GRAFT Letter to Community

We would to thank you all for participating in Graft project. As you all know, GRAFT had seen better days. From day one we had one single mission: to enable crypto to be used as every day money. We lived this mission every day of our lives for 2 years, and had a lot done under the hood. We admit that while working on developing new technology we didn’t pay enough attention to promoting the GRFT token. Many crypto projects out there did the opposite, they spend more money on marketing and listed on more exchanges. Some of them didn’t do any development at all. So, before we continue, I would like to list everything that we have done so far:
  1. PoW Mainnet based on privacy blockchain ( 2 years in existence )PoS layer of Supernodes (with 1,500+ staking supernodes)
  2. DHT communications, Supernode sample selection with blockchain based disqualifications
  3. Mobile and Desktop wallet and Point-of-Sale applications
  4. Verifone and Ingenico payment terminal integrations
  5. DEX design and prototype
  6. End-to-end Testnet integration
  7. Merchant tokens solution based on a DAG-style blockchain written from scratch
  8. Listed GRFT on 3 exchanges: TradeOgre, HotBit, STEX

Each of these deliverable are complete to a various degree. Some are close to being finished. Others need substantial work.

Thinking in retrospect, we should have been more balanced in our approach and pay more attention to promoting the coin. None of us, however, could have foreseen such a steep downturn in the crypto market, that wiped out the value of many alt coins, including Graft.

As funds dried up, so did the development. From 10+ core developers and multiple contractors at the peak, we now only have 2 core developers and several part-time contractors.. We spent the last 6 months trying to find a solution. We contemplated shutting down many times, but it would be a shame to have all this work go to waste. So, we decided on a different approach. We started looking for people who would breath new life into our project. But first we wanted to make sure that a) our ideas have merit and b) the development direction is good. We started talking to the market — individuals, merchants, large companies, and various government entities who could possibly benefit from what we’re developing and got a solid confirmation that we are, in fact, on the right track.

With that in mind we decided to NOT give up.

So, now we are looking for new blood, new approaches, new partnerships, new everything. We come to you hat in hand. We really need your help. We are not looking for money, just your constructive advice.

Dear Community, please put yourselves in our shoes, and help us find a way forward.

Thanks in advance.

Kindly

Graft core team.

P.S. Please use GRAFT’s main TG channel to participate in the discussion.



GRAFT and Lyra – why Lyra, why now, how it affects Graft Network and GRFT coin

Why Lyra?

As Wayne Gretzky once said “I skate to where the puck is going to be”. Today the market for spending crypto is very thin. People look at BTC and few other cryptocurrencies as an appreciating asset, and are mostly in accumulation mode, spending them reluctantly.

In order for GRAFT Network to be successful, we need lots of support from the merchants and the merchants are going to be interested in embracing new methods of payment when they see real demand for it.

How can we stimulate this demand? The best way we can think of is by having merchants themselves, as well as other big players like governments and corporations be able to issue their own digital currencies/tokens that are compatible with the point of sale – something they’ve been thinking about and experimenting with. This trend was the impetus for Lyra fast-tracking and the reason we believe that it should come in parallel with the main network.

GRAFT and Lyra – Path Forward

Both technologies have their own strengths at the moment. The existing GRAFT chain is privacy-centric and has implemented staking, communication, has a decentralized network of supernodes with consensus mechanism. Lyra is capable of token issuance, super-fast transactions, very light clients, and intra-chain token conversion.

Together they complement each other and can work in concert to provide the most effective solution available today for the Point-of-Sale ready decentralized payment processing network.

On the Token Side of Things:

GRFT will remain the staking and voting currency for the decentralized GRAFT and Lyra Networks. It will take advantage of the decentralization and staking mechanism that exists on GRAFT Network today and due to its privacy features is a great match for that.

LYR will be the gas currency for Lyra transactions on Lyra part of the network.

Lyra will start its life as a permissioned network to get traction in the market, flush out the technology, and establish a pool of authorizers for the decentralized network. It will then be transitioned to Lyra permissionless network, with those staking Lyra permissioned becoming the first Lyra authorizers on Lyra permissionless network.

GRFT holders will be able to vote for the Lyra authorizers with Lyra.GRFT. There will be a total of 42 Lyra authorizers (21 authorizers and 21 candidates) according to the current DPoS consensus model.
GRAFT Network will run RTA transactions (which will include references to Lyra transactions for payments that incorporate both) and the Supernodes will be staked the same way as now with 4 GRFT stake tiers. GRAFT based DEX will continue using GRFT as collateral.

Summary

With addition of Lyra token side chain, GRAFT Network is not going anywhere – it is being supplemented with another blockchain technology that’s capable of doing things that a PoW based blockchain can’t. GRFT (or its equivalent on the Lyra chain) remains the backbone technology and currency of the decentralized network however.

If you look at the top 20 blockchains by the market capitalizations, most of them represent an innovation in the blockchain technology itself. With Lyra, we think GRAFT gets an additional technology piece that can fill the gaps, more market traction potential faster, and can be further noticed and appreciated by the blockchain community at large.

If you’re interested in being an authorizer in the Lyra network, please contact us at lyra @ graft.network.

Exchange Broker Network Layer and Collateralized DEX

Now that we have completed 3 out of 4 major milestones toward launching the fully functional GRAFT Network – a decentralized payment network that doesn’t depend on banks or centralized exchanges to provide credit/debit-card-like payment functionality anywhere, we’re moving on to the last major step – establishing a robust Exchange Broker layer that will support digital currency conversions inside the network.

In order to jumpstart this network, we’re looking to make the DEX usable both inside the network, as well as outside, to traders who are looking for a reliable, fast, decentralized, non-custodial trading platform and could eventually become an integral part of the network as exchange brokers.

About DEX’s

A few words about decentralized exchanges (DEX’s) – most of the DEX’s on the market today are either “on-chain” DEX’s, which means they only support exchanges (swaps) among tokens on that chain (Binance DEX for example), custodial/escrow solutions, or prototypes and proof-of-concepts based on time lock contracts.

GRAFT’s ability to leverage the network of supernode validators combined with $GRFT based collateral system, allows it to provide one of the few (if not only) real non-custodial, fast, atomic swap DEX, positioning it as a formidable DEX in its own right.

Collateralized Cross-chain Atomic Swaps

Atomics Swaps has been the holy grail of decentralized exchanges, however while sounding good on paper, they have some fundamental obstacles that haven’t been overcome yet.
  • They are slow (unless you use something like Lightning Network).
  • They don’t work for cryptocurrencies that don’t have smart contract support
  • A hash algorithm must be inherent to both of the participating cryptocurrencies
  • Time lock contract capabilities must be inherent to both cryptos
GRAFT is uniquely positioned to implementat atomic swaps or their equivalent in the real world by leveraging Supernodes as “independent validators” and trade orchestrators, with use of $grft based collateral or “bonds”.

Proposed Implementation

The currently proposed implementation is now available as RFC

Instead of using a shared secret/hash to ensure exchange transaction integrity, GRAFT’s atomic swap approach utilizes a “bond” or “collateral” posted by both sides to guarantee the payment. As such if one of the sides doesn’t deliver, they loose the bond which equals to the value of the swap. This approach avoids having to implement the same hash and time lock algorithms on both chains, and doesn’t require smart contract capabilities! This means that the atomic swaps become possible today without having to wait for all chains to agree on a standard and implementing it. Also because we’re separating the collateralized trade binding agreement from settlement, we can achieve fast trade confirmations to support the RTA payment flow. This is a BIG DEAL!

GRAFT Exchange Broker Usage and Models

GRAFT DEX will allow both individual direct exchanges as well as running an exchange broker as a business, supporting exchange transactions that originate at the point-of-sale or inter-network, broker-to-broker transactions. An exchange broker economic model would be based on buy/sell spreads and arbitrages, or preset margins, and could be automated using exchange broker client or other custom developed logic.

* Proposed EB Client UI. UI is available for download to collect feedback and flush out user experience.

Delivery and Timeline

DEX implementation leans heavily on the Supernode functionality that has already been built up for the RTA and staking. In addition, we have performed the proof-of-concept on most of the steps of the workflow so feel pretty comfortable with the feasibility.

We’re targeting GRAFT DEX with desktop clients and exchange broker to be ready early to mid October*, with early test versions available prior.
* this being fairly complex software development however, there’s always the possibility of slippages

More About Atomic Swaps and state of current state of DEX:

https://blockonomi.com/atomic-swaps/amp/

https://hackernoon.com/atomic-swaps-simply-explained-how-to-swap-cryptocurrencies-without-a-middleman-6cd29680c32e

GRAFT DEX Frequently Asked Questions




RTA Testnet Launch

We’re extremely proud and thrilled to unveil Real-time Authorizations (RTA) and RTA testnet!

It has taken us a while to get here, but for a good reason! See, RTA doesn’t stand on its own – in order to get here, we had to do a lot of heavy lifting, creating and optimizing communication protocol, implementing staking, supernode quorum selection and many other things that provide a solid foundation for RTA and other network features. It has been quite a journey and an effort to get here, but that foundational work is mostly done and should serve us well as we roll out various network features and have a solid foundation and infrastructure to build on top of.

For those of you who are fairly new to the project, RTA is a foundational feature of GRAFT Network, which allows real-time payments to be done at the point of sale, something that traditional blockchains aren’t capable of themselves. Being able to have predictable transaction time is fundamental to having digital currency work at the point of sale. The other fundamental feature that RTA brings to the world of r/etail payments is predictable fees for the merchant and minimized fees to the buyer. Predictability (both in time and fees) and the overall smooth, point-of-sale friendly experience are key to having a functional payment network that can compete with traditional credit/debit payment networks like VISA, MC, Amex.

Testing RTA

We are rolling out RTA testing gradually, focusing first on basic functionality and ramping up the testing scope from there to focus more on vulnerability and performance (there will be bounty programs), followed by beta testnet, security audit, and finally mainnet.

You can follow the RTA install and configuration instructions if you’d like to participate in testing or just get some hands on with RTA

There’s also a QuickStart guide that the community has put together (thanks Tiago)

Next Steps

Launch of the RTA Testnet signifies a huge milestone for the project. There are still a few loose ends to tie up and few corners to polish, which will be doing in the upcoming weeks (including turning on improved communication protocol and blockchain based lists for quorum selection), as well as a sufficient period of testing followed by beta testnet, and mainnet.

While that goes on, we will be focusing our energies on ramping up the remaining critical element of the final network – an exchange broker ecosystem. We are looking at a pretty cool way of doing it, that has a great potential not only to create a robust interchange layer for the network, but also provide an additional strong use case for the network itself (yes, we’re talking about a cross-chain, collateralized atomic swap DEX. Details to follow..)




Competitive Landscape – How GRAFT Stacks Up

We often get asked what is the difference between GRAFT and some other project. Field of retail payments in general is a very large space ($14 trillion / yr) with lots of use cases, lots of solutions, lots of innovation, and lots of competition. Blockchain in particular has attracted a high level of interest (both legitimate and those looking to leverage the hype) when it comes to payments, with solutions focusing primarily on either creating a cryptocurrency that’s r/etail friendly, or accepting other cryptocurrencies at the point of sale. While GRAFT is starting out by addressing both of these use cases, the goal is to:

  • do it the right way (as in not compromise on principles where it counts)
  • set up for large scale and high rate of growth
  • set up for rapid expansion in use cases

With that said, we believe that a blockchain-based payment network has to have the following characteristics in order to provide the right basis and be scalable, robust, flexible, and universally appealing – it has to be decentralized for scalability and flexibility, open source for robustness and trust, fast, private “at rest”, open platform for flexibility, and currency agnostic for universal appeal.

Chart below provides a general idea of what makes GRAFT Network stand out from competition. The extra requirements is also reason why it has taking us significant time to do what we’ve set out to do as if it was quick and easy, others would have done it by now.

Of course this list of competitors is not exhaustive, but it’s representative of the types of competition GRAFT is currently facing: 1) blockchains that allow real-time transactions in their own currency, 2) payment gateways attached to digital currency exchanges, 3) custom terminals with ERC20 based solutions. We had chosen Dash*, Spedn by Flexa, and PundiX** as representative of these categories, but could have chosen others as well.

*Notably, FB Libra could replace Dash in this table as it has similar properties.
** Not much is published about the design specifics of PundiX solution so we’re going off the fact that it’s ERC20 token based and as any smart contract has to be processed by the underlying smart contract blockchain. We don’t know how they accomplish transaction speed or multi-currency support given the underlying technology.

Engineering Update and Progress towards Community Development Model

Good day/evening/morning GRAFTers!

We wanted to start this engineering update by describing the work we’ve been doing on development methodology and processes. We continue to make steady progress towards improving transparency and openness when it comes to development practices, embracing community open source development model.

To that end, we have been migrating tasks and issues from JIRA, which is a closed development focused tracking/planning system to Github. Most tasks and issues are now in Github, and are open to the community to see and comment on. We have also added “projects” – Kanban boards representing the status of various sub projects: https://github.com/orgs/graft-project/projects

We have a number of tasks that are tagged as “help wanted” and are open to the community development, with GRFT rewards attached to them. You can pull up the “help wanted” tasks by running a filter. You can find the proposed community task guidelines here. We will be adding more community dev tasks in the near future.

If you know of capable SW engineers who would like to work on interesting problems and make a contribution to the project that has solid potential to improve the world, please refer them to the open community tasks.

Lastly on this subject, we would like to welcome to the team Nick Willson, @DaDudster on TG, who will help oversee the open source community development efforts at GRAFT. Nick comes to the project with extensive background in computer science, artificial intelligence, and a keen interest in the blockchain space. Nick has a PhD from RPI in Cognitive Science. Coordinating open source development is not a trivial task and we’re very happy that Nick stepped up to the challenge!

Here’s the recount of development progress over the past two weeks:


Bulletproofs Merge

Yesterday the network was upgraded to “bulletproofs” version of Monero.

This is a significant upgrade that brings important new features and improvements to the network such as much smaller block sizes, multi-signature wallets, and better security.

The merge has been quite a bit of work and we’re excited to get this done as it paves the path to other network features on the roadmap.

Congratulations to the team and community. Thanks for the hard work!

You can find the latest 1.8.2 Release HERE





Go-to-Market Strategy Update – LoyalShopper Payment Gateway

Go-To-Market Strategy

We would like to think that GRAFT network will take off on its own given the technology and integrations that we’ve put in place and continue working on, however we think we can and should do more to enable getting initial traction in the market. As we are nearing the launch of Real-time Authorizations (RTA), it’s the right time to focus again on the Go-To-Market part of the plan, taking into consideration current state of the market and evaluating ways to drive the adoption. While GRAFT’s main mission remains the acceptance of any method of payment via a fully decentralized, service broker based network, we need to find quick path to adoption that will resonate with merchants and users alike, leveraging existing demand with the technologies we’re bringing to the table.

To that end (and to create an additional revenue stream to sustain ongoing development) we have decided to set up a separate commercial entity alongside GRAFT Blockchain that will perform a payment gateway function, providing online and brick-and-mortar merchants with loyalty rewards / gift cards / store credit / promotions, crypto payment, and standard payment capabilities. We are tentatively calling this service a LoyalShopper or LoyalShopper gateway.

Gateway Service Levels

We are looking for the LoyalShopper Gateway to be available worldwide across different verticals, although local regulatory realities may force further fragmentation of the service. We will start with online ecommerce implementations, specifically Shopify, followed by WooCommerce, and BigCommerce integrations. LoyalShopper Gateway will utilize GRAFT Network for crypto acceptance and Lyra Blockchain for the loyalty reward and gift tokens. Time frame wise, we target Loyalty part of the gateway service to be available in its first rendition in late July/early August, Loyalty + Crypto by October and Loyalty+Crypto+Credit/Debit by the end of the year or early next year. (We’re intentionally leading with loyalty functionality due to the least amount of external dependencies, broad appeal, and more straightforward integration within the Shopify framework).

LoyalShopper Gateway Functions

Loyalty Crypto Credit / Debit Cards
Issue and accept merchant tokens for loyalty rewards, gift cards, store credits, and promotions via LS provided checkout modules for specific ecommerce platforms.(facilitated by Lyra Sidechain)

Features: Portable tokens, instant transactions, persistent reward links, reversable grants for refunds, fungible and non-fungible merchant tokens. Integrations with Shopify and other e-commerce platforms in the future.

Price: packages range from FREE to $249/mo (depending on number of transactions and other added features)

Accept GRFT and other Alt digital tokens, currencies supported by GRAFT Network brokers.

Features: accept any digital currencies or other assets supported by the GRAFT Network exchange brokers, real-time authorizations, receive funds in fiat or stable coin.

Cost to the merchant: 0.7% to the GRAFT network (split between auth sample and proxy nodes) + exchange broker fees if applicable

Regular credit/debit card acceptance, with fees comparable with traditional credit and debit card payments solutions

Effect of LoyalShopper on GRAFT Network

LoyalShopper Gateway will utilize GRAFT Network for crypto payments and Lyra Blockchain for loyalty/gift/store credit/promotions and should drive the transaction volume on each network resulting in transaction authorization fees to the Supernodes (and Lyra nodes once Lyra is decentralized).

Of course LoyalShopper will not have any exclusivity when it comes to utilizing GRAFT network – it will just serve as an example; others are encouraged to set up similar value-added payment gateways.

Integration with Shopify

We have done the initial prototype merchant token integration with Shopify platform and have found that the most effective way to offer the loyalty / gift programs involves issuing reward and gift/store credit tokens.

When a shopper buys something from a seller, the seller can reward the shopper with some Reward tokens (“loyalty points”). The shopper keeps these tokens in their wallet until they are ready to redeem them, at which point these tokens are converted into Gift tokens which can be used at the checkout. The number of reward tokens per fiat unit is configurable by the seller.

While reward tokens are fungible, Gift tokens are implemented as non-fungible tokens because they have unique properties such as redemption code and expiration date. Gift tokens are created by the merchant during reward redemption or gift card issuing transactions, and burnt during gift redemption transaction (at checkout).

We will publish more information on the inner workings of the merchant tokens and integration with Shopify shortly.

Merchants:

Interested merchants may register HERE to express their interest and preferences, and to be notified of the availability.

As usual, we’re open to comments and ideas from the community!
For investment opportunities, contact invest@graft.network


Engineering Update – WW 19/20 2019

Updated: MAY 17, 2019

We’re very close on the merge release but still dealing with some last minute issues.

FWIW, the merge may sound easy, but it is an incredible amount of work – 100s’ of Monero unit tests have to pass and then GRAFT’s on top. Every change potentially has consequences in other places that have to be found and reconciled.

We’re getting there though. At this point we’re looking into next week for public Testnet.

Main Track