
  • 4. Solidifying the development tasks for the Beta launch now that all the uncertainties are removed

In the next three months we’re looking at a very busy and aggressive delivery schedule:

Payment Gateway, Exchange Broker (RTA testnet) ww 3
Selective Monero 13 Merge ww 4
BigCommerce plugin ww 5
Payout broker (RTA testnet) ww 7
RTA on Mainnet Testing ww 8
RTA Mainnet Release ww 11

We’re doing our best to adhere to the timelines, but as usual with complex software development, please allow room for potential delays.

The payment gateway, exchange broker and BigCommerce plugin are critical elements to adoption as they represent the user side of the network. As such we’ll be looking for volunteers to help test these. If you’re interested and equipped to test and provide feedback, please join the TG group https://t.me/joinchat/EneBww74YVjVuyfwCCsidA

The new RTA flow is published here https://github.com/graft-project/graft-ng/wiki/%5BRFC-003-RTVF%5D-RTA-Transaction-Validation-Flow. (Special thanks to Jason, @jagerman42 for contributing and consolidating a lot of the feedback)

We look forward to the next month with lots of hard work, but also lots of tangible results coming down the pike!

Best Regards,

GRAFT Team

Wishing You a Joyous Holiday Season!

GRAFT Weekly Development Status Update December 26th, 2018

Hi Everyone! This is the last update in the outgoing 2018.

It was a difficult but very important year for the GRAFT project. If 2017 was the year of birth for GRAFT ideas, 2018 was the year of birth for the GRAFT network itself: we launched GRAFT mainnet in January 2018. We also designed and developed GRAFT supernodes and launched them on private and then public alpha testnet. We have created mobile and desktop wallets and terminal apps among other things. We continuously improve our design and implementation while getting feedback from the community.

In 2019, we look forward to launching the 2nd layer of GRAFT network on mainnet: RTA supernodes, along with exchange brokers for various crypto and fiat currencies and merchant tokens. We are glad to be building a Payment Network of Tomorrow together with you! May 2019 be healthy and prosperous! Happy New Year!

Sincerely,

GRAFT team

GRAFT Weekly Development Status Update December 19th, 2018

Hi everyone, this is our weekly update on GRAFT development activities.

During active public RTA alpha testing, the GRAFT core development team and community have identified several issues with current RTA design, and we are currently working on updating and enhancing the design. All issues and design updates are either already published or will be published soon on github for community review. It’s important to note that there are no fundamental issues in the supernode RTA concept, but some mechanisms such as the authorization sample selection algorithm and supernode proof of stake require some enhancements to ensure overall security and stability of the RTA system. Stay tuned for new and updated RFCs coming.

The core developers also were working on merging recent Monero updates and bug fixes. A couple of hard-to-find deadlocks were fixed, and the fixes are in test cycle right now. Connection management is more robust now. We are working on a “big” Monero merge (we missed some updates but are now catching up), and the first intermediate milestone has been reached.

Meanwhile, the application development team continues working on another part of the GRAFT ecosystem, which we call “customer facing applications”; it includes the mobile and desktop wallet and point of sale apps, payment gateway, hardware payment terminal apps, hardware wallet and payment card (ColdPay), the CryptoFind app, and more. The most important activities in our scope last week were work on an integration plugin for WooCommerce/WordPress (payment gateway), preparation for Verifone testing (terminal app), implementation of Monero transaction multi-signing (hardware wallet on ColdPay card), and Ethereum pay-in exchange broker testing.

Looking forward to another exciting week and Happy GRAFTing!

GRAFT Weekly Development Status Update December 10th, 2018

It’s been a week since the previous dev status update, so here is another update on GRAFT development status.

The first RTA design paper and proposal have been published on github, so the community can review and approve the ideas and make the design even more solid. Please review and leave your feedback. More documents, such as updated, detailed RTA transaction flow, will be released shortly.

The development team has been working on supernode (D)DOS resistance. We’re also finalizing P2P connection management fixes, preparing for a merge of recent Monero releases, and reviewing issues reported by RTA Alpha testers.

Wallet Redesign Preview

There are lots of cool features we’re planning for GRAFT and the GRAFT wallet in particular. These changes will be rolled out over time as the supporting functionality develops inside the GRAFT network and around it, but we wanted to give you a sneak preview of things to come.

The new and redesigned features include rich transactions and improved payment workflows, login usability improvements, better wallets management, multisignature wallet support, the ability to launch and control supernodes from the app, integration with the GRAFT CryptoFind app, integration with the upcoming GRAFT ColdPay card, and quite a few other innovations and improvements.

Happy GRAFTing!

GRAFT Weekly Development Status Update December 3rd, 2018

Hi everyone, this is our brief weekly update on GRAFT development activities.

Last week, the core team was working on client release 1.13.2, RTA alpha bug fixing, and design of RTA protocol improvements. We are going to release those designs first in a form of RFC (request for comments) so the entire community could review and approve the ideas and make the design even more solid.

While the core dev team is focused on RTA, the client applications team is working on online (ecommerce) payment module and ETH pay-in broker. Although we have already implemented Bitcoin pay-in broker, Ethereum blockchain is very different from Bitcoin, which requires a different design of the exchange broker transaction flow. Unlike Bitcoin, Ethereum does not support multiple wallet addresses, and, unlike GRAFT, it does not support “built-in” payment IDs, so the broker must use a pool of wallets to accept multiple payments simultaneously. The goal is to enable , GRAFT pay-in broker support for most typical blockchain schemes, so adding a new crypto asset to the list of supported payment types will become a seamless task.

Finally, we’ve also been working on forward thinking wallet redesign with lots of (what we think are) super cool integrated features – we’ll be sharing that with you shortly.

Happy GRAFTing!

GRAFT Hybrid Community Development Model for 2019

GRAFT Weekly Development Status Update November 26, 2018

Time to embrace and structure community code contributions

We have made a tremendous progress over the last year – a stable mainnet, an alpha of the Full Supernode with real-time authorization, and a healthy lineup of components and applications meant to make the ecosystem work end-to-end and provide for adoption.

The other great news is that GRAFT has grown to the point where some significant community contributions are starting to come in – some in form of bug and exploits reports, others in form of algorithm tweaking, others as suggestions for various types of improvements.

While this is fantastic and a sign of a healthy open source project, it does pose a question of how to handle these contributions as, contrary to what it might seem like to a lay man, this is not a plug-and-play situation – these contributions need to be vetted, insured against overlaps, arbitrated in the case of conflicting suggestions, and finally tested extensively. The suggestions do take time to be processed and addressed and for a very busy team of core developers, it can be very time consuming.

Over all, this required quite a bit of thinking and deliberation. As we’re deciding on the model to follow, it’s important to consider different open source development models and their pros and cons.

A little background

Linux kernel development model

Open source projects are usually quite complex as they require coordinating efforts of many different parties, with wide variety of incentives. Because these folks are typically not compensated, they are free to pursue their own interests and beliefs. This typically leads to couple different models for the open source development. One such iconic model is Linux kernel. Despite the fact that Linux doesn’t have a single salaried core team of developers (other than Linus himself), for many years he acted as the project manager, coordinator, and central authority when it came to development decisions.

Now contrast this with Bitcoin’s decentralized development model, where there’s no single maintainer and any disagreement in strategy leads to a split of the project:

These splits not only waste time and energy that could be harnessed, but also create confusion in the market, as evidenced by recent market events.

Settling on a Hybrid Development Model

While we want to end up with a more of a decentralized development model, where the project takes a life of its own without the core devs being in the critical path, we realize that it will take time and efforts to build the community of developers and testers supporting the project. At this point most of external contributions are made by very few active contributors.

To facilitate this process we decided to adopt a hybrid strategy, where the core devs control the direction of the project and carry on the bulk of the development, while the community can organize their submissions into a separate tree that will then get merged into the main tree.

GRAFT Hybrid Community Development Model

To support this approach, someone needs to actively arbitrate the community development. We thought the most appropriate choice would be Jason (@jagerman42) who has graciously agreed to be a maintainer of the community tree. We invite others to step up as well as coordinators/maintainers if they feel like they are up to the task. We’re also open for any suggestions regarding further optimization of the development model.

We will also start publishing more of the design challenges and open issues for the dev community to be informed earlier of the core team’s thinking and to solicit community feedback earlier in the development process.

We’re looking forward to moving towards this model and further evolving the community contribution practices as the project evolves.

How GRAFT Is Similar To And At The Same Time Different From Visa And Other Payment Card Networks (Part 2)

Slava Gomzin, Co-Founder of GRAFT

In the previous post we reviewed the similarities between GRAFT and plastic card networks. Now let’s review the differences.

Difference #1 – Decentralization

There is such a key property of GRAFT Network that fundamentally differentiates it from plastic cards. Unfortunately, not all buyers realize and appreciate this property immediately because it is not that obvious to the average consumer, especially in developed countries. And let’s be completely honest with ourselves here – not everyone cares about this property – it’s not until you find yourself in, not before your get into a situation that it suddenly becomes very important. I am talking about decentralization.

The card processing consists of several elements represented by multiple corporations: payment networks (Visa, Mastercard, American Express, etc.), issuing and acquiring banks (such as Chase, Bank of America, etc.), and payment processors (such as First Data, Heartland, etc.). Each corporation has its rules and compliance to national governments, which means they can reject any merchant or buyer, anytime. They can put you out of business, make you “persona non grata” – without any reason, notice, or explanation, just because you don’t fit their requirements – by declining your credit card application, decreasing your credit limit, locking your funds, or cancelling your merchant account. Millions of people live behind the “invisible wall” built by those corporations and governments, without access to banking system, i.e. without ability to use credit/debit cards.

Unlike plastic cards, GRAFT Network does not belong to anyone. GRAFT is more a protocol rather than a product due to its open source nature and peer-to-peer architecture. Therefore, the buyers and merchants cannot be either rejected or approved: they simply connect to the network (by downloading free apps) and start using it, no strings attached. But remember that unlike typical ”bare” cryptocurrencies, the features #1 – 4 from above are still there to satisfy both buyers and merchants standards on the same level as they are satisfied by payment card processors, only without centralization.

Difference #2 – Privacy

Another key difference is somewhat related to #1; however, it is completely separate feature, which is achieved by using special additional technical means rather then just solely based on the fact that GRAFT is independent from corporations and governments. What’s really similar to #1 is the fact that for some people this property may not been important at first glance – again, until you get into specific situation when it does become important. This property is absolute privacy provided by GRAFT Network to both buyer and merchant. Unlike plastic cards and most cryptocurrencies, GRAFT’s sender address, recipient address, transaction amount, and transaction fee amount are invisible to everyone except for the sender and recipient themselves. Although payment card networks do not expose the details of transaction to the public, this data is accessible by employees of multiple corporations, can be shared with governments, and can be stolen by hackers. Unlike plastic cards, no employees or hackers can access GRAFT transaction data which is encrypted forever – thanks to strong cryptography and underlying blockchain’s CryptoNote protocol.

Difference #3 – Security

Security is another thing that differentiate GRAFT Network from plastic cards. I spent years working on security of plastic cards payments . This technology was created in 1960s, and improved in 1990s by introducing EMV – “chip and pin” cards. But back then, even in 1990s, people were not very familiar with terms like “cybersecurity” or “hacker”, so the technology was not designed with security in mind. The result – a multi-million industry called “credit card fraud” that flourishes to this day.

I am not saying cryptocurrencies don’t have security issues at all – everything related to computers and network has potential security issues. However, if you manage your wallets and keys properly, the security of GRAFT for both buyers and merchants is much stronger than plastic cards: no chargebacks, no lost or stolen cards with the primary account number embossed on the face of the card, and no hacked point of sale systems with millions and millions of payment card records stolen and sold on dark market.

Difference #4 – Technology

Let’s not forget about technology – payment cards use centralized networks, relational databases, and centrally managed customer and merchant accounts. GRAFT uses decentralized peer-to-peer network, distributed blockchain database, and random wallet addresses which are not linked to customer identities.

GRAFT “inherits” all the positive features of traditional payment card processing networks while offering solutions to negative sides of centralized, insecure, olding technology. Give it a try!

How GRAFT Is Similar To And At The Same Time Different From Visa And Other Payment Card Networks (Part 1)

Slava Gomzin, Co-Founder of GRAFT

GRAFT Network is often compared to credit and debit card processing networks such as Visa, Mastercard, and other plastic payment brands. Most of the time such a comparison is focused solely on the differences while in fact GRAFT and payment card networks have some (good) things in common. In this post I will try to describe both similarities and differences.

Let’s start with the good things that both GRAFT and plastic cards have in common. GRAFT “borrowed” many good features from payment cards, which have been tried and tested for over 50 years, and become a defacto standard for payments in that time.

Similarity #1 – No cost to the user

Traditionally in cryptocurrency, transaction fees are paid for by the buyer – a practice that goes against the grain of payment workflows in the global merchant space, where transaction fees get charged to the vendor. Just like with plastic cards, GRAFT Network does not charge the buyer a fee for processing a payment transaction. This difference might seem to be insignificant, but in reality it is one of the most important features which positions GRAFT on the right side of the user experience battle. After so many years of plastic card payments, where the buyer is not even aware of transaction fees paid by merchants, Bitcoin and other crypto started “forcing” consumers to pay “network” fees for each transaction including in-store purchases. This setup creates an inhibition to spending and is one of the reasons cryptocurrencies are still not widely supported by mainstream consumers as a payment method at checkout. In some cases, the fees reach an incredible amount, often making the purchase itself illogical. Would you buy a cup of coffee that costs $3 and pay another $1 (extra 33%) as a “network fee” if you can pay just $3 by credit or debit card? GRAFT resolves this problem by charging the merchant instead of the buyer, just like plastic cards do, leaving it to the merchant to price their goods and services accordingly

Similarity #2 – Predictable transaction costs

There is another, more serious problem with cryptocurrency transaction fees: inconsistency. Retail is a tough business with small margins, and it likes predictability. Retailers want to be able to know in advance what part of the revenue they take home and what part they pay to the payment processor. Payment card brands recognized this issue many years ago and resolved by setting very consistent rules. The fees may vary based on amount and type of transaction, but they always can be calculated in advance. The most important rule is that there is always a rule. For example, the processor can charge the merchant 3% + $0.20 for each transaction. If the merchant sells its product for a total of $10,000 today to 100 customers, they know they will pay $320 in transaction fees.

Unlike payment cards, blockchain-based cryptocurrencies usually charge transaction fees based on the size of transaction record in kilobytes. It is impossible to predict the fee as the buyer’s wallet compiles the payment “on the fly” from a number of outputs of previous transactions which varies from wallet to wallet. If GRAFT only “flipped” the fees burden from buyers to merchants but kept the same common cryptocurrency approach to fee calculation, it wouldn’t work for merchants. So GRAFT made the fees predictable, dependant on transaction amount just like payment card brands. The authorization cost of a GRAFT Network transaction (paid to the supernodes supporting the network) is 0.5% of the transaction amount while the settlement (paid to the miners) is a fixed fee of 0.1 GRFT (more details about GRAFT fee structure can be found here). This helps bring predictability, and thus stability to the process, making accepting crypto payments more attractive to the merchants.

Similarity #3 – Special transaction types.

When we go deeper into the specifics of retail – especially the hospitality and gas station business – there are more exotic features of payment systems, and many people, including developers of other cryptocurrencies, have not developed around their existence, leaving big holes for cryptocurrency use in these areas. Most of us, however, are familiar with features such as pre-authorizations from our day to day life as consumers. Payment card brands developed these features because they were vital for many businesses to replace cash payments. Cryptocurrency designers, however, have underestimated the importance of brick-and-mortar business requirements because they focused mostly on online payments.

When you swipe your card at gas station to fill your car’s gas tank, your card is not charged immediately, but instead it is preauthorized for a particular amount set by the merchant or its payment processor; for example, $50. Preauthorization (aka “pre-auth”) ensures that your account has enough money to pay for the gas, up to $50, but it does not charge your account. Technically, you still have the $50, but temporarily you cannot spend it because pre-auth decrements your spending limit. It’s done this way because the pump does not know in advance how much gas will enter your tank (and how much you will have to pay for it). Once you’re finished fueling, the pump sends the exact amount to the network and finalizes the transaction. This operation is called completion because it actually completes the transaction. Completion unlocks the funds previously locked by pre-auth and charges your account for the exact amount. So if you owe the pump $25 for the gas, it will cancel your $50 hold and debit your bank account balance by $25 (or increase your available credit in the case of a credit card).

“Pre-auth”/”complete” mechanisms are also applicable in other big industries such as hospitality – when you check in to the hotel your card is pre-authorized for the approximated cost of your entire stay plus some additional amount for unexpected expenses. When you check out, your room your card is “completed” for the exact amount including your mini-bar charges. It sounds simple but there is a whole infrastructure behind the scenes supporting this. All existing cryptocurrencies lack “pre-auth/complete” functionality and therefore cannot be used as a method of payment at gas stations, hotels, and many other businesses. GRAFT fills this gap and provides a “pre-auth/complete” mechanism similar to plastic cards – thanks to the supernode infrastructure.

Similarity #4 – Real Time Authorizations

Finally, let’s talk about the most important feature provided by payment cards (this could very well have been listed at #1 but it’s important to emphasize the previous three as they are big challenges for the cryptocurrency paradigm that should not be overlooked). Payment cards work remarkably fast when it comes to authorization and preauthorization. Typically it takes a fraction of second (up to several seconds if their processor is slow) to get authorization or pre-authorization from Visa or most other card processing networks. It takes from several minutes to several hours to confirm payment with most cryptocurrencies. Bitcoin itself was designed for online transfers of funds where authorization time is not a critical factor. Bitcoin is more like a bank ACH transfer than a credit card payment. Most cryptocurrencies have followed Bitcoin’s design and inherited this “feature”. In the reality of brick-and-mortar stores, however, time is money, literally, as for these merchants more time spent on every payment means less customers (less revenue) and more cashiers (more expenses).

GRAFT Network processes instant authorizations and preauthorizations using special technology called Real Time Authorizations (RTA) which is accomplished through GRAFT’s decentralized supernode topology. Therefore, payments processed through the GRAFT Network are suitable for brick-and-mortar merchants.

This part is concluded now; in the next post, which will be published tomorrow, we will discuss key differences between GRAFT and plastic card networks. After all, there must be something fundamentally different in the way GRAFT processes payments, otherwise, why would anyone forget good old plastic card and rush to pay with crypto via GRAFT Network?