Request Network: A Secure Decentralized Payment Platform

Voyager
Voyager

Blockchain technology has the potential to disrupt a number of industries, but few as pervasive the as the payment industry. Mobile peer-to-peer (P2P) payment total transaction values are projected to reach nearly $250M in 2021. Current P2P platforms suffer from high fees for credit cards, lack identity protection, and require users to include invasive private information. This ultimately leads to a expensive and potentially unsafe user experience.

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Additionally, 90 percent of all business invoices worldwide are still processed manually, and the amount of repetitive and time-consuming tasks in invoice handling is high. Given that there is no standardized system for invoicing, companies are often forced to spend millions of dollars on third-party services.

One blockchain project aiming to lead the way in disrupting the payment market is Request Network, a decentralized network that allows anyone to request a payment for which the recipient can pay in a secure way and all information is stored in a decentralized authentic ledger. Request Network’s code is open source, fully auditable, and allows developers to build their own financial applications. Through a growing number of partnerships with financial institutions like PwC and an investment fund of $30M designed to fund developers building on their network, Request Network aims to become the premier platform for both peer-to-peer payments and business invoicing.

Interested in Request Network? Here’s a quick rundown of the project:

Platform & Development

Request Network’s system can be broken down into three major layers: the core layer, the extension layer, and the applications layer.

The core layer manages the consensus over the ledger and the states transitions. It consists of the network’s fundamental smart contracts built on the Ethereum blockchain, designed for the creation of entities, and the requests and subsequent tracking of payments. This layer is immutable, open and free.

The extension layer sits on top of the core layer and functions as a gateway to more expansive features. Through the extension layer, a payment application is able to calculate taxes, manage payment terms, and establish escrows or advances.¬†This layer is chargeable, in that “each extension will take a fee that will be partially burned and partially transferred to the extension developers, with the extensions accrued on the same invoice,” according to the Request Network white paper.

The application layer sits on top of both the core and extension layers and allows for external systems to connect to the Request network to create payment requests and access information, for such uses as accounting, audits, taxation, and more. Request Network aims to have this layer function as a sort of sandbox, where developers can build interesting and unique applications.

Network usage cost of the Request Network is between 0.1% ‚Äď 0.005% with a maximum of $1.50 per transaction, which is a fraction of banks and money transfer services that charge anywhere from 1.5% to 6% per transaction. What’s more, Request Network opens up merchant platforms to seamlessly integrate cryptocurrency payments through one-click payment options, similar to PayPal.

The Request Network tokens (REQ), which are ERC20 tokens, are necessary to participate in the network, create advanced Requests and reward various parties who will help build the request ecosystem. According to the Request Network’s white paper, when using the network, the participants will need to pay a network fee in REQ, which will be burned. This burning works to reduce the total supply of REQ tokens in circulation, and in turn will drive up the value of the token itself. The REQ tokens are also intended¬†for network governance.

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An interesting facet of the Request Network is their creation of an investment fund targeting project ideas built on their platform. Currently, they are paying out $20k to $100k per project with higher amounts given to the more successful projects. To get a sense of the scope of the ecosystem they aim to build, here is a list of the project ideas they are looking to fund:

  • Mobile apps to create, detect, and pay requests
  • Invoicing apps (like Paypal)
  • Point of Sale (like Square)
  • P2P payment apps (Venmo-like software)
  • Crowdfunding apps (Patreon or Kickstarter-like)
  • Online payment e-commerce plugins (WooCommerce, Shopify, Magento, etc.)
  • Payroll apps (Gusto-like)
  • Supply chain traceability
  • Accounting apps (Quickbooks-like)
  • Smart financial auditing algorithms
  • IoT platform integration (IBM Watson, AWS IoT, Azure IoT, etc.)
  • Factoring apps
  • Expenses (Expensify-like)
  • Virtual Reality payment integrations
  • Off-chain reputation systems
  • Crypto-currencies VAT/Tax payments
  • Insurtech

Clearly, Request Network strives to become the top payment platform across industries. Particularly interesting is their interest in next-generation platforms, like Virtual Reality and cryptocurrency tax payment systems.

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The Request Network team has developed a detailed roadmap for 2018, with some clever descriptor words describing the progression of their platform as ancient marvels of architecture. Here are some of the major milestone for each quarter of 2018:

Q1 2018 (Request Great Wall):
  • Launching the “Pay with Request” project: an online button which will offer an alternative to the traditional “Pay with Paypal” and “Pay with credit card” methods.
  • The first iteration of Request working with Ethereum on MainNet.
Q2 2018 (Request Stonehenge):
  • Proof of concept of Privacy using ZkSnarks
  • Organize discussion groups around Payment Requests with institutions such as Worldbank, IMF, ECB and the UN.
Q3 2018 (Request Colosseum):
  • Deploy the Escrow extension to allow the release of funds upon delivery or upon satisfaction of other conditions.
  • Deploy the Tax extension to automatically pay taxes in real time.
  • Deploy the Down Payment extension to specify an amount to pay and a specific date on which to process it.
  • Deploy the Late Fees extension to specify penalties if a Business is not paid on time.
  • Add a Reputation Offchain layer.
Q4 2018 (Request Petra):
  • Deploy a governance system (Vote/Token Chat)
  • Launching the “Internet of Things framework” project
  • Deploy inter-currency settlement through REQ token to facilitate international payments
  • Launching the “Continuous Payment” extension, which will act as a Down payment with an infinity of micropayments

As you can see, a key focus of the Request Network team is the early establishment of partnerships with major financial institutions and organizations. Towards that goal, Request Network announced in March 2018 the formation of an exploratory partnership with multinational professional services network PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC).

Team

The Request Network team features a wide range of expertise, from blockchain and finance to data analytics and marketing. They are led by Christophe Lassuyt, Co-founder & CFO. Notably, Request Network was a member of the winter 2017 Y Combinator class, a highly selective startup accelerator.

Token Financials

Request Network (REQ) currently has a market cap of ~$94 million with a circulating supply of 662,961,459 REQ and a total supply of 999,999,954 REQ.

CoinMarketCap

Final Take

Request Network is tackling the payment market with a very expansive approach, as they look to develop an entire ecosystem built around their network. If properly implemented, Request Network could become one of the premier systems for both P2P payments and business invoicing.

More: Request Network launches financial applications technology on Ethereum blockchain

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Disclaimer: The author(s) of this article may have a position in one or more of the securities mentioned above. This article is for informational purposes only and should not be taken as investment advice. Always conduct your own due diligence before making investments.

 
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