RTA Public Alpha Release

GRAFT Development Status Update November 12, 2018

Today is a very big day for GRAFT project – we’re releasing the new baby into the world!

The RTA Supernode is a linchpin of the GRAFT project, allowing the real-time transaction authorizations. To get to this point it took a lot of work engineering reliable transport protocol, supernode sample selection, all in a maintainable and modular way.

With the RTA Public alpha release, we’re opening the testing up to the wider public to further test and optimize its performance and reliability.

How to participate in RTA Public Alpha

  • Follow these instructions to install the RTA supernode
  • Submit this form to request the alphanet supernode PoS stake.
  • Join the RTA Alpha Telegram group to get more info about the testing process and share your findings and ideas with the community and developers.

What kinds of goals is RTA public alpha pursuing?

There are several goals for the RTA Public Alpha testing stage:

  • Find potential issues and bugs that cannot be found on a low scale network of closed alpha (about 50 participants/supernodes)
  • Allow supernode owners to get familiar with the supernode setup and maintenance processes so they will be fully prepared for the RTA Beta launch on the mainnet
  • Allow the supernode owners to estimate the earnings on the real network (the stimulus transactions will be running on public alphanet on the same or similar scale as they will be available on the mainnet after the Beta launch)
  • Most importantly, work on preparing the network for the mainnet launch by allowing community to discover any security holes and potential exploits
The RTA alpha is time to find vulnerabilities in the design, from both scaling and exploits point of view. We expect the RTA alpha testers to contribute to pushing the network’s scalability limits as well as security and usability. To that end we’re working on a bug bounty reward program that will be announced shortly.

What to expect?

  • November 12 – the RTA SN instructions are available to the community to build their RTA supernodes, configure them and connect to the Alphanet (RTA Alpha testnet)
  • November 14 – Transaction simulator availability – a special bot that will generate regular test transactions in the system
  • November 15 – Alphanet hard fork to enable the latest release of RTA supernodes and client apps; Wallet/POS RTA-compatible clients updates available via Apple app store
  • November 26Stimulus Tx package testing…

How long with the RTA public alpha last?

We don’t know what kind of things are going to get uncovered during the course of the public alpha, so it’s hard to put a date on the Mainnet beta release. 8 weeks is a good case scenario, but at this point it’s a rough target.

How to report bugs / suggestions?

Please funnel the bug reports and suggestions through our community dev liason – Jason R @jagerman..

Happy GRAFTing!

CASH, CREDIT, OR GRAFT?

One good question that comes up often is

Do people really want to pay with cryptocurrency?

Some make an argument that people see cryptocurrency as a long term investment and don’t want to spend it on daily items, others say that merchants might be reluctant to accept crypto due to the regulatory uncertainty, yet other say that people are unlikely to pay with crypto due to its volatility.

Truth is, they all have a point and there will be limiting factors on crypto for payment adoption (at least for some time).

However! We want to point out that GRAFT’s main purpose in life is not crypto acceptance per se – but providing a decentralized credit/debit payment network alternative that doesn’t rely on issuing banks and spreads the fees across the network. Crypto acceptance makes a good first use case, but it doesn’t end there. From the user’s point of view it’s a way to have an alternative to traditional credit / debit cards with underlying privacy, reasonable rates, loyalty program consolidation, etc.

Here would be a typical decision tree that a user would be facing at the check out:

A community member had this to say on this topic, which is pretty on point:

Firstly, Graft is not a “Crypto POS” it’s a decentralized payment network that can be used at the POS or as an online payment gateway. We don’t need the widespread adoption of Cryptocurrency as a medium of exchange for the Graft Network to be successful. For example, if the Graft Network ‘today’ was doing just 0.1% of the Visa Network’s transaction, then Graft SuperNodes would be returning close to 300% pa ( SuperNode owners would make exceptional income from SN rewards, thus the Graft price would rapidly increase). However, keep in mind that we are not just going after Visa, we are going after Mastercard, Amex, Diners, Paypal, Western Union …the list goes on.

2018 has seen a rise in the popularity of stable coins to address the volatility issue. There are now over 57 Launched or pre-launched stable coins. Because Graft is a payment Network, not just a payment processor ($GRFT coin acts like a utility token and becomes a gateway to accept other Cryptocurrencies) – so the Graft Network could, in theory, facilitate payment from any cryptocurrency, thus there’s no reason it can’t support a whole basket of stable coins (it just requires the backing of an exchange broker/ liquidity provider). There are also new gen coins coming out with Inflationary monetary policies (eg GRIN) which are designed for the purpose of becoming a medium of exchange (to mimic fiat currencies) . Soon the volatility risk or purchasing/receiving Crypto payments will be a thing of the past. Merchants will also be incentivized to receive Cryptocurrency due to lower fees….

As for consumers: A lot of people have this US/western mindset and still have lots of faith in government-backed fiat currencies. However, go ask the people of Venezuela, Argentina or Turkey how safe they feel holding their own Government backed currencies. If you look through the history of fiat currency, they always collapse/end in hyperinflation. It’s just a matter of time. Sure, widespread adoption of cryptocurrency as a medium of exchange could be years or decades away. However, as already mentioned, we don’t need widespread adoption for the Graft Network to be successful, we need less than 0.1% (between Visa/ MC/AMEX/ Dinners etc).

GRAFT Weekly Development Status Update November 5th, 2018

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

RTA Alpha

GRAFT developers are currently launching RTA Public Alpha, which is targeted for November 12th, 2018, while preparing to start working on RTA Beta.

There are several goals for the RTA Public Alpha testing stage:

  • Find potential issues and bugs that cannot be found on a low scale network of closed alpha (about 50 participants/supernodes)
  • Allow supernode owners to get familiar with the supernode setup and maintenance processes so they will be fully prepared for the RTA Beta launch on the mainnet
  • Allow the supernode owners to estimate the earnings on the real network (the stimulus transactions will be running on public alphanet on the same or similar scale as they will be available on the mainnet after the Beta launch)
  • Most importantly, work on preparing the network for the mainnet launch by allowing community to discover any security holes and potential exploits

We would like to thank our community, and especially the alpha test group, for their continuous feedback, finding issues, and suggesting solutions – you guys ROCK!!

Anti-ASIC Major Network Update

Last week GRAFT network was successfully updated (“hard forked”) with a new version of GRAFT software that introduced a new variation of the PoW hash algorithm which prevents ASIC mining. The major network update has applied a new variation of CryptoNight hash algorithm (CN variant 2) which is currently ASIC-resistant.

The major network update (aka hard fork) in GRAFT mainnet was triggered on Wednesday, October 31st at block 207,700. As a reminder, major network update means that if you are running a GRAFT network node (graftnoded) you must upgrade to the latest software. If you haven’t done it yet, please do it ASAP, otherwise your node will be either disabled or connected to the wrong chain. Note that users of GRAFT mobile and desktop wallets are not affected by the hard fork and should not do anything.

Customer Facing Applications

While the core GRAFT developers were focused on RTA Alpha, other developers continued working on hardware payment terminal apps, exchange brokers, and payment gateway for service providers. More specifically, last week they were working on the following tasks:
  • Exchange Broker Bitcoin status monitoring
  • Payment Gateway Email service enhancement
  • Verifone Terminal app error handling
  • Verifone Terminal app new UI
  • Payment Gateway DAPI status monitoring

Please see below the screenshots of the new Verifone terminal app UI. The new UI, remastered for accepting payments in multiple cryptocurrencies, is being tested now before submitting to Verifone for recertification. Currently, both GRFT and BTC are supported on GRAFT and Bitcoin mainnets, with more altcoins coming very soon.

Finally, some in the community have expressed concerns about the issues they identified that are not getting addressed in a timely manner or being “ignored”. We would like to assure you that we take all the comments and pull requests very seriously. The timing of when those get addressed has to align with our development timeline though as each request has to be carefully evaluated, integrated, and set up for proper testing.

In terms of the team’s skill set, we want to assure everyone that we have one of the most capable teams we’ve ever had the privilege of working with over our longish careers. We have over 150 years of combined experience and education in the field among us and multiple PhD’s and professional certifications on the team. We have built very robust and secure systems at the core of Cisco, Sonicwall, NCR, and HP in the past. We study relentlessly and leverage the best known methods in the field and the latest research being done out of MIT and Stanford.

We take this project very seriously and pour our heart and soul into it, using everything we know, but most importantly – leveraging what already works. Payment-processing blockchain is not the place for wild experimentation.

With that said, we look forward to more pull requests in the spirit of a real community open source project.

Looking forward to another exciting week and Happy GRAFTing!

GRAFT Weekly Development Status Update October 29th, 2018

It’s been another hard working week for GRAFT devs, and here is another update on GRAFT development status.

RTA Alpha

A new major version update for the RTA Alpha supernode has been released to the private Alpha testing group. This release includes stabilized communication between supernodes as well as fixes for the bugs found during alpha testing. There were fixes in the logging subsystem, and also now we can collect application logs from all the nodes in alphanet using syslog. We’ve started collecting alpha testers’ feedback, which typically comes in a form of suggestions, issue reports, and even pull requests. Once the team and the alpha group are “OK” with the version, the supernodes will be released to the Public Alpha where everyone can test them to prepare for the actual supernode hosting after RTA Beta is launched on the mainnet. We even plan to provide “stimulus” RTA transactions on the Public Alpha so supernode owners can “feel” the real traffic and estimate their income. We will announce the specific Public Alpha release date later this week at the Malta Blockchain Summit.

Anti-ASIC Major Network Update

Last week GRAFT devs released a new version of GRAFT software for the upcoming major network update that will introduce a new version of the PoW hash algorithm which prevents ASIC mining. The major network update will apply a new variation of CryptoNight hash algorithm (CryptoNight V8 / CN variant 2) which is currently ASIC-resistant. The source code of the new version 1.5.1 can be downloaded from master. The Linux (both Ubuntu 16.04 and 18.04) and Windows binaries are available for download from github.

The major network update (aka hard fork) in GRAFT mainnet is scheduled for Wednesday, October 31st at block 207,700. As a reminder, major network update means that if you are running a GRAFT network node (graftnoded) you must upgrade to the latest software before October 31st. If you haven’t done it yet, please do it within the next 48 hours, otherwise your node will be disconnected from the mainnet. Note that users of GRAFT mobile and desktop wallets are not affected by the hard fork and should not do anything.

Customer Facing Applications

Other developers are working on Payment Gateway, Exchange Broker, and Verifone Terminal App. During the last week, among other things, they have been working on generic status monitoring, advanced UI, advanced reporting, and consuming a new RTA API provided by the Payment Gateway. The next major tasks and milestones for this team are online payment implementation (integration with eCommerce platforms) and implementing additional cryptos as a method of payment (currently, GRFT and BTC can be processed by the payment gateway and exchange broker, and accepted at the payment terminal app). We will keep you posted on the development of those important features.

Decentralized Exchanges

We believe that decentralized exchanges are the future. Bisq is one of the true decentralized exchanges, and GRAFT trading is available there. Please let us know if you have any suggestions regarding decentralized exchanges listings.

Happy GRAFTing!

GRAFT “Anti-ASIC” Major Network Update 1.5 on October 31, 2018

Last Updated: October 25, 2018

GRAFT developers just released a new version of GRAFT software for the upcoming major network update that will introduce a new variation of the PoW hash algorithm which prevents ASIC mining. Network hashrate is important, but it is not the only factor in blockchain security. The way this hash power is distributed between the miners is also important. ASICs break the balance and facilitate centralization (concentration of hash power) which can be dangerous for the network.

The major network update will apply a new variation of CryptoNight hash algorithm (CryptoNight V8 / CN variant 2) which is currently ASIC-resistant. The source code of the new version 1.5.1 can be downloaded from master. The Linux (both Ubuntu 16.04 and 18.04) and Windows binaries are available for download from github.

The major network update (aka hard fork) in GRAFT mainnet is scheduled for Wednesday, October 31st at block 207,700 (block 194,130 in GRAFT testnet tomorrow, October 24, 2018).

The major network update means that if you are running the GRAFT network node (graftnoded) you must upgrade to the latest software before October 31st. If you do not upgrade your node before October 31st, it will be disconnected from the mainnet. Note that users of GRAFT mobile and desktop wallets are not affected by the hard fork and should not do anything – as long as they are still connected to the default proxy supernodes (if you are connected to your own supernode, do not forget to upgrade the underlying network node).

GRAFT Weekly Development Status Update October 22nd, 2018

Hi everyone, this is our weekly update on GRAFT development activities. Last week we were focused on RTA alpha debugging and new release, exchange broker development, and payment gateway UI, while dealing with an “anti-ASIC” major network update. Let’s review the status of all these activities.

The new RTA alpha release with stabilized communication is ready, the only reason we did not release it to the alpha testers last week was the work on the hard fork patch, so the release will happen later this week. This RTA release is a close version of the upcoming beta release to the mainnet, with a few things still in development.

Before RTA beta, however, we are going to open the RTA alpha to the public, so everyone will be able to “touch” and try to break it while still in test mode (right now it is only available to the 50 alpha testers.) Once we get a “confirmation” from the RTA Public Alpha testers, we will release the beta to the mainnet. This way we can test the supernode network scalability in environment pretty close to the real world operations before it goes to full production.

While the core dev team was focused on RTA and the upcoming major network update, another team continued working on payment terminal apps, exchange broker, and payment gateway. More specifically, last week there were working on an enhanced GUI for exchange broker and payment gateway (as shown on the screenshot below). Since the payment gateway is aimed towards the less technical, more business operations oriented audience, the quality and functionality of the user interface is very important.

Also, the core team is working on a patch for the upcoming major network update that will introduce a new variation of the hash algorithm that prevents ASIC mining. Network hashrate is important, but it is not the only factor in blockchain security. The way this hash power is distributed between the miners is also important. ASICs break the balance and facilitate centralization (concentration of hash power) which can be dangerous for the network.

The patch will apply a new variation of CryptoNight hash algorithm (CryptoNight V8 / CN variant 2) which is currently ASIC-resistant. The patch is still being tested – thanks to the group of GRAFT miners’ who help with the testing. We will announce the hard fork block number and date once the testing is finished (probably tomorrow). As usual, we remind that the major network update (aka “hard fork”) is only relevant to the miners and other full node operators; if you use one of the GRAFT mobile or desktop wallet apps you don’t need to do anything.

Finally, please check out the questions and answers from our first official AMA (“Ask Me Anything”) session which took place last week. We tried to answer all the questions from the community, but if you don’t find an answer to your question in the list – don’t worry, we plan to conduct periodic (shooting for monthly) AMA sessions!

Happy GRAFTing!

GRAFT Weekly Development Status Update October 15th, 2018

It’s been another hard working week for GRAFT devs, and here is our brief weekly update.

We are continuing work on debugging and improvement of the RTA communication protocol. During the last week we merged “blocking doubled RTA notifications” PR, fixed connection and white peer lists management, and did some internal debugging, merging, and testing. Also, we just finished creating a couple of diagnostics tools – an automated communication test framework and GraftnetExplorer (see the screenshots below).

The supernodes communicate to each other through “tunnels” which they build using the existing network of underlying cryptonodes. They use a special mechanism that allows creating a set of shortest and fastest tunnels. Currently, the protocol works but not in the most efficient way, so we are looking for weak spots and bugs. These diagnostic tools have already allowed us to find and fix a couple of bugs in communication between the supernodes. At some point we may release them to the alpha group (and then to the public as well).

As you can see on the GraftnetExplorer screenshot above, several supernodes in this dev network are interconnected, which means they can send each other instant notifications or broadcast messages to a larger group or even the entire network – all without knowing the IP addresses of other nodes, just by using their logical IDs. This is one of the major features (but not the only one) that differentiates the GRAFT supernodes from similar protocols such as Dash masternodes as it significantly enhances both the privacy and security of the GRAFT network.

The automated testing framework is another utility, recently developed by the team, that allows us to simulate various scenarios of communication between the supernodes and print the resulting diagnostics and statistics.

On the screenshot above you can see one of the results of the test run. There is a detailed backtrace located before the red line, while the next test is the same but without the details. 3 out of 4 the communication tests were successful, while one was failed (‘broadcast’, marked by letter ‘F’).

Another part of the team continues working on terminal apps, payment gateway, and exchange broker – optimizing the API, preparing for the production environment deployment, and developing reports. They are in the middle of the sprint, and the results will be reported next week.

Also, please check out a new version of the GRAFT white paper which now can be downloaded from the website. In this version, we have added recent proposals created since the previous white paper release, and summarized the changes in the original functionality. As the ideas initially set forth in the original GRAFT white paper gradually materialize, we need to make adjustments as we get deeper into the project. There are three areas of new or updated content in this version of the white paper:

And finally, the GRAFT Team will be hosting an AMA (“Ask Me Anything”) live on Telegram and Discord on October 18th, at 12pm EDT, so if you have not submitted your questions yet please do so!

Happy GRAFTing!

GRAFT Development Status Update October 8, 2018

It’s been a week since the previous dev status update, and, as we promised last time, we would like to keep our community posted weekly, so here is another update on GRAFT development status.

Last week we continued working on RTA implementation in several directions including fixing bugs discovered during alpha testing, implementing the full automated test suite, preparing a new supernode release, and continuing working on stability of the communication protocol. The fixes include the bugs in initial seed connection, p2p logging, and storing of p2p state data. The automated test suite is built on python-based test framework and will allow to automate the regression and other QA tests.

The new supernode release for alpha testers will be available later this week. In addition, we are finalizing the supernode plugin framework which will be used for plugging extra apps such as exchange brokers into the supernode.

Speaking of exchange brokers and other components of GRAFT network ecosystem, we almost finished developing a live demo that showcases the payment flow on a hardware payment terminal. One of the main goals of GRAFT project is bringing crypto payments into the physical world of brick-and-mortar stores. Unlike most other projects in the area of crypto payments, we realize that the shortest way to adoption by brick-and-mortar retailers and service providers is using their existing hardware payment terminals (aka “pinpads”), because these terminals are already integrated with various point of sale systems. While there are only a few major payment terminal brands, there are hundreds if not thousands of types of point of sale applications they are connected to.

Hardware payment terminals can be loaded with additional software such as GRAFT payment app, without requiring retailers to purchase, test, certify, and maintain a new hardware in their stores. But how to showcase such an app online if it’s designed to run on particular hardware? Our payment application emulator is the first version of such a showcase application that will allow the demonstration of altcoin acceptance on a Verifone terminal using GRAFT network. The initial version of the emulator (see the screenshot below) will be released later this week and available for anyone to try a Bitcoin/GRAFT payment.

From the last week’s events, it’s also important to mention the following two things. First, the incentives for RTA supernodes. Although this is not directly related to development process, the additional rewards will help boost the RTA network once it’s released to public beta on the mainnet. Second, the patch fixing the code execution vulnerability which was “silently” released last Monday. The fix for this denial of service vulnerability is merged into master under 1.4.5 and can be downloaded and built by anyone running GRAFT network nodes (please do not confuse it with the previous “burning bug” patch 1.4.4 for exchanges that was released a few days before the last one).

See you next week! Happy GRAFTing!

Incentives for Full Supernodes

Any network needs to be stimulated to get off the ground. A simple marketplace network might require bringing in sellers when there are not enough buyers, or bringing in buyers when there are not enough sellers. All the prominent networks of today – Uber, AirBnB, eBay, Amazon – faced this issue and were able to overcome it by tapping into existing users or providers of similar services, and by creating extra startup incentives for people joining their platforms.

GRAFT is no exception. It is a complex network with many participants – users, miners, full supernode operators, service brokers, proxy supernode operators, merchants, application developers. Having so many players is both a blessing and a challenge.

Miners represent the first layer of the network (settlement), and they are already incentivized through both network transaction fees and block mining rewards, which do not depend on the number of settled transactions and provide a steady income for miners. Beyond the miners, the next group without which the network will not function are the full supernodes which are critical for real-time authorizations (RTA) and the pay-in/pay-out facilitation.

Full supernodes get paid for performing validations for the network and preventing double-spending while processing authorizations in real time. Their income depends exclusively on the number of transactions that they get to work on as well as the total number of full supernodes in the network. Full supernodes are chosen randomly in each block, with two selected from each of the four tiers for a total eight supernodes, which equally split the 0.5% fee of the transaction they authorize. The problem, however, is that a small transaction volume of the brand new payment network would result in low initial full supernode income, and thus little incentive to run full supernodes before the network volume ramps up.

The good news is that there is a fairly easy way to incentivize the full supernode hosts without resorting to simple airdrop-type incentives or block reward sharing. What we will do instead is send enough RTA transactions across the network to provide a healthy transaction volume until the network is fully ramped up. This way we reward full supernodes for the real work they are supposed to do – validating transactions – unlike most other second layer reward models where masternodes receive passive income for just “being there” (which does little to promote network robustness or self-optimization).

The incentive program is designed to maintain a robust daily transaction volume until merchant-generated RTA transactions reach that level on their own. The number and size of stimulus transactions will depend on overall transaction volume and will be reduced gradually as the network gains momentum. We estimate the cost of this program to range between 50 and 100 million GRFT.

As with any new network, especially one with lots of participant types, the GRAFT Network needs to be stimulated to maintain a level of involvement ensuring stability of the network and availability of network services. We believe that the most critical part needing extra stimulation at this early stage is the full supernode layer. To stimulate the network as a whole, however, we are also considering additional groups of participants that may require stimulus going forward. For example, buyers may need to receive cashback incentives (similar to some credit cards) in order to choose GRFT over other methods of payment available at the checkout.

As always, we’re open to other suggestions from the community.

GRAFT Development Status Update October 1st, 2018

We listened to our community and decided to publish development status updates more often (bi-weekly or even weekly). However, since one week cannot accommodate the same amount of news as one month, don’t expect to receive long updates anymore!

Here is a quick round up of the news since the previous dev update.

First Working Prototype of Bitcoin Pay-In Broker

We have completed the first working prototype of a Bitcoin Pay-In Broker, which allows merchants to accept Bitcoin at checkout (both in brick-and-mortar stores and online) using GRAFT mobile point of sale or hardware payment terminal apps. The buyer can pay with any wallet supporting Bitcoin, as designed in the original GRAFT white paper. This is a big milestone for the GRAFT project, along with the ongoing RTA alpha, as the main concept of GRAFT is supporting multiple cryptocurrencies as a method of payment for merchants and buyers.



Some time next week we will place a button on the web site that will allow anyone to try out this workflow on the live network with live brokers and payment gateway!

RTA Alpha

The Dev team is continuing working on RTA alpha issues. Currently, we are focused on communication stability and optimization of RTA communication. We still have several issues with tunnel construction (the base mechanism for RTA communication based on P2P network), and optimizing the amount of messages traveling between the nodes – to provide more lightweight and stable communication.

As a reminder, RTA alpha is closed release to a group of 50 alpha testers selected from the large community of volunteers. Not surprisingly, these people are going to be the first full supernode owners and operators, although we have a much larger group of future supernode owners waiting for the beta release. The plan is to release beta to the mainnet as soon as the alpha is stable and fully featured with the functionality required for RTA transaction processing.

By the way, we have some exciting news for supernode owners coming out this week – we’re formulating an incentive program to stimulate the supernode network as part of ramping up the GRAFT network as a whole. We believe we’ve come up with a very elegant solution for it. More details will be released soon.

“Burning bug” Patch

There was a bug found in CryptoNote wallet code, the full description of the issue can be found here. The short story is that the bug affected only exchanges and only the wallet – no implications for regular users, and no need (even for exchanges) to update the network node daemon. Since GRAFT is not a direct clone of Monero (unlike some other CryptoNote blockchains), it took some time to adjust the Monero patch to current GRAFT wallet code, which was eventually done successfully last week, and the patch was “silently” released to the exchanges. TradeOgre and STEX updated their wallets immediately and as usual, Cryptopia is behind schedule but communicated to us that they are working on the update and it will be ready “asap” (no ETA provided).

As a side note – such bugs and patches mean that some part of engineering resources had to be diverted, but the impact on RTA timelines should be minimal.

Stay tuned, happy GRAFTing!