GRAFT Development Status Update May 2018

It’s time for another status update! Y’all are busy people, so let’s not waste any time and get right to the point.

Payment Apps

Let’s start from really good news – our Merchant Marketplace app just received certification from Verifone – big step towards GRAFT acceptance by brick-and-mortar merchants and a product of 6 months long development cycle in close communication with Verifone. We are working on improving this application as well as building apps for other major players in the area of hardware payment terminals such as Ingenico.

Also, we just started designing the online shopping cart integrations – the first implementation is going to be an integration with Shopify, one of the most popular online store platforms. While it’s not within GRAFT’s charter to produce all the integrations, we take it upon ourselves to provide reference integrations with few leading platforms, paving the way for the independent software developers to take GRAFT to all other platforms.

Blockchain

It’s not a big secret that GRAFT has been forked from Monero – in order to be able to reuse the best (as of today) implementation of Cryptonote protocol, which is the most secure blockchain protocol so far, at least for people who care about their privacy. The idea was (and still is!) to take the open source Cryptonote technology and use it as a tier-1 foundation of the future 2-tier application platform, when the 2nd tier consists of the network of full supernodes (please read the white paper for more details). So the GRAFT dev team was supposed to be mostly focused on design and implementation of the tier 2 from the beginning. Unfortunately, sometimes our plans diverge reality in unpredictable ways, and we admit that it was naive assumption. Instead of working on core development tasks, significant part of the team had to address several problems caused by network difficulty and timestamp manipulation attacks. As a result, we switched to more efficient difficulty adjustment algorithm, which is already used by a few other blockchains, and even managed to improve it. We also followed the majority of Cryptonote community and implemented ASIC-resistant code.

We appreciate a concrete help we receive from the community, including individual contributors zawy12 and jagerman – thank you guys! It’s also worth mentioning that our full time core dev team has been growing as well – we have added two senior core developers and project/product manager.

We are working on another potential modification – Cryptonote Heavy hash algorithm. Although the code change is ready, we are still testing, and haven’t made a final decision when (if at all) to switch to Heavy. We continue monitoring the situation in order to find the best time for changes that require major network update.

Real Time Authorizations (RTA)

Our top-most development priority right now is RTA and we’ve been hard at work doing the R&D and laying the foundation to meet our delivery timeframes. For those of you who are interested in details, here is the “10,000 foot view” of RTA – simplistic, optimistic sequence diagram of the RTA flow: Note that every line of text in this diagram correspondents to hundreds or even thousands of lines of the source code, so this diagram just demonstrates interactions between the main players, without going deeply into the details such as auth sample selection, fee distribution, message broadcasting, etc. We are working on various modules of the RTA so we could compile the full picture: supernode-ng server framework, porting DAPI/business logic into a new framework, and authorization sample communication, which includes both super-fast UDP-based direct communication protocol (for “urgent” messages) and “unhurried” protocol (for regular message transmissions) based on existing P2P implementation.

CryptoFind

Although CryptoFind was not designed to be the core product, its popularity recently skyrocketed, and so now we cannot imagine GRAFT without CryptoFind, which becomes the most comprehensive worldwide database of businesses that accept crypto. We have implemented some new features and improvements in CryptoFind since the last update: added a text search function, which allows you to find nearby points by name or type (cafe, store, refueling, etc.), enhanced the user interface, and created statistics page.

Network Monitoring

Also we are internally monitoring multiple parameters of GRAFT servers using special tools such as CloudWatch and Nagios, we thought that the community should be able to know about the basic status (“up/down”) in real time as well, without the need to ask and repeat the same questions on forums. So we have created a simple public network status monitoring page – don’t forget to check it out!

Happy Grafting!

Consolidating “US” and “EU” GRAFT Mining Pools Into a Single Community Pool

GRAFT team is going to consolidate the “US” and “EU” mining pools into a single community pool, which is supposed to increase the efficiency and reduce the costs of maintenance and support. Initially, at the moment of GRAFT blockchain launch on January 16th, 2018, two pools were supposed to ensure better decentralization and stability of the new blockchain; however, rapid growth of GRAFT popularity and mining community made this issue irrelevant shortly after the launch. Now Graft team is seeking a better distribution of the hashrate load, and as the network grows bigger, we are decommissioning one pool to allow operators of independant pools to gain a bigger market share.

The URL of the consolidated pool is going to be grftpool.com. Users of both current pools will be automatically redirected from the old urls. Miners connected to the “EU pool” will not be affected. Miners connected to the “US pool”, which is going to be shut down, will be receiving their payouts in full after the mining on the US pool is turned off. The switch will take place on April 1st. We recommend all miners currently connected to us.pool.graft.network to switch to eu.pool.graft.network as soon as possible in order to avoid any unexpected issues. Happy mining!

MVP Development Status Update

We would like to update the community on the status of Graft blockchain development. We have made a lot of plans and promises, and now it’s time for our dreams to start coming true. In order to achieve our ambitious goals, we have put together an efficient team of very talented and experienced developers. Two of them came from Monero project, which is very important for us as we forked the blockchain from Monero, and there will be many blockchain protocol changes.

Network Node, Testnet, and Blockchain Explorer

As an important milestone, we have finished some initial blockchain code modifications which allowed us to set up a public testnet with the first Graft block explorer.

While the testnet is open for access from the Internet, we have not published yet any information on node/supernode setup, configuration, and connectivity since we are still frequently updating it, and we would like to make sure it is stable enough to be open for public view and alpha testing. We will notify everyone once we publish the instructions so anyone will be able to connect and test the basic network.

Supernode

The majority of the work, however, currently is concentrated in supernode code which is — unlike network node forked from Monero — being designed from scratch. The proof of concept supernode was written in Python for the sake of rapid prototype development. After thorough review, the team decided to refactor the supernode code in C++ in order to keep a single technology stack and optimize the development process and network performance. Although the supernode and network node are based on the same technology stack now, the supernode is still deployed as a separate process (daemon), and we intend to keep it this way, at least for the near future.

Mining

Also, we are working on instructions for miners, including GPU and mining pools. Initially, it will be possible to mine on CPU, so the entire full supernode can be hosted on single machine. That’s how the typical testnet supernode is configured. On the mainnet, however, the network hashrate will grow fast, which will require GPU, then multiple GPU, and eventually mining pools to be set up in order to efficiently mine and maintain the full supernode. We are working on providing instructions for GPU miners as well as creating a first mining pool. The GPU mining machine can be detached from the supernode, which enables a hybrid “on premise/cloud” configuration, where, for example, the GPU mining rig is located at home while the supernode is hosted in AWS.

Mobile Wallet, Point of Sale, and Payment Terminal Apps

Finally, we are working on development of client applications, which include wallet and point of sale mobile apps that should look familiar from the PoC phase, as well as new apps running on payment terminals such as Verifone, Ingenico, Equinox, and AnywhereCommerce. Those new apps are going to be different from our existing mobile apps as they are going to be tailored to particular terminal hardware/OS/API/SDK and mostly integrated with third party point of sale software. The terminal apps are very important as they will open the door to the mainstream merchants including top tier retailers. Here is how the typical terminal app will interact with Graft blockchain:

We are still on initial design phase with those apps, but we believe we will be able to demonstrate the working prototypes before the ICO. Stay tuned!

Summary Comparison of GRAFT Blockchain to Other Payment Solutions

GRAFT VS RIPPLE AND OTHERS: FOCUS ON BUYERS, MERCHANTS, AND THEIR PRIVACY

SINCE GRAFT USES CRYPTONOTE PROTOCOL, HAS THE MONERO COMMUNITY INDICATED SUPPORT FOR GRAFT?

ARE TENX AND OTHERS CRYPTO CARDS COMPETITORS?

HOW GRAFT IS DIFFERENT FROM OTHER CRYPTOCURRENCIES AND WHY IS IT BETTER FOR PAYMENT PROCESSING APPLICATIONS

HOW IS GRAFT DIFFERENT FROM DASH?

CASH, DEBIT, CREDIT, MOBILE, BITCOIN, OR GRAFT?

FEATURE COMPARISON – GRAFT VS. OTHER CRYPTO-CURRENCIES FOR PAYMENT PROCESSING APPLICATIONS

Graft vs Ripple and Others: Focus on Buyers, Merchants, and Their Privacy

Focus on Buyer and Merchant Needs

Ripple’s is mostly focused on bank settlements, while Graft provide solutions to buyers and merchants. Buyers can pay anywhere with cryptocurrencies or plastic card using Graft wallet app. Merchants can receive payment from anyone using point of sale accepting both cryptocurrencies and plastic cards. Faster payment confirmations are provided by Graft supernode authorization sample, a process that is more similar to Dash masternode scheme. Unlike Dash masternode, however, Graft supernode is not a “wrapper” or a second tier as it is designed to be a monolithic code base that implements both real time authorization and blockchain settlement (mining) features. Such an architecture improves security of the real time authorization process, as payments cannot be settled “off supernode chain” by the “lower” level blockchain network nodes, without supernodes knowing about their existence. Thus, all Graft transactions are authorized instantly without requiring additional fee, by supernodes that are automatically selected by the network using combined proof of work and proof of stake algorithm.

Focus on Absolute Privacy

Ripple consensus protocol is different, and its main problem is that it does not provide privacy features: untraceability and unlinkability of payment transactions. Unlike Graft blockchain, all transaction information on the Ripple ledger is public. Ripple does not provide the privacy and untraceability that are demanded today by potential Graft users – both buyers and merchants. When we pay with credit card, we share our secret payment information (like credit card number) with some entities – the merchant, the issuing bank, the payment processor, the payment acquiring bank – but those entities are relatively trustable so they try not to share our secrets with the entire world, and no one else can see our transaction history without our or their permission. Oftentimes, however, they fail to keep our secrets (think Target and many other retail mega breaches). With Ripple or Bitcoin or most other cryptocurrencies that are not based on CryptoNote protocol, the story is exactly opposite: there is no central authority that “knows” our secret “card number” (private key), but at the same time anyone in the world can trace our payments on the blockchain and link them to our identities with minimum efforts. By Implementing CryptoNote and other features, Graft brings the level of untraceability of payment history similar to traditional credit and debit card system, while adding decentralization, privacy, and security, which are the features of any cryptocurrency that are absolutely impossible to achieve using traditional credit card payment technology.

Since Graft uses CryptoNote protocol, has the Monero community indicated support for Graft?

While Graft supernode code is being written from scratch, the blockchain CryptoNote implementation codebase is forked from Monero. We do not anticipate a direct and immediate Monero community support. However, we believe that our project attracts people from CryptoNote communities as it adds a lot of features that are not available in existing CryptoNote implementations. One example of such a feature is real-time authorization (instant confirmation). Another example is hidden transaction fee amount, which is exposed to public view in all existing blockchains. This table compares Graft with Monero, Bitcoin, Dash, and other cryptocurrencies.

However, there are even more important features that are not simply enhancements of the CryptoNote protocol. No one needs just another blockchain, even if it provides better privacy. But Graft is much more than just “another blockchain”. Graft is innovative payment application platform which supports various payment and payout methods, either traditional or innovative. While providing “reference”, default implementations of applications and services, Graft ecosystem is open for any software vendors and service providers. We believe in diversity of payment methods and cryptocurrencies.

Graft mobile wallet and point of sale apps do not maintain a full copy of the blockchain for obvious reasons. Does it mean the wallet content is stored on supernodes which may compromise its security and privacy?

There are multiple elements of the Graft user wallet:
  • Private spend key – secret – required to spend money; stored in the wallet app
  • Private view key – “semi-secret” – required to see the balance and previous transactions
  • Payment address – public – required to receive money
In Graft, the Private spend key is always stored at the client (wallet) and never shared with the supernodes. Therefore, it is not the same as credit card when you share you card account number with the merchant, payment processor, and the bank every time you make a payment. If one of them is breached, your credit card can be stolen and used to make fraudulent payments. If any or even all supernodes are “breached”, they don’t have your private spend key so no one will be able to “use” your Graft account.
The Graft wallet balance is a “hidden” set of previous transactions. It is calculated by scanning all the previous transactions which are stored on the public blockchain but invisible without view key. Since mobile wallet app does not have direct access to the blockchain, the private view key is temporary shared with a single “proxy” (relay) supernode in order to retrieve the wallet balance; the supernode will not store this view key in any database so even if it’s “breached” the view key will not be disclosed in most cases. However, even if the view key is disclosed, it only allows to see transactions, not to spend any money.
Users (either buyers or merchants) with higher requirements for privacy can host their own private “proxy” supernode with full copy of blockchain. This way they will never share their view keys with the random “foreign” supernodes. Most probably, due to limited processing power and other resource limitations, such a private proxy supernode will not be able to participate in transaction processing and earn any block rewards or transaction fees, but it will still be able to validate transactions and view balances privately by scanning the local copy of the blockchain. For users who cannot or don’t want to host their own supernode but still don’t trust the entire network, Graft creates a special (free) cloud service with trusted proxy supernodes that are protected by multiple levels of security.

In order to process real-time authorization (instant confirmation) Graft network puts a “lock” on buyer’s account. How does it not violate one of the main goals of any cryptocurrency system – untraceability?

First of all, untraceability is not a feature of any cryptocurrency. As of today, CryptoNote is perhaps the only protocol that enables full privacy and untraceability. The beauty of Cryptonote is that it hides the details of transaction while still preventing double-spending. This is achieved through the use of key image which is unique “fingerprint” that represents the spending address and amount without disclosing any details about the buyer or the amount. By providing the key image for upcoming transaction to the network of supernodes, the buyer’s wallet will temporarily “lock” its “account”, so no other transaction with the same key image can happen until the locked transaction is settled or the lock is removed. If the buyer will try to finalize the transaction with the key image different from the one used in the original lock, such transaction will be rejected by the supernodes. On the other hand, the key image does not contain any information about the buyer, buyer’s wallet, or recipient (merchant). In addition, any traces of communication between the buyer (wallet app), the merchant (point of sale app), and the supernodes (selected proxy and sample supernodes) during authorization phases are completely removed once transaction is settled (written into the blockchain). Even transaction fees paid by merchant to authorizing supernodes are hidden from public view, which is another major privacy improvement comparing to all previous CryptoNote implementations that do not hide transaction fees.