Request Network project update (March 2nd, 2018) — Online Payments & AMA
Request Network is committed to develop a financial platform for payment requests with the ambition to become a standard for invoices, accounting, audit, and payments in crypto and fiat assets. Request allows people and businesses to get paid in any cryptocurrency in a cost-effective, simple, and secure way.
Main net smart contract audit
As some of you noticed, we fixed the code of the repository in a github branch named “audit-mainnet-0.0.3”. The branch is being fully audited and when the audits are done, we will launch a bug bounty program. We are still on track with our roadmap.
You can have a look at the latest version of the smart contracts here: https://github.com/RequestNetwork/requestNetwork/tree/audit-mainnet-0.0.3/packages/requestNetworkSmartContracts
Online payments are coming…
In the last few weeks, we have designed the Online Payments use case experience.
Please note that everything shown here are some inspirational resources to help you build new projects using the Request Network protocol. We just provide you with the materials needed, and you are free to create and use your own applications.
We are finalizing a detailed documentation to easily set up and accept cryptocurrencies through Request Network in an e-commerce shop.
If you are not a developer yourself, members from the Request Hub are already working on Shopify and WooCommerce plugins, supporting the Request button on these platforms.
The Request payment buttons
Thanks to the community and the abundant feedback provided in this Reddit thread, we created a first set of Request buttons.
The payment flow
Once a customer of a shop decides to pay in cryptocurrencies, he will be redirected to a dedicated page to make the payment.
Once again, this is a flow the foundation designed to help you start building on the Request protocol — feel free to create your own.
From a developer point of view, here is the flow.
This results in the following flow for a customer:
…and here’s a preview of our future landing page:
New exchange listing
We know that gateways to the REQ tokens are very important for the community. Here are news from the last 2 weeks:
- We’ve created a new mobile gateway with Lykke
- Along with Kyber Network, Bancor is a new DEX that listed REQ
- The first fiat gateway is now live in India with Koinex
New projects built on Request
Developed by adm, one of the most active Request community member, helping us since the beginning of the project, WooReq is a simple way to accept cryptocurrency payments on your WooCommerce store powered by the Request Network. WooReq has no setup fees, no monthly fees and no hidden costs.
The project is still an MVP and you will have to wait the main net release to install it on your e-commerce website.
We strongly invite you to visit the website and demo store which can be found at https://wooreq.com/
and the full introduction article https://medium.com/@adamdowson/introducing-wooreq-request-network-for-woocommerce-6602650bf952
A new application built on Request Network is being developed: Chango. Chango App aims to unchain money transfers with friends and family using the Ethereum blockchain, and is built on the Request protocol. You can learn more about the project by visiting their website.
We very much look forward to testing the final product!
Announcing two new hires
We have put a great effort in finding the right people to join the Request Network Foundation team and are happy to already introduce two new hires that will help accelerate Request from a brand marketing and partnerships perspective.
Strategic Partnerships — Christophe Fonteneau
Christophe will fill the role of Strategic Partnerships at Request Network, bringing his broad management and business development experience to the blockchain industry. As a self-starter with great leadership skills, Christophe thrives on pro-actively finding new business opportunities by partnering with both small, medium, and enterprise size strategic partners to give visibility and legitimacy to the Request Network ecosystem. Being based in Geneva, the bridge between international organizations and the Swiss Crypto Valley, Christophe is in a perfect spot to engage new partnerships with both NGOs and bigger institutions. Christophe will be partly remote and work with us from Singapore on a monthly basis.
While being responsible for the Strategic Partnerships of Request Network, Christophe will identify and acquire new adopters of the Request Network by building out strategic partnerships and educating them in a way so that they understand the broad possibilities the Request Network protocol and its apps can bring to their businesses. With his previous experience in the startup industry, Christophe will also be responsible for identifying and monitoring investments in startups that qualify for the Request Fund.
Christophe will work closely with the Branding department to ensure that the strategic partnerships are in alignment with “the Request DNA”.
Brand Management — Robbin Mazurel
Robbin will take on the position of Brand Manager at Request Network, taking his marketing experience in the entertainment industry at The Walt Disney Company and sports industry at Jobe Sports International to the blockchain industry. Robbin has been actively involved with Request as a moderator since the very beginning of the project and we are happy to now officially welcome him to the foundation team. Based in the Netherlands, Robbin will be working both remotely and from Singapore every month.
As the Brand Manager at Request Network, Robbin will make sure the core values of the team — we call it “the Request DNA” — is embodied in all marketing and communication efforts of the Request Network Foundation. This includes, but is not limited to, campaign management, social media, content production, and events. Along with mapping out a brand strategy, Robbin will start working on a Request Network Branding Guide which can be used by everyone to better understand and leverage the core values of the Request Network Foundation.
Ask Me Anything
The Request Foundation aims to be as transparent as possible. We will make sure to keep the community updated. We would like to thank the community for all the submitted questions and especially for organizing the Q&A session this week.
We decided to answer the questions in this blog post since the questions were asked via different channels and the project update usually has the best visibility (between 20,000 and 50,000 views per post thanks to people sharing it).
Feel free to ask your questions about the project and the way we’re leading it during those sessions, or simply keep supporting us the way you are already. We really appreciate it.
When will Kyber be implemented into REQ?
Kyber for Request burning fees will be released either this month or next month. The main net does not depend on Kyber and can collect/convert/burn fees asynchronously.
Kyber for real-time-cross-currency-payment is planned for Q4 2018, it might come earlier if we reorganize the roadmap as many are waiting for this feature.
As being mentioned in Project Update on January, 5th, “Request Great Wall is made of five important pillars”. They are: “mainnet release”, “management of other cryptocurrencies”, “Pay with Request project”, “external audits of the Request contracts”, and “potential and important partnerships with accounting, payment, and audit firms”. Could you give us some update on the progress of each “pillar”?
- Main net release: The code is done, and the audit is currently ongoing.
- Management of other cryptocurrencies: Code for ERC20 and Bitcoin are currently being implemented.
- Pay with Request: Tutorials/landing page/examples being implemented (see the update above)
- External audits: Currently ongoing (see the update above)
- Partnerships: Everything we could say here would go against “underpromise & overdeliver”. However it is going well and we will announce asap what we already achieved.
What do you mean exactly by “Pay with Request“ project?
The project is about paying on a website or in a shop (synchronous) which is different than paying an invoice (asynchronous). The payment flows are different.
I read that to incentivize business and government adoption, a fee cap may be implemented at $1. Is that true?
It was the case in the test net. We plan to have a max fee also on the main net, though the exact fee has not been decided yet.
The goal of the max fee is to facilitate specific use cases such as Crowdfunding (ICO), or OTC with escrow.
Why would the average person care about a decentralized payment system over something like coinbase commerce?
The average person (assuming this means ‘non-crypto enthusiast’) won’t care at this point in time, as the decentralization of the financial system is currently still in its early stages. The 3 current main advantages are in our opinion:
- Permissionless innovation attracts more apps and use cases
- Interoperability allows project to interact with other financial apps. Example: I use one app to create a request, my recipient pays it from another app and it appears in my accounting app. (see Betamax vs VHS to understand the importance)
- Disintermediation will drive the cost down (Merchants/Businesses will care).
How challenging do you anticipate adding management of fiat currencies to Request?
Medium-Hard to implement. Very challenging for adoption. In order to have fiat adopted on Request Network we have to prove first that it works perfectly with crypto-currencies and demonstrate the benefits. When the ecosystem will be in place, fiat adoption will come naturally.
How are transactions between currencies going to work? Will there have to be a willing seller of the opposite currency on the other side within the request network, or will request utilize banks to exchange currencies and incur a fee to exchange the currency above the request network fee?
We use decentralized exchanges for liquidity. These exchanges can either match buyers/sellers or use liquidity providers to exchange currencies. Note that you can also have off-chain exchanges and payments integrated into your wallet.
Will staking ever be possible with REQ? What is the criteria to go ahead with staking for REQ?
Staking REQ will make sense if we opt for a Plasma or similar scaling solution. At the moment, we have several ways to scale and we will give more info about those in Q2.
Will the “Pay with Request Network” button release together with the mainnet?
Probably at the same time or closely after.
How does REQ plan to comply with any anticipated or current regulatory framework?
The foundation has no control over how the protocol is used. We will help set up standards to allow anyone wanting to share information for accounting/taxes/audit purposes to do it within their country-specific regulatory framework.
Will the Pay with Request Button require a Metamask or similar connection to a mainnet? Or will it be able to handle the transaction through a credentialed login like Paypal?
At the beginning, you’ll need a Metamask or Ledger wallet. In the long run, several wallets will allow you to plug in via credentialed login. If not, we will create one.
Are you planning on working with other utility coins and do you have plans to incorporate any of the current currency coins (aside from bitcoin)?
We invite every community to create the oracle to support their currency within request. We will also work on the matter but we believe everything goes faster when more people are involved.
Under what type of hypothetical scenario would Request Network decide to develop their own blockchain and how would this be implemented?
We focus on the core features and values of Request Network and developing a new blockchain is out of the focus at the moment. The most important challenge when developing on another blockchain is scalability however we can manage it in different ways including side-chains or state channels which do not add a security management risk.
How do you view coins like Nano with zero fees? Is there room for extra fees through Request or do you view the audit part more valuable than just P2P payments?
We do not try to compete with currencies. We are building the protocol to share the invoices and financial flows information. You can create/record/settle an invoice on request while paying with Nano.
What is the plan to bring Request to the mainstream world ?
This question has several answers as there are multiple parts of the Request Network which will be treated differently from a marketing perspective towards the ‘mainstream audience’.
First we have the Request Network Foundation, which is the main brand if we talk about “Request Network”, and breathes the core values of the team. The main goal of the foundation is to educate both developers and builders (i.e. marketeers, designers, bizdevs, etc), accelerate development of the ecosystem through the Hub and Fund and spread the beliefs of a decentralized financial system. This part of Request is essential for adoption from a partnership, business and early adopter perspective, which will in the longer run lead towards ‘mainstream’ consumer adoption of apps built on top of the Request Network protocol.
Second, we have the in-house created apps on top of the Request Network protocol, which will each have their separate marketing campaign based on the specific use case (and therefore specific target audience, goals, etc). These campaigns are executed by the foundation team. Depending on the use case, these campaigns speak either towards potential businesses or direct-to-consumer.
Third, you will have all the apps developed on the Request Network protocol that are not created in-house but either come from the Request Hub. These are projects that are funded by the Request Fund or are independent projects that leverage the Request Network to build their own service. These apps will have their own marketing strategies executed by their own marketing departments. The Request Network foundation team can facilitate these marketing teams by supplying information, best practices and branding guides to support their marketing efforts.
Could you elaborate on your marketing strategy?
Partly answered above, the current focus of the branding department at Request Network is set on strengthening the foundation’s brand by creating educational content for developers and builders, expanding the Request Hub to increase product development on the Request Network. Once a tangible product is released, we will roll out separate marketing campaigns to increase awareness and accelerate app adoption.
When are you going to actively market REQ to potential partners and end users?
We are already actively engaging potential partners to see how we can strategically work together and are on track with our roadmap on that point. For targeting end users, a finished product needs to be live first. See our roadmap for specific timings.
What kind of campaigns are you planning to launch?
The campaigns we intend to launch in 2018 are focused on reaching several goals, including expanding the Request Network ecosystem by onboarding developers and builders to the Request Hub, making the total ecosystem more decentralized. Second, in-house produced apps by the app department will each have their separate campaign, aimed at either being adopted by business(es), consumers, or both. Third, an ongoing brand campaign will focus on the way our core values are perceived in the market, creating brand awareness of the Request Network Foundation and inspire others to contribute to a decentralized (financial) world.
How many people have signed up?
What types of projects have applied?
New projects, old projects, individuals, teams, ideas or ongoing projects about HR, VR, Crowdfunding, P2P payments… The question deserves it’s own blog post.
Have any projects received funding?
We are currently in active discussions with the teams.
Do you have any partnerships in the pipeline?
Yes, there are multiple partnerships in the pipeline with one certainly being released in Q1, as stated on our roadmap. We are still coordinating with this strategic partner on what the best time of announcement would be. The announcement will not necessarily being released in one of the bi-weekly project updates.
How do you plan on working with governments & city halls to publish budgets, engaging international organizations (IMF, UN, etc.)?
Governments and international organizations are eager to work with blockchain projects. They need help understanding, regulating and integrating blockchains and this is for us a great way in to discuss on how Request Network can help with taxes/transparency or regulations.
Which oracle/s are you considering? Would be decentralized oracles?
We are talking with Chainlink.
Do you have any advisors from the accounting or non-crypto world?
We talk with many people in this field but would not consider them as advisors.
Have you ever considered contacted the Belgium minister Alexander De Croo? (see the reddit thread about it)
Thanks, we will keep it in mind.
Do you have businesses who plan to use your product when main net launches?
We received a lot of interest from many companies.
Do you still keep in touch with ING for advice?
We are still in touch with ING but there is no ongoing collaboration.
Quite a few folks worry that the current REQ team does not have the resources to fulfill some of the goals listed in the road map, and some of those goals remain vague, e.g. working with governments & city halls to publish budgets, engaging international organizations (IMF, UN, etc.). Probably requires more than a few folks with full time commitment, and you’d assume the current team would have their hands full in Q2-Q4. What would your response be, and is there a plan to significantly expand the core team to focus on other specific areas, such as marketing, outreach, partnership building, etc?
Keep in mind that Request Network is an ecosystem and not a product, the Request Network Foundation is just a piece in the puzzle.
Decentralization of the ecosystem is very important and when the ecosystem will start to thrive the size of the Foundation won’t matter as much as you think. See the Ethereum Foundation as an example.
However the foundation is growing. We added 4 people to the team, of which we have announced two today in this bi weekly update. We will describe their respective missions later. To answer your question, one focuses on strategic partnerships, one on branding, one on developing on the protocol and one on developing apps. We will continue to properly assessed new candidates as we look for people who are both highly competent and share our values.
See this article from YC on how and when to hire: https://blog.samaltman.com/how-to-hire
Join the hub or contact firstname.lastname@example.org if you’d like to join us. We are still hiring software developers.
Have you ever given any thought to bringing a social media/community manager to the team to help with that side of things?
Yes, we are looking for the perfect fit.
It seems as though the REQ team has been hiring developers for some time now. Have any new developers been hired yet? Has the team been focusing more on recruiting locally or internationally? Has the team’s current location in Singapore created any difficulties in hiring (ie. applicants unwilling to move, challenges in arranging interview times, etc.)?
We hired 2 developers and are still open to talents who fit in our culture. Location has not been a problem as we are flexible about remote working. The 2 developers hired decided to join us in Singapore.
Do you plan on marketing REQ as a payment solution to public sector organisations? If so are you hiring?
This is not one of our primary target. Feel free to launch a project specifically based on onboarding the public sector and we will help as much as we can.
How would you describe your project shortly to somebody who is interested but isn’t quite decided yet, specifically what it tries to achieve and why is better than potential centralized and other decentralized competition?
It depends on who you are pitching to. Have a look at the question: “Why would the average person…”.
We would describe Request as a decentralized ledger to record financial flows and allow anyone to build interoperable applications.
Today, the world is made of hundreds of thousands of proprietary databases recording financial flows. We believe that the future will have a couple of decentralized database recording all the flows and sharing them between applications.
How did the project come into existence? Was it part of a larger project which grew legs or did someone on the team gather all of the other members.
It started in 2014, we had a lot of difficulties to transfer money internationally. It was very inefficient, slow, expensive and sometimes the money would never arrive. We started to understand how banks were controlling the entire financial flow and started to see all the benefits of bitcoin and blockchain. As a software developer (Etienne), I was also amazed by the idea of a programmable currency. So we started to work with Christophe on the construction of an international transfer network based on Bitcoin, Moneytis and gathered the team over 2015 and 2016. Moneytis gradually grew into a more global payment network that aggregates money transfer solutions and allows monthly transfers of several million dollars.
In the first quarter of 2017, we participated in the YCombinator in San Francisco. The many exchanges that we had with the biggest startups of tomorrow and the best investors in Silicon Valley confirmed the idea that the blockchain is the best means in which to build the foundation for international trade. Where today’s services are struggling to solve the problems of banks and administrations, the blockchain brings a solution to the source.
I saw that you have moved country every two years or so — is this a policy you will continue and if so where takes your fancy going forwards?
We will keep being an international organisation and meet teams from every continent. However our headquarter will be in Europe.
How is life in Singapore? How is working with the Kyber team?
There is something really ambitious about this city. We see blockchain projects in every buildings and I believe it will be one of the few blockchain capitals in the next 5 years. Kyber is one of the best team we’ve seen, sharp and welcoming.
What does your working day/week look like?
Robbin here! Let me give you an idea on how i experienced a working day at the Request office in Singapore, as I’ve spent a full week working with the team in Singapore already mid february. As I know you guys like visual content of Singapore I’ve tried to embed some of my travel photos in this answer to give you an idea of what it looks like too!
The team all sleep at their own apartments based in Singapore, but as I work remotely I wake up in a hotel. At 7 in the morning, it’s shorts and t-shirts weather already. I grab a coffee at a coffee store around the corner which looks Dutch, and after call an Uber to drive me to the office building.
Starting the day at the office in the morning, everybody needs to wake up for some proper coding so we grab a coffee (or two) from the shared working space one floor down. Here we talk about new ideas or possible new products enjoying a hot brew from the buildings ’Jura XJ9’ machine, enjoying the morning view of Singapore.
Fresh to start the day, everybody starts doing his own thing on his own laptop. As everybody in the team has a lot of autonomy in his or her role, it is up to everyone to judge which tasks has the highest priority. Productive brainstorms and meetings are spread across the week to stay highly effective, and the NERF guns come out occasionally to break the silence from time to time.
Around lunch time (which could be 3 PM if nobody speaks up) we try to get out of the office to lunch together, which isn’t always a possibility due to deadlines or appetite in something else. The office is close to “Clarke Quay”, which hosts all sorts of food — enough choices! We’ve opted for burgers a lot during my stay, both vegetarian and non-vegetarian.
Walking back to the office, we work in the office ‘till we’re done with the tasks we envisioned ourselves doing that day. As I was writing a strategic branding plan during the week, I’ve spent a lot of time of the week meeting with both Etienne and Chris to share ideas and talk about the future of Request Network from a marketing perspective. At the end of the day the team either splits up or (partly) eats diner together. After that private life starts — for me that meant rushing to the hotel, taking a shower and sleep to start the next day fresh :).
Do you have any forecasts about partnerships/adoption/burn rates?
We do not think it is good for the project to share forecasts in the name of the foundation. You are welcome to create, share and debate forecasts on social media though.
What do you all do for fun?
- Christophe L.: Sports 🏅. Football ⚽. Reading books 📚. Health ⚕. Indian food 🍛. Cooking 👨🍳.
- Etienne: Having a drink 🍸 while debating 💬 on how to change the world 🌎, taking pictures 📷, hiking, sailing ⛵, snowboarding 🏂 and travelling ✈️.
- Vincent: Handball (probably only the europeans will know), climbing, Hiking, Travelling ✈️, Having a drink 🍸 debating 💬 with Etienne how to change the world 🌎… and when I don’t do these things: I enjoy indie video games 🎮.
- Laura: Dance 💃 and mojitos 🍹
- Julien: Freeletics, playing soccer ⚽, playing piano 🎹, travelling 🛫, music 🎧, eat 🍔 & drink🍹with friends. Also, I keep playing Counter-Strike sometimes to remember the old days. I love to design illustrations 🖥️ as a hobby too (and finally add emojis everywhere).
- Elliott: Going out and having a drink 🍹 with friends, music 🎧, buying and playing records, going to gigs 🎤, wakeboarding 🏄, traveling 🛫
- Christophe F.: I’m driven by ⛰️ Mountain Lifestyle and outdoor sports = from Moutain hiking and Wakeboarding 🏄 during Summer ☀️ to Snowboarding 🏂 and Skiing ⛷️ during Winter ❄️ : My favorite Season . Now You get the point Why I live in Geneva 🇨🇭, surrounded by Lakes and Mountains .
- Robbin: I have three major hobbies, which are wakeboarding 🏄, photo /videographing 📷 and PC gaming 👾! As I have a 3 year old daughter 👧, all these three hobbies had to scaled down a little bit to pay time with my daughter and girlfriend 👨👩👧, but I’m slowly trying to persuade them into picking up any of the three ;)
What is the scope of involvement that YCombinator has with the Request Network team? Do they provide active consulting and marketing or technical assistance?
They are mentors, help with the network and are always open to collaboration. There should be outcomes in the near future from our collaboration.
Mentors are not consultants, they help you to figure out yourself the solutions to your challenges.
Any plans speak at crypto conferences soon to show Request to the world?
When the product is live and the ecosystem will be a little more mature we will speak at more conference. At the moment there is not enough outcomes to expect by preparing and travelling to a conference instead of focusing on realizing the project.
How did the listing on Koinex of India come about?
We have been in touch with Koinex since December. Koinex team really like what we aim to achieve and believe it will be useful in India.
Chocolatine ou pain au chocolat au petit déjeuner ?
Allow us to avoid this question for diplomatic reasons and avoid any war or controverse.
Can you make a YouTube channel to show investors what goes on in your offices, make videos of employee interviews, show important updates, and sneak peaks of the Request app?
This ties into the answer above about conference participation. In the current state of the product, we do not intent to personalize the Request Network Foundation, as it is intended to be as decentralized and open as possible. Having a dedicated video channel to give insight into the Request office and interview employees would only shine a light on a small fraction of what the total Request Network ecosystem actually is. Also, spending marketing efforts on this type of content is currently a lesser priority than the priorities mentioned at the marketing section of this AMA.
A lot of people in crypto love the technology because it has the possibility to make the world a more equitable place and reduce inequality. Is this something you think about, and if so how do you see REQ being used to lead this change?
Oh for sure! It might have already been a little bit clear from all answers above, but the team behind the Request Network Foundation is trying their hardest to empower permissionless innovation (so everyone is free to innovate and use Request as they see fit) from developers and builders by giving them all the tools necessary to facilitate this, including the Fund that can accelerate topnotch ideas. We believe by doing so, we will create an ecosystem that is both built by and demanded by the world, giving financial control and equality back to those that worked for it the hardest — the people.
What part of the Request Network is (each member of) the team the most excited for?
- Robbin: The Request Hub as it shows building a full ecosystem of dapps in a decentralized way is a reality, and the underlying tech (REQ) is what made it possible
- Elliott: providing a gateway for everybody to ease and “mainstreamize” crypto payments
- Julien: Online payments as it would impact my daily life. IoT transactions in the long run.
- Etienne: Interoperability between financial apps. Pay with any currency anywhere to anyone.
- Chris F.: Bridge the Worlds.
- Chris L.: Spiritually = empowering each other & participating in a more legit crypto ecosystem & co-build a smart harmonious ecosystem by decentralization. Technically = give power to projects which need support by launching a decentralized tool to quickly and easily get paid (online payments).
- Vincent: To be part of an amazing technological revolution. Being able to re-think how the world is, to create alternative solutions. Make crypto currencies part of the -some would say- real world.
- Laura: bring confidence and efficiency in the Blockchain world, provide a way to document crypto transactions in order to encourage individuals, consumers and companies to use this new technology.
If you want to read more, adm and other admins and members answered every other question in the dedicated reddit thread. Feel free to take a look!
If you have any other questions, ask our Reddit community that will happily answer you. We officially communicate every two weeks via project updates. The next one will be published on March 16th. Be sure not to miss it by subscribing to our blog!
Greetings from the team!