Dev Update – Checkpointing


The next large milestone for GRAFT is implementing checkpointing (a way to achieve finality and avoid various double spend exploits between the layers of the multi-layer blockchain).

We have been looking at checkpointing solutions from Dash, LOKI, and Ethereum Casper. All of them use slightly different approaches for validator quorum selection, conflicting checkpoints resolution, revision attacks, catastrophic crashes, etc. Our goal is to pick the best model for GRAFT by leveraging the work that’s been done on these other platforms.

Here’s a high-level checkpointing solutions analysis:

Quorum selection

  • Dash: set of active large (320-400) quorums, own communication protocol
  • Loki: 2 quorums (10 members)
  • Casper: 2 set of validators. Size of each set isn’t specified, supposed to be dynamic

Checkpointing frequency

  • Dash: every block
  • Loki: every 4 blocks
  • Casper: 100s (links)

Slashing

  • Dash: scoring, collateral not slashed but masternode could be banned
  • Loki: none, only deregistration from being active service node
  • Casper: “gradual” (incremental) for lack of responsiveness, harsher for incorrect result

Conflicting checkpoints (fork choice)

Double Spend

Over the next couple of weeks we will be working on putting together a proof-of-concept for GRAFT checkpointing, at which point we will publish the design to collect comments and proceed with full implementation.

References:

Lyra DAG Development

As you may know, Slava has stepped away from day-to-day at GRAFT.
One of the community devs who was working alongisde with Slava for a while however, has stepped up to continue Lyra work and has already built an impressive showcase application and a roadmap. Little too early to “count the chickens”, but looking quite promising that Lyra development will continue.


Wallet Update 1.15

Long overdue, a wallet update with transaction history is now ready for desktop and being pushed out to mobile.

https://github.com/graft-project/GraftMobile/releases

This release gives us the confidence that we can maintain and enhance the wallet going forward, with a new team make up.

Next

Next, we will now focus on analyzing the double spend protection as we’re exploring finishing up RTA in the near term.

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

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.