Do People Really Need or Want an Alternative Payment Network at the Point of Sale and Why?

We recently ran a poll among Twitter followers, asking people to explain what makes them interested in paying with crypto (implied, using a decentralized payment network) at the point of sale. The three choices that were given represent the three main benefits of a decentralized payment network as we see it. We asked respondents to prioritize these benefits as it relates to them personally and whether they would consider paying through an alternative payment network with cryptocurrency, and why.

Privacy

Privacy is something that you simply do not get with the regular credit/debit payment networks. Your purchase data can be lifted (hacked, subpoenaed, etc.) from payment gateways, payment processors, payment network own databases (Visa, MC, Amex, etc), acquiring bank, issuing bank. Unfortunately, you have practically zero control over protecting this data. We realize that privacy can be used to hide things that are not legitimate; however, we believe that privacy is a fundamental right people have (consistent with the latest GDPR guidelines).

Cross-border payments

If you have ever tried to pay for things overseas, you know that it’s not trivial. From little things like getting hit with foreign fees on every transaction (sometimes equaling or exceeding the amount of the transaction), to having the card be blocked based on bank rules, OFAC lists, etc. If you’ve ever been in a situation when you card is declined, you don’t have cash, and you’re stranded in a foreign land, with limited use of the language – you will know exactly how important being able to transact cross borders without any artificial limitations is.

Credit card fees

This category was the clear winner of the poll, and for a good reason! Most of credit cards (issuing banks really) employ a “got you” type of business model. They offer attractive introductory rates and purchase rewards, only to slap you with all sorts of fees and charges, should you be late with your payment; and since everyone is late at one time or another, this becomes an incredibly profitable business model, where the consumer is made to believe it was their own mistake that lead them to having to pay up.

Other

People have also commented that another big reason they want to use a decentralized payment network is to “stick it” to big banks. This is an understandable sentiment, considering how much money those banks make on people and how unfairly stacked the system is to the little guy.

Summary

People often think of cryptocurrency payments at the point of sale or ecommerce as just a way to spend the value they have accumulated, where in reality it can be much more than that if paired up with the payment processing network that is ubiquidous, private at the core, and capable of serving as an alternative to bank-backed credit / debit cards. This type utility, however, isn’t going to be achieved by a centralized payment gateway – it requires a real, decentralized payment NETWORK behind it.

We test our hypothesis periodically to make sure that we don’t work on something that’s not connected to the market needs, so this type of polling helps us stay on track. Thanks to everyone who participated!

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PoW Algorithm Update – GET READY!

After extensive deliberations, community feedback, research and testing, we are settling on a new tweak called CryptoNight v8 ReverseWaltz for the time being – it is based on Waltz’s number of iterations and small change in shuffle operation. We will be monitoring a promising CN-gpu algorithm with potential switch to it in the future.

The fork is tentatively set for block height 299200 (03.07.2019, appr 11:00 CST US)

We’re made several pull requests into popular mining software projects, waiting for Xmrig in particular to approve the pull request as critical path to mining support.

Testnet for CryptoNight v8 Reverse Waltz

  • 54.208.86.27:28880
  • 54.144.192.6:28880
  • 35.175.164.180:28880

Links:

Mining SW and Pool Support




The Role of Stable Coin in GRAFT Network

Recent announcement from JP Morgan about the launch of JP Coin (albeit used internally for now) is just the latest in the wave of stable coin developments.

2019 is looking like it might just be a year of stable (tethered) coins after all, and for a good reason. If you believe, like we do, that cryptocurrencies main vectors of expansion are fiat currency augmentation or replacement and transaction optimization (in addition to existing speculative investment and asset diversification), stable / tethered coins will play a critical role in this next leap forward.

Consider a real alternative payment network like GRAFT. While merchants (and the users) are interested in switching to cryptocurrency for transactions, one of their biggest concerns for the merchant is the fluctuations that go along with the volatile nature of the cryptocurrencies.

Merchant wants to receive the value for the product they have sold without taking a extra gamble on whether they get more or less money than they are owed based on the underlying wild currency fluctuations. That type of guarantee can be accomplished one of two ways – either every transaction immediately gets converted into fiat, or.. ,the transactions get converted into an interim “stable” coin that holds its value, and at the end of the day, all the transactions get tallied up by the merchant service provider and are settled into the merchant’s fiat bank account. It is this latter model that the merchants and MSP’s are used to today, and the one that requires the least amount of change for everyone involved.

To enable this latter model of merchant service provider holding the merchant funds in stable coin currency (preferably in a multisign merchant specific wallet), GRAFT will first be partnering up with a stable coin underwriter to make it available as part of the Payout broker, and later will be opening it up to a choice of stable coins*. The stable coin / payout token concept has long been an important part of GRAFT’s vision and it’s encouraging to see many different entities step up to the plate to offer such product – the timing is perfect!

* We are currently collecting interest from the stable coin providers and the first stable coin implementation will be auctioned off to the highest reputable bidder

The future of GRAFT as Delegated Proof-of-Stake (DPoS)

It’s Valentines day, so we thought it would be appropriate to show some extra love for GRAFT 🙂

We wanted to lift up the covers a little bit on what we’ve been thinking about over the past few months as what the future holds for GRAFT’s technology. Please meet the beginnings of LYRA DPoS*- the Next Big Thing for GRAFT Platform, based on the most recent advances in the field.

Down cycles provide an opportunity to hunker down and build a great solution in preparation for the upturn and market expansion. The market WILL return and when it does, it will reward those who have the most advanced technology for the application, so we need to be ready for that!

The keyword is BUIDL!

Enjoy the read – we hope you will come away as inspired as we have been with it!
As usual, we welcome your feedback – please use github’s issue subsystem to comment.
https://github.com/graft-project/LYRA

* DPoS stands for Delegated Proof of Stake

** GRFT isn’t going away – it will remain the voting and gas/reward currency in the new DPoS platform

RTA Alpha 4.2



Alpha 4.2 is ready for testing!

Release notes:

Cryptonode:

Tag: v1.3.4.2-alpha4.2, https://github.com/graft-project/GraftNetwork/tree/v1.3.4.2-alpha4.2

Changelog:

  • reduced announce traffic: announces relayed to random peers selected with probability = 1/N
  • RTA messages transferred over handshaked P2P connections (RTA doesn’t make new connections)
  • fix: do_broadcast, do_supernode_announce: notify called outside of foreach_connection loop (to fix random segfault)

Supernode:

Tag: v0.4.2-alpha4.2, https://github.com/graft-project/graft-ng/tree/v0.4.2-alpha4.2

Changelog:

  • semi-random announce period (added random factor to update period)
  • fix: “can’t build auth sample” error while buiding auth sample first time



ColdPay IndieGogo Campaign – Live Now!

As we mentioned in the previous communications, we are launching an IndieGogo campaign for the ColdPay card.

Why we’re doing this and why now?

In order for the network to gain the momentum as quickly as possible we need to create awareness and “pull” from both sides of the marketplace. What better way to reach the first potential users and influencers than a cool multicurrency cold wallet / payment card – something that they will initially use to make their cryptocurrency wallets safer and eventually use for payments.

With the campaign now and a first batch scheduled for late May / early June, we’re looking to create some good buzz in the marketplace shortly prior to, during, and shortly after RTA Mainnet launch (not to mention putting a useful product into people’s hands that reminds them of GRAFT).

Impact on RTA development timelines

ColdPay leverages the same development investment that we have to make for the mobile wallet and POS support, including web wallet and payment gateway, so from that standpoint we’re not incurring additional development overhead.

There’s a limited amount of specialized development both on the card and one the provisioning interface, but that work is confined to several part- time engineers who do not participate in core development. So overall impact on the critical path core development is minimal.

Participating in ColdPay IndieGogo campaign



The campaign is now OPEN! There’s a first 100 card Early Bird Secret perk we’re making available to the community.




Selecting New PoW Algorithm for GRAFT

Nicehash attacks have been a real nuisance and been cause for frustration for the miners community and community at large, long confirmation times at the exchanges, and other disruptions. Last week we implemented a tweak to the current GRAFT algorithm which we dubbed CryptoNight Waltz (we reduced the current number of iterations to 3/4, hence the name “waltz” as waltz is written in ¾ timing). This change was selected because it is unique, easy to implement and test, and prevents the attackers from using available Nicehash hashing power.

Some community members suggest that GRAFT should go beyond this change and implement different algorithm. Specifically, new CN-GPU is suggested. Note that introduction of completely new algorithm would induce the risk of blockchain failure due to unexpected consequences, which means more comprehensive and prolonged testing is required. Also, if we take this algorithm without any tweak, there will be more than one blockchain on the same algorithm, which contradicts the original goal.

With that said, we would like the community to express their opinions in a form of questionnaire, and in addition to simple voting for particular algorithm name explain the reason, benefits, possible downsides, and risks. Please submit your suggestions here. You can also join discussion on Telegram GRAFT Mining group. It’s important that everyone gets a chance to “chime in”!

RTA Mining on Mainnet


Often times as engineers we have a tendency to wait to release something until it’s complete and final. This however is not always practical, especially when it comes large complex projects like RTA Supernodes.

We have given it a lot of thought over the last few weeks and decided to break up the Supernode release into two phases. While we’re continuing the work on fine tuning RTA workflow and communication protocol in preparation for mainnet beta, we will first roll out what we’re calling an “RTA Miner” – an RTA Supernode that stakes, participates in RTA communication, and gets revenue from the stimulus transactions.

Goals

This release will allow us to:
  • Test the supernode concept on the scale of real network (there is a limited number of alpha supernodes)
  • Fine tune the economic model including stimulus distribution model
  • Draw attention to the project (enter masternode listings etc.)

Scope

  • RTA transaction will not be enabled in wallets and POS clients (only stimulus transactions will be enabled, but they do not require GUI clients)
  • No requirements to RTA TX performance (time, fault tolerance, etc.) or security (double-spending) as stimulus RTA Tx will be processed by GRAFT team only (Stimulus Tx is sent between GRAFT wallets)
  • There will be no security risk to supernode owners or to the entire network

Incentive Details

We’re currently targeting a 5% avg. per month ROI in RTA mining income based on the stimulus program we had announced earlier. Stimulus incentives will carry into the RTA Mainnet launch (tentatively April 2019) until the network is fully ramped up.
The calculation is based on 1,000 active Supernodes

Timing

We haven’t set an exact date for this release yet, but expect it to be within the next 3 weeks, pending release and testing of the supernode staking wallets security issue fix.



Get Ready for Supernode Staking

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