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 will be available for download in the coming weeks 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




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.

Pay-in Exchange Broker Alpha

We’re excited to publish the first version of the Exchange Broker that we’ve been working on for a while in parallel to the RTA in an effort to provide a complete second layer eco-system.

https://github.com/graft-project/exchange-broker

This is the first version of the exchange broker which aims to facilitate a scenario where the merchant or merchant service provider perform the accept, exchange and payout functions. (Future versions of the broker and other components will become further decentralized and separate those functions among other participants in the network)

The broker can run on the RTA Alpha testnet and comes with a nice demo application emulating a POS/terminal accepting testnet BTC and ETH for payment.

Join the Exchange Broker Telegram channel for community-based support and idea exchange.


Upcoming Wallet Redesign


There are lots of cool features we’re planning for GRAFT and GRAFT wallet in particular. These changes will be rolled out over time as the supporting functionality develops inside the GRAFT network and around it, but we wanted to give you a sneak preview of things to come. 🙂

Improved and Ehnanced Payment Workflow

Those QR codes that you’re scanning off POS actually carry product information inside of them that the wallet can display to the user and store for future recall and analysis.

Rich Transaction Logging

All transactions will be logged – both the sale (RTA) and transfer transactions. What’s more, the sale transactions will store the metadata about the transaction for further analysis.

Improved Login Usability

We hear you – the login needs to be fast and easy, passwords are evil. 🙂

Better Wallet Management

Being able to manage multiple wallets without having to reset the wallet every time.

P2P Transfers connected to Address Book

Ability to launch and manage SuperNodes and Exchange Brokers right from the App

We want to make launching and managing the nodes and brokers super-easy and accessible to everyone.

Integration with CryptoFind

so you can find those locations that accept digital currencies

Integration with ColdPay Wallet / Payment card

Oh, and last but by far not the least, multisignature support in the underlying blockchain and its innovative use with the wallet means that the phone app can still be light without sacrificing security.

As usual, we welcome constructive comments from the community around wallet design and other topics!

Enterprise Perks and Rewards on GRAFT Blockchain

Paypal recently revealed that it was playing around with payment blockchain for its own internal “perk and rewards” purposes. Quoting the article,

“PayPal’s new blockchain platform rewards employees in crypto-tokens, but they only have value inside of PayPal and the platform. Staff can earn tokens by joining innovation programs and contributing ideas, they can also trade tokens. The token transactions will be recorded on the platform’s blockchain ledger and can be redeemed for over different 100 rewards, or experiences. These range from poker tournaments with PayPal vice presidents, a morning of martial arts with PayPal CEO Dan Schulman to borrowing the dog of the head of the investor relations.”

We at GRAFT have long seen this as one of the most viable early use cases for a payment blockchain adoption by the enterprise, and it (along with merchant loyalty programs) was the impetus behind GRAFT Network’s plans for secondary tokens and virtual private chains.

Going down this path what Paypal and others will likely discover the following:

  1. They will struggle with centralized vs decentralized approach to the blockchain. On one hand, yes, they can spin up a Hyperledger and do their own hosting, but they will be responsible for the security and the uptime – and the stakes are high as this is REAL money that can be traded for goods and services

  2. They will struggle with transaction speed and privacy Should this blockchain be public where everyone can see where their coworker is spending their perk dollars, or should it be private? The answer most likely is that privacy IS important, which rules out Ethereum token solutions. Speed wise, even though Hyperledger for instance provides a good TPS, it’s not a GUARANTEED TPS and is subject to bottlenecks.

  3. They will have to figure out how to store and accept the tokens, meaning that they will have to develop their own wallet and POS/Terminal applications and web plugins.

  4. They will face a question of portability Should these tokens be exchangeable for good and services outside of the immediate “walled garden” of perks (think cafeteria credits, child sitting credits, Uber credits, etc)?

  5. Finally, they will have to think about maintainability People inside corporations leave and move to other jobs, projects get deprioritized, the organizations goes through growth and cuts. Maintaining a in-house system is a big commitment for an organization.


A payment network like GRAFT makes for a good solution for this use case as it provides support for the company (aka merchant) tokens and private overlay networks while leveraging the robust features of the underlying POS-compatible permissionless blockchain network, ready made apps (POS/terminal and wallet) that can be customized by the commercial entity to their needs and branding, and an infrastructure of service brokers that can provide exchange capabilities and various other services and applications.

We invite Paypal and others who are considering offering a “perk money” program based on a blockchain designed for payments to explore GRAFT Network as a potential solution.

How GRAFT Is Similar To And At The Same Time Different From Visa And Other Payment Card Networks (Part 2)

Slava Gomzin, Co-Founder of GRAFT

In the previous post we reviewed the similarities between GRAFT and plastic card networks. Now let’s review the differences.

Difference #1 – Decentralization

There is such a key property of GRAFT Network that fundamentally differentiates it from plastic cards. Unfortunately, not all buyers realize and appreciate this property immediately because it is not that obvious to the average consumer, especially in developed countries. And let’s be completely honest with ourselves here – not everyone cares about this property – it’s not until you find yourself in, not before your get into a situation that it suddenly becomes very important. I am talking about decentralization.

The card processing consists of several elements represented by multiple corporations: payment networks (Visa, Mastercard, American Express, etc.), issuing and acquiring banks (such as Chase, Bank of America, etc.), and payment processors (such as First Data, Heartland, etc.). Each corporation has its rules and compliance to national governments, which means they can reject any merchant or buyer, anytime. They can put you out of business, make you “persona non grata” – without any reason, notice, or explanation, just because you don’t fit their requirements – by declining your credit card application, decreasing your credit limit, locking your funds, or cancelling your merchant account. Millions of people live behind the “invisible wall” built by those corporations and governments, without access to banking system, i.e. without ability to use credit/debit cards.

Unlike plastic cards, GRAFT Network does not belong to anyone. GRAFT is more a protocol rather than a product due to its open source nature and peer-to-peer architecture. Therefore, the buyers and merchants cannot be either rejected or approved: they simply connect to the network (by downloading free apps) and start using it, no strings attached. But remember that unlike typical ”bare” cryptocurrencies, the features #1 – 4 from above are still there to satisfy both buyers and merchants standards on the same level as they are satisfied by payment card processors, only without centralization.

Difference #2 – Privacy

Another key difference is somewhat related to #1; however, it is completely separate feature, which is achieved by using special additional technical means rather then just solely based on the fact that GRAFT is independent from corporations and governments. What’s really similar to #1 is the fact that for some people this property may not been important at first glance – again, until you get into specific situation when it does become important. This property is absolute privacy provided by GRAFT Network to both buyer and merchant. Unlike plastic cards and most cryptocurrencies, GRAFT’s sender address, recipient address, transaction amount, and transaction fee amount are invisible to everyone except for the sender and recipient themselves. Although payment card networks do not expose the details of transaction to the public, this data is accessible by employees of multiple corporations, can be shared with governments, and can be stolen by hackers. Unlike plastic cards, no employees or hackers can access GRAFT transaction data which is encrypted forever – thanks to strong cryptography and underlying blockchain’s CryptoNote protocol.

Difference #3 – Security

Security is another thing that differentiate GRAFT Network from plastic cards. I spent years working on security of plastic cards payments . This technology was created in 1960s, and improved in 1990s by introducing EMV – “chip and pin” cards. But back then, even in 1990s, people were not very familiar with terms like “cybersecurity” or “hacker”, so the technology was not designed with security in mind. The result – a multi-million industry called “credit card fraud” that flourishes to this day.

I am not saying cryptocurrencies don’t have security issues at all – everything related to computers and network has potential security issues. However, if you manage your wallets and keys properly, the security of GRAFT for both buyers and merchants is much stronger than plastic cards: no chargebacks, no lost or stolen cards with the primary account number embossed on the face of the card, and no hacked point of sale systems with millions and millions of payment card records stolen and sold on dark market.

Difference #4 – Technology

Let’s not forget about technology – payment cards use centralized networks, relational databases, and centrally managed customer and merchant accounts. GRAFT uses decentralized peer-to-peer network, distributed blockchain database, and random wallet addresses which are not linked to customer identities.

GRAFT “inherits” all the positive features of traditional payment card processing networks while offering solutions to negative sides of centralized, insecure, olding technology. Give it a try!

How GRAFT Is Similar To And At The Same Time Different From Visa And Other Payment Card Networks (Part 1)

Slava Gomzin, Co-Founder of GRAFT

GRAFT Network is often compared to credit and debit card processing networks such as Visa, Mastercard, and other plastic payment brands. Most of the time such a comparison is focused solely on the differences while in fact GRAFT and payment card networks have some (good) things in common. In this post I will try to describe both similarities and differences.

Let’s start with the good things that both GRAFT and plastic cards have in common. GRAFT “borrowed” many good features from payment cards, which have been tried and tested for over 50 years, and become a defacto standard for payments in that time.

Similarity #1 – No cost to the user

Traditionally in cryptocurrency, transaction fees are paid for by the buyer – a practice that goes against the grain of payment workflows in the global merchant space, where transaction fees get charged to the vendor. Just like with plastic cards, GRAFT Network does not charge the buyer a fee for processing a payment transaction. This difference might seem to be insignificant, but in reality it is one of the most important features which positions GRAFT on the right side of the user experience battle. After so many years of plastic card payments, where the buyer is not even aware of transaction fees paid by merchants, Bitcoin and other crypto started “forcing” consumers to pay “network” fees for each transaction including in-store purchases. This setup creates an inhibition to spending and is one of the reasons cryptocurrencies are still not widely supported by mainstream consumers as a payment method at checkout. In some cases, the fees reach an incredible amount, often making the purchase itself illogical. Would you buy a cup of coffee that costs $3 and pay another $1 (extra 33%) as a “network fee” if you can pay just $3 by credit or debit card? GRAFT resolves this problem by charging the merchant instead of the buyer, just like plastic cards do, leaving it to the merchant to price their goods and services accordingly

Similarity #2 – Predictable transaction costs

There is another, more serious problem with cryptocurrency transaction fees: inconsistency. Retail is a tough business with small margins, and it likes predictability. Retailers want to be able to know in advance what part of the revenue they take home and what part they pay to the payment processor. Payment card brands recognized this issue many years ago and resolved by setting very consistent rules. The fees may vary based on amount and type of transaction, but they always can be calculated in advance. The most important rule is that there is always a rule. For example, the processor can charge the merchant 3% + $0.20 for each transaction. If the merchant sells its product for a total of $10,000 today to 100 customers, they know they will pay $320 in transaction fees.

Unlike payment cards, blockchain-based cryptocurrencies usually charge transaction fees based on the size of transaction record in kilobytes. It is impossible to predict the fee as the buyer’s wallet compiles the payment “on the fly” from a number of outputs of previous transactions which varies from wallet to wallet. If GRAFT only “flipped” the fees burden from buyers to merchants but kept the same common cryptocurrency approach to fee calculation, it wouldn’t work for merchants. So GRAFT made the fees predictable, dependant on transaction amount just like payment card brands. The authorization cost of a GRAFT Network transaction (paid to the supernodes supporting the network) is 0.5% of the transaction amount while the settlement (paid to the miners) is a fixed fee of 0.1 GRFT (more details about GRAFT fee structure can be found here). This helps bring predictability, and thus stability to the process, making accepting crypto payments more attractive to the merchants.

Similarity #3 – Special transaction types.

When we go deeper into the specifics of retail – especially the hospitality and gas station business – there are more exotic features of payment systems, and many people, including developers of other cryptocurrencies, have not developed around their existence, leaving big holes for cryptocurrency use in these areas. Most of us, however, are familiar with features such as pre-authorizations from our day to day life as consumers. Payment card brands developed these features because they were vital for many businesses to replace cash payments. Cryptocurrency designers, however, have underestimated the importance of brick-and-mortar business requirements because they focused mostly on online payments.

When you swipe your card at gas station to fill your car’s gas tank, your card is not charged immediately, but instead it is preauthorized for a particular amount set by the merchant or its payment processor; for example, $50. Preauthorization (aka “pre-auth”) ensures that your account has enough money to pay for the gas, up to $50, but it does not charge your account. Technically, you still have the $50, but temporarily you cannot spend it because pre-auth decrements your spending limit. It’s done this way because the pump does not know in advance how much gas will enter your tank (and how much you will have to pay for it). Once you’re finished fueling, the pump sends the exact amount to the network and finalizes the transaction. This operation is called completion because it actually completes the transaction. Completion unlocks the funds previously locked by pre-auth and charges your account for the exact amount. So if you owe the pump $25 for the gas, it will cancel your $50 hold and debit your bank account balance by $25 (or increase your available credit in the case of a credit card).

“Pre-auth”/”complete” mechanisms are also applicable in other big industries such as hospitality – when you check in to the hotel your card is pre-authorized for the approximated cost of your entire stay plus some additional amount for unexpected expenses. When you check out, your room your card is “completed” for the exact amount including your mini-bar charges. It sounds simple but there is a whole infrastructure behind the scenes supporting this. All existing cryptocurrencies lack “pre-auth/complete” functionality and therefore cannot be used as a method of payment at gas stations, hotels, and many other businesses. GRAFT fills this gap and provides a “pre-auth/complete” mechanism similar to plastic cards – thanks to the supernode infrastructure.

Similarity #4 – Real Time Authorizations

Finally, let’s talk about the most important feature provided by payment cards (this could very well have been listed at #1 but it’s important to emphasize the previous three as they are big challenges for the cryptocurrency paradigm that should not be overlooked). Payment cards work remarkably fast when it comes to authorization and preauthorization. Typically it takes a fraction of second (up to several seconds if their processor is slow) to get authorization or pre-authorization from Visa or most other card processing networks. It takes from several minutes to several hours to confirm payment with most cryptocurrencies. Bitcoin itself was designed for online transfers of funds where authorization time is not a critical factor. Bitcoin is more like a bank ACH transfer than a credit card payment. Most cryptocurrencies have followed Bitcoin’s design and inherited this “feature”. In the reality of brick-and-mortar stores, however, time is money, literally, as for these merchants more time spent on every payment means less customers (less revenue) and more cashiers (more expenses).

GRAFT Network processes instant authorizations and preauthorizations using special technology called Real Time Authorizations (RTA) which is accomplished through GRAFT’s decentralized supernode topology. Therefore, payments processed through the GRAFT Network are suitable for brick-and-mortar merchants.

This part is concluded now; in the next post, which will be published tomorrow, we will discuss key differences between GRAFT and plastic card networks. After all, there must be something fundamentally different in the way GRAFT processes payments, otherwise, why would anyone forget good old plastic card and rush to pay with crypto via GRAFT Network?

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).

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 September 2018

It’s time for another dev update! It’s no secret that RTAs (real time authorizations) remain the main focus for the GRAFT development team, so let’s start from the alpha review.

RTA Alpha

We are excited to announce that RTA transaction now works end to end for the entire sale workflow – it is stable, and takes just a couple of seconds to get approval on both wallet and point of sale as expected. There is still some work to be done before we move to beta release, and there are many ways to do even more improvements. But here is the most important thing: the first instant payment on a private CryptoNote blockchain is now a reality!

The RTA alpha release contains a full set of components necessary to conduct an end-to-end point of sale transaction in real time:

  • completely redesigned full supernode, i.e. the supernode that can participate in authorization sample and approve a GRAFT transaction in real time;
  • completely redesigned wallet and point-of-sale proxy supernodes, i.e. the supernodes that provides an “entry point” to the RTA network and participate in RTA transactions;
  • mobile and desktop wallet and point of sale apps for iOS and Mac OS X redesigned for RTA.

In addition, there is a special testing environment created for RTA alpha testing – alphanet – a dedicated testnet which contains several seed nodes, a miner, proxy supernode cluster with load balancer, and blockchain explorer.

We managed to assemble a very efficient and quite large team of alpha testers – 50+ active members who are able to run both RTA supernode and iOS/Mac clients (wallet, POS). In addition, we have selected an extra “reserve” group of volunteers (also 50+) that will be able to join the testing once it’s extended to the next phases – additional clients for Android/Windows and then beta release.

People familiar with development release cycle know that alpha releases are usually unstable and may lack some features. RTA alpha was not an exception. Once the RTA functionality was released to the alphanet, we discovered issues that we could not see during regular testing. We are able to simulate the real network very well because the alphanet consists of real participants running on different networks and different hardware or hardware abstractions, rather than artificially cloned nodes and supernodes. We really appreciate the patience and positive attitude of alpha testers team!

So it’s time to learn more about the RTA transaction flow, which you will be able to experience in retail stores soon! It is very simple – a couple of clicks (literally) in the wallet app and a couple of clicks at the point of sale app: Figure 1: GRAFT RTA Workflow Between Mobile Wallet and Point-of-sale Apps

Payment Gateway for Merchants and Service Providers

As recently described in the Fees and economics update post, one of the important profiles in GRAFT ecosystem is a Merchant Service Provider (MSP). An MSP’s role is to provide and support payment network services to the merchant, ensure the uptime of the network (usually referred to as Service Level agreement or SLA), provide and manage equipment (e.g. payment terminals), provide reporting, etc.

To enable an MSP to do this, another type of server is needed – one that would:

  • Manage the terminal’s configuration (including wallet address)
  • Handle the MSP specific fee economics for the MSP (an MSP could choose to handle tiers of service differently or charge different fees for different transaction amounts)
  • Maintain transaction reporting and analyyics for merchants

In theory, such payment gateway can be designed and implemented by a third party such as traditional payment processor that wants to add cryptocurrency payments to their portfolio of services. However, we decided to create a “reference implementation” to enable faster adoption rate as a part of our go-to-market strategy.
Since GRAFT is a decentralized payment network, the payment gateway is multi-tenant, multi-instance, open source app, and everyone can host their own payment gateway and become a service provider on the network.

Payment Gateway is this “fifth element” that is supposed to manage the GRAFT payment apps on hardware payment terminals and GRAFT ecommerce interfaces, and link them with the GRAFT supernodes. Since it has transaction visibility, it is considered part of merchant’s ‘back office’ applications. Figure 2: GRAFT Payment Gateway, Service Provider Dashboard Figure 3: GRAFT Payment Gateway, Merchant Dashboard

* Note: With GRAFT network, the merchant can be their own MSP, but would still require the functions of a Gateway in order to manage the terminals setup, reporting, etc.

Upcoming Dev Updates

We’re moving forward with every track on the development roadmap and even pulling some of them forward. An interesting upcoming project, which is currently in design and not even announced yet, is GRAFT ColdPay Supercard. This is a smart card that combines functionality of cold wallet, which can be used with mobile or desktop host app, and payment card, which can be used for making a payment at hardware payment terminals and mobile points of sale. More details about this exciting development will be unleashed very soon. Stay tuned, happy grafting!