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

Dev Update – WW17/18

We’re almost finished with the M13 merge – it has been a LOT of work – picking apart and putting back together a very complex and not that easy to follow code base that is Monero, following and retesting all the changes with the code we’ve added, but we’re pretty much there though with no blocker issues left at this point and only few non-blockers to get through.

Some devs are taking a break this week and part of next week for national and family holidays, so will push out the network update rollout until mid May when everyone’s back and are able to support any issues that might come up.

Another Wave of Crypto Acceptance is Coming

IMF published a twitter poll recently that higlights an very strong bias in people’s expectations when it comes to crypto usage: What’s interesting is the poll provides a perspective from a broader cross-section of the population than the ones who are the traditional staunch crypto-supporters. And still crypto comes out way ahead in people’s preferences.

Our own polling sheds some light on what could be behind people gravitating to crypto for payments: Of course in the critical path of adoption is the infrastructure for crypto acceptance and that happens to be one of GRAFT’s main missions in life. The merchants are looking for seamless integration, fiat (or stable token) payouts, and reporting capabilities.

It’s no secret that GRAFT is not well known around the cryptoverse and even less so outside of it, so it’s very important that we create awareness. We ask you to play your part, leveraging opportunities like the IMF tweet to highlight why GRAFT’s approach and the network it is building is indeed superior and absolutely required for mass adoption.

Unlike other projects that position themselves as a payment network, GRAFT blockchain is about REAL decentralization that yields flexiblity in adoption, a service broker architecture that provides network flexibility, inclusion, and participation opportunities, integration with existing systems and workflows, uncompromising privacy at the core, and addressing the speed and fees issues present in crypto payments today. Please be sure to highlight these aspects of the network out there using these images or your own:

Dev Update – WW14 2019 – RTA, M13, LYRA

LYRA Update

We hit a big first milestone with LYRA DPoS architecture this week – a very early first proof-of-concept version was shown by Slava. LYRA combines delegated proof-of-stake (DPoS), private transactions, and chain collection (no single blockchain!). Why are we working on LYRA now?
There are several reasons for that: 1) we’re in the field that is developing extremely rapidly and favors projects that not only deliver the functionality, but also (and perhaps most importantly) offer technology leadership. 2) A DPoS architecture will be useful in different ways over time, starting tentatively as a sidechain solution for merchant tokens / loyalty programs.

GRAFT Quarterly Update – Q1 2019

Dear GRAFT supporters,

Q1 2019 was a very busy quarter for the GRAFT team, with the highlight being the launch of the Supernodes on the mainnet in stimulus mode to establish a production-ready network and an upgrade of the mining algorithm. Both went down smoothly. The great news is we have got over 1,000 Supernodes launched and staked in under 2 weeks – it is a fantastic accomplishment and we would like to take a moment to congratulate the team and the community!

Let’s go over other progress and plans that will hopefully help bring things into perspective.

First, there’s the technology track – we are working hard on finishing up and releasing the real-time authorization (RTA) to the mainnet, tentatively end of May. Elements of the RTA (eg. staking transactions and sample selection) are already part of the supernode, pending further optimizations, as well as finishing up the point-of-sale ready RTA flow. We are doing some major internal rework on the clients as well to make them more robust and scalable – we should be able to complete that around the same time or shortly after. We have put out the reference versions of the exchange broker, payment gateway, WooCommerce integration, and are finishing up the payout gateway. We’re finishing a Monero13 merge, which is proving to be very involved this time around. Then there’s the early R&D work on delegated proof of stake (DDPoS) consensus algorithm to make sure that GRAFT stays the most advanced point-of-sale ready crypto payment network on the market, ready to face real-world scaling challenges and additional features like merchant tokens and loyalty programs. Needless to say – we have our hands full.

When it comes to market adoption – we’re not leaving it up the chance either. With 300+ merchants, 100+ merchant service providers, and 50+ exchange and payout brokers waiting in the wings to get started and with efficient channels to get to more, we want to make sure that GRAFT hits the quickest path to adoption possible. While GRAFT’s primary use case relies on facilitating payments with virtual currency using existing payment infrastructure, there are other use cases that could make the merchants act and deploy even faster. Among those are loyalty programs, store refunds, cash backs and cryptocurrency sales, end-to-end vertical solutions, etc. With your help and by conducting merchant outreach early, we can position GRAFT to be in the most advantageous position for market adoption.

We have started the rebranding effort in last quarter and are currently in the process of doing due diligence on availability etc of the names before we put it up for the final vote.

Getting Involved

There are three primary ways to get involved with GRAFT at this point:
  1. Become part of the infrastructure. You can run a supernode, become a merchant service provider, exchange broker, mine, or consolidate multiple of these options under one roof.
  2. Evangelize. Social media, local meetups, talking to and tweeting at the merchants – anything is fair game – we just ask you to keep the tone professional and thoughtful to convey the quality of the project.
  3. Put your creative hat on and roll up your sleeves. Help GRAFT network achieve market traction quickly by identifying (and if possible building) the functionality representing the additional use cases you can think of, no matter how small. We’re opening a section on the forum dedicated to the quick traction ideas – please participate.

Funding

You have been asking us about the financial status, and we would like to provide you with a bit of an update.

The most important thing is at this time we have the funding and budget secured for the core development efforts to deliver on the short and mid-term roadmap.

Investment / donation opportunities:

Opportunities remain to invest in GRAFT project with additional funds going towards marketing, liquidity (exchanges), additional dev resources, and new initiatives. If you are a qualified (accredited) investor who’s interested, please contact us at invest@graft.network and we will work to match you up with an appropriate investment option.

And of course we will never say no to project donations, providing you with lots of karma points (and an honorable mention on GRAFT site). To donate please send an email to info@graft.network and we will generate a unique donation address for you.

In closing

We have very ambitious goals for Q2 and beyond. Q2 should allow us to see complete end-to-end network in production. Beyond Q2, we will be focusing on filling out the network with service providers, adding user and merchant features and workflows, expanding support for various use cases, improving scalability. From the specific goals for this year, we strive to achieve 100k real RTA transactions this year and 1M next year, subsequently pushing GRAFT to the scale of traditional payment networks.

A lot of GRAFT’s success depends on the community – we rely on the community to stay engaged and active, providing meaningful contributions towards success of the project. The timing is right with the merchants and users around the world looking to add alternatives to traditional payments. The faster we’re able to execute, the more likely the project will achieve success.

And please remember – YOU ARE THE NETWORK!