As you know from previous blog posts Syscoin is currently operational with FOUR unique services that no other coin offers- all built on top of a well-vetted bitcoin-codebase [0.8] (aliases, marketplace, decentralized storage, and digital certificate management). The major oversight we made in launching Syscoin was that these services/features were not readily accessible to average users via “interfaces” and everyone was forced to use console, and service traction quickly dissipated. On top of that we tried to conquer too much too fast (4 services at once!) and in that left some design gaps / rooms for improvement within the core codebase.
We took time to revise the functionality and experience around aliases, they received some increased use after the release but nothing near their true potential. Rather than just continue to plow forward rolling out interfaces for the three other existing features which need interfaces badly we decided to take a step back and revise our process. We decided to focus on one feature at a time, with the long term in mind.
What does that mean? It means right now we’re focusing on the decentralized marketplace service offered by Syscoin- that and that alone. The value proposition with this feature is immense- not only as its own self-serving marketplace vehicle but also as cheap, easy to use redundancy for countless existing shopping cart systems for which we’ll be developing plugins.
In this focused marketplace effort we’re making sure to consider the future while still making the current client the best product possible given the competing priorities and plans we’re up against. We know the current marketplace experience in-wallet needs to be massively improved and we’re making those improvements in the v2wallet. Trying to incorporate these improvements into the 0.1.5.2 QT wallet would not only yield a worse user experience but it would also take at least 3x the time investment. So while in the short term, it may not seem like the sexiest buying experience- we’re definitely planning and building that ideal experience for the long term.
Blockmarket is currently in beta phase 1. We will be releasing beta 2 later this week, and we have a rough schedule for at least 2 more beta releases in rapid succession following beta 2 dependent upon user feedback. For a rough idea of what’s coming, and when:
Blockmarket Beta2 (Release Date: Feb 27th, 2015)
- Displays items for sale from a single wallet – not all items for sale on the entire Syscoin network
- Enables buyers to browse a merchant’s decentralized marketplace using a user-friendly web interface for browsing and purchasing (not shopping cart based… yet)
- Allows users to browse merchant offering by category
- Allows merchants to select “Featured Items” which are displayed on their Blockmarket’s homepage in a more prominent manner
- Provides merchants with full “beta” Blockmarket admin interface giving them the ability to add, edit, and renew their items all through Blockmarket.
- Blockmarket is open source, and built using open source tools such as bootstrap, AngularJS, and NodeJS.
- Enables users to purchase items through their local QT wallet
Blockmarket Beta3 (Mid Q1 2015)
- Full URI support on Mac and Windows
- Item payment details fully encrypted end-to-end for user privacy
- Improvements to design of how items expire/are removed from the marketplace
- Email automatically sent to merchants when items are sold with shipping info of buyer
Blockmarket Beta4 (Late Q1 2015)
- Order management system added to admin UI, replacing email notifications (or making them optional)
- [possibly] Integrated Pegging of offers to USD/BTC/Altcoin value
Possible Blockmarket v0.1 release milestone – Late/End of Q1 2015
Syscoin “V2 Wallet”
Excellent progress has been made on this initiative and most services are working in a read-only state within the new wallet interface. Once operations such as create and edit are working and tested around the various services this will be released for beta testing similar to Blockmarket.
Revised Release Strategy
As you may have noticed from our roadmap we’ve removed hard dates for releases. We’ve done this because what Syscoin is doing is literally paving new ground when it comes to crypto and when you’re doing what we’re doing- you hit unexpected obstacles along the way; or you discover better ways of doing things that will make the platform better/more stable/more performant in the long term and even though that specific item might not be on the roadmap; it may be critical, may take time, and is the right thing to do- we’ll do it.
Because of this we’re going to switch anything we don’t have a “for-sure, hard-date” on to a quarterly type of release schedule similar to most other software companies. To be clear we won’t ONLY be releasing at the end of each quarter, we’ll simply be scheduling the work we know we have planned for a specific quarter, and as that time gets closer and the date more assured we’ll post an official release date to the roadmap.
Unfortunately the third party developer we’d hired (and paid) to create our Android wallet has up and run off. This leaves us without funds and without an Android wallet which we’d been waiting quite some time for based on the (now clearly empty) promises of this developer. The good news is that we do have an iOS wallet and it simply needs a few API functions to be ready to submit to the app store. Because our current third party block explorer doesn’t properly report balances if SYS services have been used we’ll be developing a simple API to retrieve this information, after which the iOS app can be released- hopefully within the next week or two depending on our developer availability.
Undoubtedly people are wondering what is going on with the legal battle regarding the 750btc stolen from the Syscoin Escrow fund, Mintpal / Moolah / Ryan Kennedy / Alex Green / etc. We are permitted to disclose that both Ryan Kennedy and Chelsea Hopkins were arrested by UK authorities. We’re working with UK authorities, UK courts, Interpol and the legal bodies to resolve this properly and make sure any wrong doing is met with the full force of UK Justice. We’re also ensuring any accomplices who were complicit in this crime are being held accountable. There are no free rides.
We’re speaking with our legal team regarding what more specifically we can release as there is much to say but until we’ve reviewed with our team, I can only say that the litigation continues. We’ve produced evidence verified by a cryptographic expert; the story the blockchain tells is not one that aligns with the explanation provided (bug stole the bitcoin) for the loss of the coins by Moolah.
Marketing and Communication
We realize that our marketing and communication has been lacking. We’re dedicated to improving that and hope that the detail in this post is a step in the right direction. We’ll be posting more frequent general status updates via twitter, rather than posting only when a release is on the horizon.
Due to personal medical reason, Jonathan Heald (jonn4y) from the team will be taking a step back in his role managing web duties etc. While he will still be on the team and helping as he has time he needs to focus on his health at the moment and we certainly respect and agree with that decision. We’ll be finding someone to help assist while he’s taking the time he needs. We wish Jon the best of health and a speedy recovery and hope the community will support his decision during this difficult period. Once he’s back in good health, he’ll be rejoining us in a more active role once more.
Exciting Blockmarket Beta 2 update coming this Friday! Stay tuned!