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:


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 [email protected]


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.

Are the Merchant Interested in Decentralized Payment Network? – Survey Report

Last night we published a report on Medum – Are Merchants Interested in Decentralized Payment Network – Why and What’s Standing in the Way?

The report is a summary of the Merchant Survey we’ve been running for a while and will continue to run in order to gain insights into the market and validate the assumptions we’re making as well as priorities we’re setting for the product development”

Enjoy the read – we hope you find the information useful.
“Claps” are appreciated as they help raise the visibility on Medium

Full Supernode Release -Stimulus Mode-

As promised, we’re very happy to be delivering the much anticipated big SuperNode release today!

It has been an incredible journey with lots of hard work, learning, stumbles, and small victories along the way! We owe a big Thank You to everyone who helped us get here!!!

GRAFT SuperNode | GRAFT Node

To get started with the Supernode, you will need to install new GRAFT node and the SuperNode. You’ll find install instructions and binaries in github using links above.

Easy Install Guide

(thanks Tiago!)

Staking is done via “cold wallet” staking transactions as described in the guide and install instructions. Staking transactions expire based on your preferences and can be added up for a higher tier.

RTA sample is chosen randomly using the staked blockchain based supernode list embodying the real RTA implementation.

The next few months will be spent building up the network using stimulus transactions, flushing out any bugs and vulnerabilities and finishing the workflow. We will then roll out mainnet production-ready external RTA API support along with new wallets around May-June timeframe, to run on top of a robust and stable network.

Network Upgrade

Public testnet seeds are being upgrade later today at block 287770

The mainnet network upgrade is scheduled for March 20, around 14:00 GMT, @ block 308460

(updated)


With that, we would like to invite you to take a minute to celebrate with us!

(virtually for now, although we are thinking of doing a GRAFT user conference in not so distant future)

Release Notes:

Included:

  • Supernode communication and tier-based authorization selection
  • support for “cold wallet” staking transactions
  • RTA fee distribution

Not included:

  • RTA sale transactions external API and flow
  • client support

RTA Staking Primer

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!

Follow GRAFT on Twitter




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