Most of the hyped blockchain related projects have big names in their team or advisory board. Request network is an outsider on this aspect: a small and young team for a seemingly nice and promising project. Let’s see what they got under the hood and if you should FLIP or HODL in October.
What is Request Network
Request is meant to be a decentralized system that enables quick and secure online payments, invoicing and accounting. You can think of it as a fully featured online payment solution that bridges multiple blockchains to allow traditional online commerce to be easily made with cryptocurrencies.
So it is not limited to a bunch of tools for e-commerce. To ensure that the transactions are not only technically but also commercially secure for all the parties (i.e. to exclude scams from the network), they propose what they call smart audits. The smart audit feature is using the benefits of a transparent and immutable blockchain to store commercial data. This data can be used by anyone wanting to act as an audit node. This way, the whole Request network can keep its commercial integrity by decentralizing commercial trust. In the yellow paper, the financial auditing is summarized to those three objectives:
- Ensure adequate procedures are in place to achieve optimized results (internal management)
- Verify that the company is in compliance with the competent authorities
- Protect commercial players from the risk of fraudulent practices
In a few words, Request can be compared to a decentralized and transparent Paypal, or even credit card network, that would propose efficient B2C and B2B commercial exchange protocols.
How it works
So, the concept of Request is already very appealing regarding what it will allow on the accounting part. Companies or projects can decide what they want to share on the network and it’s already fair at this stage because they can hardly lie about it (blockchain motherfuckers). You can add to this that they’ll have to face competing audit nodes as well as the Request proprietary reputation system, which creates a safe ecosystem for buyers and sellers without having to rely on a centralized entity that imposes its own rules while getting all the fees.
Now that we are on it, let’s talk about the money. Decentralized incentivization is the other very interesting part of Request. First, you need to know that the Request network will be composed of 3 layers:
- The Core layer is basically the blockchain and the main Request smart contracts.
- The Extensions layer is the open layer on which developers will be able to implant payment modules like billing or invoicing systems.
- The Applications layer is the off-chain layer. This layer serves to bridge existing or new systems with the Request network.
As it is a fully decentralized system, every type of participant will be able to get a remuneration based on the provided service. For example, if you develop an extension, you will be remunerated by the fees that are linked to the use of the extension (more on this below). You could specialize in auditing and set your prices relatively to how serious is your activity. The reputation system is also something that will affect a company’s finances. The whitepaper says that “members of the network with the best reputation will be able to receive cost reductions or access to custom extensions”.
The most interesting part of this is probably how the fees work on the core and extensions levels. To incentivize holders, fees are divided like this: “Each time a charge is applied, it is allocated between the REQ token holders (70%) and the extension developer (30%)”. This system is further described in the whitepaper like this: “Since the security of the network is paramount, the 30% returned to the creator of the extension will be shared with the bug hunters at a rate of 5% to 10% per security flaw. The reason why the REQ token holders are the most interested in this model is that the extensions developers won’t have to market their extensions, but the community will have an interest in making the extensions known in this ecosystem”.
This is a great idea that not only allows interest rates for token holders, as if you had a savings account in a traditional bank, but also invites holders to actually do something to justify those interests. The only downside of that seemingly brilliant idea is that they don’t explain how they are linking developers work to token holders, or, put in other words, how the network will discern “active” and “lazy” holders (I mean, I hope it will in some way).
Another thing about how Request is intended to work, and which looks very promising, is that it is not advertised as a system built from scratch to revolutionize the whole financial world alone. Request is a “brick” that will be built to function with other already functional “bricks”. There are three announced partnerships. Civic system will be used as a secure and efficient identity plugin to enhance “Reputation, Accounting, Audit and Trust from the payer”. Aragon will be used for its governance protocol and 0x will be the cross-currency settlement brick. Unfortunately, the whitepaper doesn’t tell us yet what connection Request has with each respective team. Is that brick system just an idea or are they cooperating in some way? Impossible to say.
Start October 13
End October 17
Total supply 1 000 000 000 REQ tokens
Conversion rate 1 ETH = 5 000 REQ
Soft cap / Hard cap 100 000 ETH D
istribution 50% investors — 20% early investors — 15% development — 15% team.
Use of funds 55% developement — 15% research — 15% marketing — 10% operations — 5% legal.
To summarize, they are seeking for 30 million $USD for 50 % of the tokens, which is ok for that kind of project. In a recent blog post, they said that the REQ tokens are going to be released 1 week after the beginning of the crowdsale, which is a very good news for flippers.
I would say that the team composition is ok while not being a big asset for a project of this size. They seem to be skilled individuals and it is good to know that they already worked together, because they actually all come from another project called Moneytis. Since Moneytis is a working product in the financial domain, we can say that they all have a relevant experience. The downside of this is that the team seriously lacks diversity (same schools, same professional experience) and that they may suffer from being very new to the game (Moneytis started in 2014 and Request in 2017).
They also maybe lack blockchain related expertise but we are pretty confident about their ability to get the things right on this matter when they will be funded. Finally, only one advisor (a good one, though) is a bit uncanny. More advisors from financial, accounting or banking industry would have been better, especially with this young team profile.
Let’s distinct two roadmaps here. There is the project roadmap and the ICO roadmap. The project roadmap is pretty clear and it is cool to see that the first working product is expected to be released as soon as Q4 2017. Note that some code is already available on Github (see Useful links section below). The development should take place and even end during 2018, since the last step is said to be achieved during Q4 2018. This sounds awesome but seems to be also slightly too optimistic.
Now the ICO roadmap. As we are writing those lines, the whitelist period initially planned from 13rd to 30th of September has been shortened due to the massive amount of registrations they received. However, you can still subscribe to the waiting list here. You still have a chance because many participants may not pass the next step. During the October 2–7 period, it will be the registration phase. The registration phase is a KYC (Know Your Customer) process so 1 whitelist address = 1 Ethereum address = 1 real person. We can read the following in one of their blog posts: “Details we will need: passport, selfie with passport, one ethereum wallet address, full name, birth date, and nationality”.
After that, the final step will be the ICO itself during the October 13–17 period. It will last 4 days and the amount you can send will be limited so each participant has the same opportunity. The formula is “individual cap = total public cap / number of approved registrants”.
Interview with the Co-Founder & CFO
FlipHodl — Can you develop on your distribution model regarding fees? In the whitepaper you say “Each time a charge is applied, it is allocated between the REQ token holders (70%) and the extension developer (30%)”. You later say that you do this because “the community will have an interest in making the extensions known in this ecosystem”. Will promoting holders win the same than “lazy” holders? How do you know who promoted what?
Christophe Lassuyt — There is no “promoter” status but the community will have an interest in the fact that the network is used.
You all come from Moneytis, which is a quite recent project (started in 2014). You all started to work on the Request project this year (2017). How will you address the challenges posed by a market largely controlled by financial and state monopolies as a young team?
Mark Z, Strip founders and Vitalik Buterin are young too. We don’t think the age is a good criteria.
Can you explain more in detail your relation with 0x and Aragon? Are your teams in contact with each other and, if yes, what is the nature of your relationship/partnership as of today?
We are in touch with 0x, the0cean and radar relay for our inter-currencies feature. The interest of the blockchain world is that you can work with a project without needing an agreement.
So the idea of Request is good and the whole thing is nicely presented. The concepts are well described in the various documents, which shows that we face a competent team not only in the financial domain but also in the marketing and community management ones. We express some reservations on the technical and business aspects though. It is indeed a very complex project and we think that they are a bit optimistic if they think that they’ll be able to provide a final working product by the end of 2018 with no real connection or advisory board in the financial domain.
Partnerships with 0x, Aragon and Civic should be a strength, but it’s hard to determine their level of implication on that matter. We didn’t really saw any endorsement from those teams, which is a bit worrisome. Actually, the word stuffing is a bit obvious in the whitepaper, there are big names and concepts everywhere but no key partnership announced and no key player supporting the project yet.
We think it is a very good FLIPPING opportunity, so we’ll give an 8 because the hype is very good, the parameters of the ICO are decent, there is not a lot of big or similar ICOs in October and the Request team seems to manage their project quite seriously. We are a little more reserved on the HODL side and we’ll limit our mark to 6 because, despite the nice ideas they bring to us today, we think the team has yet to prove that they can handle such a challenge.