The road(map) we’ve traveled: A brief account of Monetha’s journey so far
Here we are.
Two years after its release, our white paper roadmap has been officially completed. During this time, we’ve managed to tick all the boxes, and even go a step—or five—beyond to explore the capabilities of blockchain technology and reputational identity. This wouldn’t have been possible without you. Thank you for your unwavering support.
This article provides a brief account of the journey we’ve had so far, what’s come out of it, and how our plans fared in practice. It focuses on the roadmap’s phases—the five building blocks toward more trustworthy and efficient online commerce, with a hint of what the post-white paper Monetha will look like.
Phase 1: E-commerce and first version of the trust rating
Est.: early 2018
Develop a fully-functional payment gateway with a user interface for e-commerce merchants and enable them to accept ETH currency while leveraging first version of trust level mechanism.
The first phase kick-started our vision. Very much barebones, it included only what was necessary to get the gateway and reputation system working. Smart contracts were developed and deployed, and the merchant back office made its appearance. While in theory it wasn’t the first version of the gateway—we had a working prototype in mid 2017,—it was the first implementation that was available for broader use.
Phase 1 was also important because it laid the foundation for things to come. Many architectural and design decisions made during this time went to impact everything we’ve done since.
Phase 2: A full e-commerce solution to accept Ethereum-based tokens and exchange them to fiat currency
Est.: mid 2018
Accept not only Ether currency, but also Ethereum-based tokens and enable merchants to exchange Ethereum currencies to fiat currency and transfer funds to their preferred account. Moreover, smart contract wallets, real-time analytics, and dashboards for merchants will be introduced during this stage.
Phase 2 can be described as “the refinements”, as it mainly built onto the groundwork laid down in the first phase. It introduced an important addition of ERC20 tokens and even more pertinent fiat currency exchange. As cryptocurrencies fight for mainstream adoption, price fluctuation remains a crucial point for any merchant.
The roadmap said nothing about accepting fiat payments directly, but we decided to go above and beyond the initial plans and introduced the functionality later in the year. This was done as a measure to expand the reach of our reputation system—at that point crypto adoption had slowed down due to public sentiment—and to increase the value of our product. As a result, Monetha’s payment gateway became a complete payment solution.
Additional token support and conversion, as well as fiat payments, were made possible by our partnerships and integrations with leading companies in the space. ERC20 support was provided by Binance, Kraken gave us crypto to fiat exchange, and Bluesnap became our partner in processing fiat transactions.
The back office also received analytics tools to provide merchants with convenient tracking of their performance.
Phase 3: A Monetha Wallet for clients + Loyalty program + Significant improvements of the decentralized trust and reputation algorithm
Est.: late 2018
Make a significant step towards a fully working decentralized trust and reputation system: improvement of decentralized trust and reputation algorithm together with Monetha smart contract based mobile wallet for making/solving claims, rating merchants, writing reviews, etc. Review purchase history, see clients’ and merchants’ trust rating, etc. Finally, the loyalty program will be enabled during this stage of development.
The third phase foregrounds the Monetha’s Reputational Identity application. Despite being so far in the roadmap, it was actually released quite a bit earlier: the closed beta version came out just before April. Initially the app worked as a tool to safely conclude in-person deals and, in doing so, build a portable online reputational identity. Additional cryptocurrency wallet functionality and money transfers came sometime later.
We updated the Monetha app at a breakneck pace. For a long time it would receive a new version every week, usually on a Wednesday, bringing new features and refining existing ones. It was truly a product of the agile development method: as at June 2019, one year after the app’s official release, it has already been updated 32 times. The main goal of such an approach was to adapt to the market and user feedback.
This foray into peer-to-peer deals might have made the app and gateway look like completely separate products. In reality, the two are largely compatible and complement one another. For instance, the reputation built by making deals transfers to e-commerce, and merchants are able to view their orders or open disputes straight from the app.
Phase 4: Full functionality of the decentralized trust and reputation system
Est.: early 2019
Develop a globalized trust and reputation system to enable both parties to initiate/resolve claims so that global trust rate would reflect “the true trust of both parties”. Reviews will be enabled, which will have a significant weight on trust rate for merchants and clients. Trust system algorithm will be improved to facilitate claims and client reviews. Mobile wallet version 2, mobile in-app SDK and other improvements to merchant’s interface will be developed during this phase.
It was during the fourth phase that the Monetha Platform really started taking shape. We conceptualized our technology into modular, yet interconnected layers responsible for payments, claims, safe storage and exchange of reputation data.
The Monetha Platform opened up our technology to developers. Stored in a GitHub repository, it was open source from the get-go, so that anyone could participate in making suggestions or improvements. In addition, great effort was put into creating easy to use SDKs and example apps to make the framework accessible and developer-friendly.
The platform also allowed us to start experimenting with uses for decentralized reputational identity and verifiable data exchange. At the very end of 2018, we released ICO Analyzer—a tool for verifying the performance of a cryptocurrency project during its ICO: how much funds were raised, whether the tokens were distributed, how many, and so on. Several months later, the Digital Identity functionality came out, offering people ownership and granular control of their data. The digital identity aspect became a core part of the Monetha app, with Monetha as the first decentralized data source.
The app received a number of other improvements: a visual overhaul and a fully functioning mobile wallet for storing, sending, and receiving cryptocurrency.
Phase 5: Retail
Est.: mid-to-late 2019
Develop and introduce the decentralized payment, trust and reputation system for retail merchants. The ability to accept mobile payments in Ethereum-based currencies and exchange them to preferred fiat currency. Top-tier retail merchant interface to see the purchase history, analytics, etc.
The fifth phase brought Monetha into the physical world. To make retail payments possible, we had to adjust our existing solution for online e-shops according to the different needs of retail merchants: add new settings, limited access cashier accounts, item creation and payment forms, dashboards & reporting for data analysis.
Making right architecture decisions earlier allowed us to give the retail payment functionality great flexibility: merchants can use it on almost any smart device, ranging from phones to tablets, to computers, or even smart fridges.
Post–white paper Monetha
This is where we stand today.
With retail payments released, we’re able to offer a full-fledged commerce suite to any merchant that wants to accept cryptocurrency—or even fiat—payments and in the process build a reliable and transferable digital reputation.
We’ve also developed a decentralized platform for blockchain development. It is an overarching technology with many exciting applications, and we believe we’ve only begun scratching the surface of its capabilities.
All this, along with the technical expertise we’ve gained along the way, puts Monetha in a stronger position than ever to pursue its goals and establish the company as a strong contender in the blockchain space.
Exciting times await us, and we hope we’ll be able to experience them together with you.