Tuesday, September 6, 2016

Microtransactions on the Blockchain


The web as a tool of international collaboration has brought us closer than ever before. Commerce happens by the minute across borders and continents in bits and pieces with ease that has been unprecedented so far. This age of extreme productivity and constant connectivity has opened doors to people of all classes, races and backgrounds unlike innovations earlier which were accessible initially only to the rich and elite few. . Tools like Email, IM and social media has helped bring the world closer and enabled the transfer of information. However, the transfer of money has been highly monopolized by a few elite bodies and banking bodies and governments have largely limited innovation and disruption in the space. For decades after the advent of internet, innovation in the financial space was almost non existent. In the early 2000’s start­ups like Paypal tried disrupting the digital payment space with their gateways and digital wallets but they were still heavily reliant on existing infrastructure offered by banks and were limited by the strict regulations placed upon them by the government.

When Satoshi Nakamoto released his white paper on Bitcoin in 2008, he set the precedence for a financial revolution. Released during the tmie of the recession, the paper was a silent outcry against the control imposed upon the financial system around the globe by the elite and those in power. Decentralization at its core, gave power to the people and empowered them to do business without interference of governing bodies.. The technology laid basis for empowering over 5 billion individuals to transfer and receive money without having to depend upon external agencies. From banking and remittance to accounting, Bitcoin has disrupted the financial space unlike anything that came before it. Probably, the last time we witnessed something , this powerful in nature was when we found the power of compound interest in growing an individual’s savings.

However, like with all innovation, Bitcoin too came with its share of problems. Unfair distribution, confirmation times that took forever and the ridiculously large blockchain size makes it unappealing to the average user. This is reflected by the fact that inspite of over 5 years of incredible PR coverage and marketing, there are only about 100,000 users globally for Bitcoin as of today. Added to this is the fact that the technology is not built for scale. This paper, proposes the user cases for an emerging wtechnology (Bitshares) via experiences created within its tipping tool (btstip.io). It has been written to show prospective stakeholders and shareholders, the importance of what we are building at freebieservers and how we see possibilities to solve problems in varying sectors with our products .

Why Bitshares
While Bitcoin itself solves a large number of problems with remittance in the digital space and empowering the average individual to be able to send and receive money without going through the hassles of dealing with a third party, it is not the final product that will lay basis for our financial futures. The blockchain will be a key component of how money is remitted and saved in the years to come, but it might not be on the Bitcoin blockchain due to its inability to scale with the requirements of the average consumer. We chose to go with Bitshares for its ability to tackle some of the key pressing issues with Bitcoin at the moment. Like, with every other product we have developed so far, scalability and consumer utility at markets of varying backgrounds were of pressing concern to us. Following are some of the reasons why we chose to go with Bitshares over Bitcoin

Confirmation times.
The internet has always been about ease of access and speed. If the technology does not serve the purpose of empowering the average user to conduct business in a fashion that’s fast enough, then whatever we build on top it will be borderline useless. The world does not have ten to thirty minutes to confirm transactions every time one of us sends or waits to receive cash. In the existing system, individuals are expected to wait upon confirmations before they can move ahead with the transactions. This does not make sense in real life user cases such as cafeterias or concerts where transactions are to be done in real time. Bitshares, in comparison offers confirmation in a matter of 10 seconds and comes with virtually no wait time. It combines the ease of using existing wallets like Paypal with the power of a verifiable blockchain. This comes heavily handy in the case of micro­transactions are individuals are not usually looking forward to wait for 30 minutes for a matter of few dollars because it is literally not worth their time. Bitshares empowers us to circumvent this issue easily with its quick transaction confirmation times.

Transaction Frequency
With the advent of micro­transactions in the ecosystem we are looking at handling transaction frequencies in volumes we have never witnessed before. Ideally, we have organizations, entities and individuals simultaneously passing tokens in troves to large groups of people. This means, ideally the system should be cut out to handle more than 10 transactions per second (Bitcoin). When we look at Bitshares, we see a system that allows us to conduct over 100,000 transactions per second without the nuances of having to establish a privately controlled database which will not be verifiable by the end user through means of a blockchain. The fact that the system is readily available to perform at scale gives us confidence in going ahead with the chain as it will be a system we can rely upon even if the project rampantly attains scale and garners users at unexpected rates like some of our other projects​.

Transaction costs
When orienting a platform for micro­transactions a key component of what ensures its success is the amount of money put into its transaction fees. One of the basic reasons why banks haven’t been able to enable start­ups to empower micro­transactions be it within apps or on websites is the heavy costs of transfers charged by them. Similarly, the remittance markets haven’t truly been able to deliver to hard working migrants because of the fact that they literally eat up 20­30 percent of the money sent from hard earned wages in foreign markets.

Our reasoning behind going with Bitshares for this project includes the low transaction costs involved with Bitshares. At 40 Bitshares per transaction, we are literally looking at costs as low as 1/4th of that of Bitcoin. This helps us empower the average user even in the remotest of regions from growing economies to send and receive cash without fear of losing money in the process. What needs to be noted is that, while someone from a stronger economy might not bother about losing a couple dollars on each transaction, people from a weaker economy will lose their minds over losing a few dollars on every in­bound transaction as that could literally be the size of their daily wage. By ensuring transaction costs are kept at an all time low we can ensure the product is built for people from all kinds of backgrounds and ensure we are built for a global user base.

Product Specifications:
At its core, btstip.io is built to be a marketing tool developed to ensure the average user knows what the benefits of using Bitshares are in comparison with existing systems of money transfer. This is a joined effort by Freebieservers, Beyond Bitcoin and CCEDK and is done as a part of our efforts to build the community around Bitshares. As a business entity, freebieservers is not looking to retain ownership or hold back on equity as we believe, a business like this needs to be owned by the community and this is a part of our efforts to ensure our marketing prowess is used to further the cause of low cost, quick remittance via the blockchain.

In the current iteration of the product, the tipbot empowers the average user to send, receive and hold tips through avenues like the forum, mumble, twitter, reddit and facebook. We are one of the first communities to have a tipping system integrated right into the forum. This goes a long way in ensuring we garner . new users for Bitshares as individuals now have the ability to send and receive digital tokens without having to sign up for a seperate wallet or go through the nuances of utilizing a bank transfer to attain bitshares.

Key features

Forum integration
The product has been built in partnership with the administrators of the forum to empower the existing community to send and receive funds on the forum without having to go to an external site. We offer the ability to link the tip bot account with their forum account and empower users to send funds either through a private message or right on the forum. In doing so, freebie has created history in the cryptosphere by developing a bot that works with forum software. In addition, the bot is able to send funds to batches of users within the forum, further eliminating the requirement of investment of time to send funds to batches of users. Our intent is to empower companies and individual entities to be able to do a distribution of tokens within threads and thereby ensure activity on the forum. In addition, enabling tipping on the forum helps reward individuals that contribute content of good quality and thereby substantially improves the quality of posts on the forum over a period of time.

Social Media Integration
A large part of activities on the internet occur via social media and we find it a requisite to have a strong integration of the product into social media to ensure the average user
gets a chance to use it without having to enter the forum or doing much research into crypto­currencies. The intent of integrating the product right into varying social media platforms is to ensure we grab the eyes of individuals where they least expect us. In the current iteration of the product we are linked with facebook, reddit, twitter and mumble to grab the eyes of unexpecting users. The idea is to empower organizations to be able to distribute their tokens along with news or discussions pertaining to them. This should further ensure the end user has an opportunity to try the product without requiring much knowledge of cryptocurrencies or having to go with the nuances of setting up a wallet or undergoing similar difficulty. We intend to have the product being directly linked with the social media accounts of users so that people can transfer funds with user names and not alpha­numeric characters like those of Bitcoin. This is in lien with the bitshares philosophy that user names should be in a fashion that is recognizable by the average end user and not solely a string of characters that makes it excessively difficult for humans to remember easily.

Link Generation for transfers
One of the core components of the product’s current iteration is the ability to generate unique links that allow users to retrieve funds once they have access to it. This should allow users to remit money by privately sharing URL’s with anyone that deserves tipping. The idea behind this is to empower anyone to send cash via platforms like E­mail and mumble without having to do much development on the external product. This plugs in perfectly with apps and websites that require awarding users for certain behaviour. For instance, instead of paying an advertiser for garnering the attention of a possible end consumer, brands could directly reward the user for completion of a survey or partaking in a beta test of the product. In addition, this feature could be used to plug in to mobile apps that enable users to “unlock? tokens on reaching certain levels and further imprints our philosophy of integrating gamification into the development of solid products that make a “dent? in the lives of people

Exchange integrations.
At a base level we intend to work directly with CCEDK and openledger for the
integration of a fiat gateway and to empower users to exchange their assets to bitshares and bitcoin while on the move. In doing so we are creating a user experience that requires much lower level of expertise in using and centralizing work that was earlier dispersed across multiple platforms while ensuring we retain the decentralization offered by platforms developed on the blockchain.
Ideally, we have CCEDK as our banking partner and will be able to empower users to convert their received tips into fiat and withdraw to their bank accounts, anywhere in the globe. Similarly, they should also be able to convert fiat currency into tippable tokens on the platform in a short period of time. In addition, we are also looking to work with the Nanocard offering by CCEDK to ensure people can access their funds at any ATM or spend online in real time. This should further enhance the usability of the forum by a large extend and ensure we garner users in troves to the platform. We intend to develop Btstip.io as one of the most “open�? exchanges when it comes to linking with financial services and exchanges from around the globe as the end goal is not solely profiteering but rather building a beautiful user experience for the end user.

User Issued Assets and Token delivery
The platform is currently fine tuned to be assisting owners of organizations or users issuing assets on the blockchain to freely distribute their tokens to interested parties at will without having to go through the nuances of working on setting up a wallet for bulk distribution. In the current iteration of the product, we are all set and ready to distribute tokens on the forums and social media platforms and we’ll begin with distribution of brownies during our beta tests. This is done in order to ensure a larger distribution of the tokens in question and to empower organizations to reach out to prospective investors and stake holders in pursuit of onboarding them. In addition, this also gives coins that use the same chain an opportunity to distribute themselves amongst a larger user base and thereby garner its first batch of early adopters.

Anticipated Features
Note : The following are features we may or may not be completely involved in developing. The existing fund raiser is for completion of the fore­mentioned features and server maintenance for
a year. Since we are letting go of ownership, we believe, while we are absolutely capable of pulling off the features mentioned below, we should have the community on boarded and a larger amount of resources before we pursue them. The following is a roadmap to consumer acquisition that could (possibly) be followed under the right financial circumstances.

Crowd funding
The internet has often displayed mankind’s ability to join hands and support massive endeavours to push ourselves to a better future. Platforms like kickstarter has empowered the average user to donate to causes that appeal to to him or her and thereby make capital readily available as and when required. However, limitations imposed by banks and government entities have limited individuals for far too long when it came to providing capital for projects that were deemed interesting by non conventional users. Had it not been for crowd­funding projects like Pebble would have never come to existence. Similarly, the power of crowd funding can be garnered to empower artists and developers that have never had a chance to display their work the masses earlier due to non availability of capital. We intend to develop the platform into an all in one crowd funding platform that enables users to gather funds for user cases that require capital and involvement of a large number of individuals around the world. It will be a combination of blockchain technology, kickstarter and a basic banking infrastructure (provided by CCEDK) to empower, anyone from anywhere in the world to readily be able to invest or gather funds for projects in an (almost) decentralized fashion. Our intention is to combine the ease of remittance on the blockchain with innovations from around the globe and empower entrepreneurs and innovators to create what they desire with capital input from across continents. Since the remittance itself would happen on the blockchain, it would be cheap, accounted for and verifiable by anyone having access to the internet. It should also substantially decrease the entry barriers involved in setting up a crowd funder and thereby empower people without access to a banking infrastructure, especially in third world economies to raise funds

In­game integrations
Currently, freebie as an entity is in ownership of a gaming service that caters to close to 200,000 “free? users on a monthly basis. We are in the process of expanding to a game item marketplace and an e­sports venture in the months to come. Our intention is to use the blockchain for majority of the transactions and league competitions we’ll be hosting in order to educate gamers about the ease of holding cash and remittance on the
blockchain. Keeping in lieu with our commitment of building communities and empowering community leaders to better engage with their members, we intend to further encourage users to share tokens that will then be usable on our list of websites for services ranging from free game servers to games, game items and bets. Combining this ecosystem with offerings like CCEDK’s nanocard should allow gamers to have access to a fiat system that allows them to cash out their game earnings without having to go through the nuances of using a bank

Mobile Remittance
One of the key markets blockchain technology is anticipated to disrupt is remittance. In the current iteration of the product we have already integrated with a mobile gateway to ensure people are empowered to send money through text messages. Ideally, we have a system where anyone is able to send money across the world with a text message. By creating gateways that permit people to exchange their tokens to fiat currency around the world, we can empower individuals to garner the benefits of low cost remittance over the blockchain and go around the nuances of having to depend on a third party.

Profiles on the platform are to be a means of creating a portfolio of work by individuals who depend on public funding for their work. Profiles can be maintained by individuals, organizations or bands looking to display their work and sell or raise funds as and when required. The profile will be a single place for individuals to track funds raised and remain accountable for the work they do with it. Keeping in line with our philosophy of transparency, investors will be able to track the movement of funds and profile holders will be able to “tag? the transfer of money with what they spent it on.

Verified Non profit listings
As a means to ensure non­profit’s doing wonderful work have ready capital availability when needed, we will partner with organizations around the globe and attempt to ensure capital availability for teams that are doing a wonderful job around the world. Our goal is to permit non profit’s to hold accounts linked with a verified bank account (held by them) and exchange and send funds via CCEDK. Individuals will then be able to send cash to organisations trying to solve problems they seem important to themselves. The idea is to provide linkages to organizations via blockchain and empower users to fund the organizations that interest them without much involvement from third parties. The only major role we’ll have as a platform will be in terms of educating the organizations about the importance of garnering funds on the blockchain and helping them set up fiat gateways for their exchanges. In addition, in the event of a disaster or crisis that affects a large number of individuals, we could have listings for causes and thereby garner and send funds to the last mile, thereby ensuring the globe can truly join hands and pool resources and send it to places where its most needed at.

As a gaming enterprise, Freebie has always had its eyes set on expanding to Mobile. In addition to empowering remittance through phones, we intend to create systems that allow game and app developers to charge for their services via the blockchain and also issue tokens for games through bitshares. This should permit them to leverage the low cost of utilizing the blockchain with the intuitive user experiences of having a real time payment system that works with ease. Ideally, we could release API’s that can be readily plugged into the system, then have a fiat gateway integration so that app developers can issue tokens and redeem payments with utmost ease. This could be of immense use in growing economies where the required banking infrastructure for such systems are not yet in existence. This will empower an entire generation of entrepreneurs to garner an income from their apps even if the existing banking infrastructure does not permit them to do so.
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