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My response to recent concerns

Hey all,
I’ve spent some time during my flight back home to discuss in detail the experience in Singapore, what talked about, things the mods and team are working on, improvements that can be made and some other things too. This post has also had input from the other moderators too.
I don’t think any of the mods were massively pleased with the outcome of how we portrayed our time in Singapore during the last update and it certainly didn’t put across all the fantastic things we learnt or discussed while we were there. There was a quick turnaround with the update and with some of us were travelling and heading to other countries for various reasons it wasn’t ideal – anyway let’s begin. P.s. I apologise in advance for the lengthy post.

Education

As most of you are aware there is a rebranding process going on for Request currently, it was really exciting to hear Robbins experience and to see the scope of the project. Request are working with an industry leading full-service digital agency to improve the understandability of Request through educational content.
The current Request website is mainly catered towards ICO investors and hasn’t really changed much since the token sale – when visiting the site, it’s extremely difficult to understand what Request is, how it works and who can it benefit from the platform. One of the goals of the project is to revamp the website to cater for developers, businesses, users, community members, early adopters and investors.
The concept of the blockchain, Request, and its products is daunting for the non-technical audience. While the team know it’s important to cater for developers and other industry professionals having an easy to understand project with easy to consume information is an important step towards adoption.
The Request Hub will also play a critical part in the growth of the Request Network. The new website will have a focus on developers and businesses and pushing them towards the hub and how they can use the funding to help create their projects. Most of you will probably be aware that the dApps + the core protocol are different projects entirely. Internally, this is also the case.
You can see an visual image of the structure here: https://imgur.com/pXF1gEK
The core platform team is responsible for protocol development, things like scaling solutions, data encryption, extensions, features like cross-currency etc. Whereas the dApp teams focus on creating applications built on the Request platform, crowdfunding, invoicing, payments etc. Although this isn’t new information it’s important for sections later in the write-up.

FIAT

This is an excerpt from the 8th June AMA special project update (https://blog.request.network/request-network-project-update-june-8th-2018-ama-special-request-network-now-available-for-5da85547d933) which covers the teams thoughts on FIAT.
Fiat integration is vital for the success of the Request Network for medium to long-term. What we focus on today is making sure the protocol has enough features and a solid developer experience to attract developers to build reliable financial tools on top of the Request Network. The foundation prioritizes its own development goals based on direct feedback coming from the developer community. We receive requests for features that are needed by developers, as their product depends on it.
Today, the main feedback coming from the developer community is to make it easier to use the library, implementation of encryption, cross currency support and adding more cryptocurrencies. Apart from these requests, scalability of the protocol itself and developing extensions such as escrow are also prioritized as it is crucial for adoption of the protocol by developers. The above are our current priorities in development, while we in parallel are researching several fiat integration options mentioned in an update last December.
All of the above bullet points are things the team are actively researching and looking into, we discussed how the Singapore government is looking at tokenizing the Singaporean Dollar and how many more governments in the future will look at taking this route, however this is a long way off.
A decentralised Oracle with Chainlink would be ideal but it’s not ready yet.
Integrations by partnerships with banks / partnering with credit card companies or processors (like Stripe) is incredibly difficult (especially being decentralised) but it’s something the team will actively work on / towards.
Oracle and bank APIs – we discussed several projects here like StellarX, OmiseGo and more – each have their own pros and cons but nothing in the space is really ready for FIAT, some options are close and the team are keeping a close eye on several projects in this space.
There are tonnes of regulatory issues surrounding FIAT and the blockchain, governments are dubious about the blockchain technology and banks are having a tough time getting involved too – even big companies like Binance, Coinbase and Circle still can’t obtain a banking license after many years of trying. The regulatory situation will change, crypto is still a young industry and it will take time for governments to catch up.
Instead of spending time trying to achieve FIAT which wasn’t viable, their time has been spent on far more productive things such as scaling solutions, data encryption, working on various dApps, working with partners, hiring and much more. The better the platform the more impact having FIAT will have when it comes. Yes, not being able to stick to the roadmap isn’t ideal, but the team have realised there are limitations and made the best of the situation.
Would it have been good if the team have been more transparent about FIAT and the issues they faced? Absolutely. Detailed articles about subjects like this do take time, and raise further questions which also take up the team’s time. We want to find a good balance going forward of keeping the team on track and keeping the community informed. We will also work with the team to improve communication for things like this (if they ever arise in the future) and how the mods can alleviate some of the time-pressure if possible.
The team do realise the importance of FIAT, it hasn’t been forgotten and will be something the team will keep on the roadmap – in the future when FIAT is possible we will have a much more mature platform and many use cases live and ready to integrate FIAT.

Marketing

One of the most discussed things over the past months is marketing, this is a very important topic and it’s something that can make or break a project.
As per the ‘Rebranding + Restructure’ section, marketing will be broken down into two different groups, dApps and the core Request platform. The marketing for each of these aspects is very different.
So, why aren’t the team marketing right now? Quite simply – the platform just isn’t ready yet, there isn’t enough value to risk marketing at this stage. This is the same with some of the dApps, they are close, but they still aren’t quite there yet.
In my case if we take a look at the WooCommerce + Shopify plugins, if I go ahead and run a PPC (pay-per-click) campaign before BTC is integrated, then users may leave the site and never return. In this instance I will have lost money as well as a potential customer. This is just one example but it’s the same for other dApps too.
Right now, The team are making active steps towards marking when the platform and dApps are, as well as hiring dedicated marketers.
I do want to say that the team truly understand the importance of marketing, they will market the project and the dApps– it’s critical they do so.
To break it down there are entirely separate game-plans to consider when marketing, the core platform and dApps.
Core Platform (Foundation)
Marketing for the core platform will focus on; educating the community about the platform, educating developers / businesses / potential partners about the Request protocol and how it can be used by / integrated into business workflows.
The rebrand will have a big focus on education and driving adoption of the Request Hub + Fund. In the meantime, we are discussing ways to improve the Request Hub and how we can get more developers involved at this stage, I have covered this in more detail in the ‘Request Hub’ section.
dApps
Each dApp will in essence be its own entity (business) and will act independently of the foundation. Each dApp will have a dedicated team, individual aims and goals, potentially a custom roadmap, a proprietary marketing strategy and much more (everything you expect from a typical business).
Marketing for individual dApps will vary greatly depending on what the dApp is, some will be focussed on B2B, some B2C, some dApps might be a combination of both.

Hiring + strategies to find new devs

The foundation growing at a quick rate and one of the things we discussed in Singapore was hiring and strategies to find new devs.
There are several strategies that the Request team can adopt alongside job advertisements to help entice developers, not only to the foundation but also to the Request Hub. We discussed potentially using freelancers and then hiring if they are a good fit, more engagement from the team with people that contribute to the Request Hub and how the team can help (financially via the fund + time set aside for devs), hackathons with prize incentives, speaking at developer conferences (very important). Some ways of engaging with developers do require the platform / ecosystem to be more mature but we are actively working on making these things a reality. Also, improving the community sentiment will also drive hype which in turn hopefully attracts more developers.

Request Hub + Request Fund

In my opinion one of the best selling points of Request is the Request Hub + Fund. Although there is activity in the hub and some projects have receiving funding it is nowhere near as widely used as it could be. As I’ve discussed in the marketing section, the renewed website will have a big focus on pushing the Hub + Fund.
Aside from the marketing aspect I have also been speaking to teams in the Hub for a while about how the flow for funding can be improved, we have discussed the barrier to entry for the fund (MVP limitations), the turnaround time for responding to funding applications (needs to be quicker), having the team engage more with the Request Hub devs as well as actively helping them with their business needs.
In the future I will also look at creating a suite of tutorials, and potentially workshops, for the Request Hub to help get developers up and running.

Bi-weekly updates

One of the hot topics since returning from Singapore has been the bi-weekly updates, we have been discussing with the team how they can be improved without taking up too much time for the team. There are several things which are actively being discussed:
This will be an ongoing discussion with the foundation, it will take time to refine the bi-weeklys and we also need to find a happy medium that suits both the foundation and the community too.

The Community Managers and our role

The goal as community managers is to firstly ensure that the social channels e.g. Reddit, Discord, Slack and Telegram are a good place for investors, the team and developers – we want to ensure it’s good for open discussions (both positive and negative) and a place where we can educate people about Request too.
As community managers we want to try and stay as impartial as possible, we will help to educate when we can, we’ll shut down any false information and we’ll help alleviate any concerns where possible. We don’t want to take sides, we are simply there to be a bridge between the team and the community.
We want the Request community to be an open place where anyone can discuss what they want, we want to see discussions about good things and bad – we don’t want Request to be a place where negativity is censored. We (the mods) are just normal guys, we love technology, we love the blockchain, we are just investors like all of you, and we want the best for the Request Network.
We are continually improving how we and the team deliver information, but things can still be improved massively – we are already actioning some things to improve communication between the community and the team and we have plenty of other things lined up too.

Roadmap

During the rebrand the website will rework the dynamic roadmap to something potentially similar to Ark (https://ark.io/roadmap), with percentages (or something similar) and a breakdown of each goal on the roadmap. This will help with transparency and also allow the community to track progress more easily.
I’ll cover my perspective on the dynamic roadmap looking from a developers point of view, as a lot of people are still unsure as to why the roadmap has changed and in turn it raises lots of questions.
From a developers point of view.
As a dev it can be incredibly difficult to hit deadlines that are more than a few weeks / over a month or two away, the further away the date the harder it is to estimate + hit deadlines. This is the case for a normal business, but as crypto is insanely fast paced and such a new industry this is even more prevalent.
In the normal development world you typically work in weekly / bi-weekly sprints to produce features in small iterations which contributes to the overall project, at the end of each sprint you re-evaluate the previous weeks and re-adjust timings / resources if necessary – estimating deadlines months in advance is almost impossible.
The biggest issue about committing to a firm date is that crypto adoption is moving at a fast rate, non-blockchain businesses are getting involved with cryptocurrencies and a great platform like Request is an attractive option for them. On-boarding these businesses takes money, expertise and most importantly team resources. The team is growing but for now the time spent with these partners needs to come from somewhere, and unfortunately features can sometimes get affected.
Let's take BTC support - if the team was fully focused on BTC I would have no doubt there would have been no delay. But PwC came along, which took up development resources and, unfortunately, impacted the deadline. Long-term, having PwC onboard will have a more positive effect on the overall Request Network ecosystem. Partnerships won't wait around, Bitcoin support will.
With these partnerships there will be a push for features they want to see. PwC for example, would be focused on the accounting so they would likely be pushing for accountancy related dApps (http://accounting.request.network/) - when the roadmap was first created the team could never predict such a huge entity like PwC would come onboard, so changing focus is sometimes required from a project. Once again, long-term this will benefit Request massively.
From a development perspective changing the roadmap is a fantastic move in my opinion, the team never know what is around the corner and being able to quickly adapt to new opportunities, on-boarding companies are critical for the long-term viability of the network. As the team grow there will be more development resource available to focus on the core platform and partners which will allow the team to better predict features in the future. Once again, I’d like to reiterate things do need improving here, the team can be more transparent, and the roadmap can, and will, be improved.

Summary

The Singapore trip was fantastic, and it was an incredible experience working closely with the team and it was great to see their passion and talent while working away through the week, it’s an excellent work environment too.
Every bit of feedback is incredibly important, please don’t hesitate to get in touch at any time to me or any of the mods, either by Reddit, Discord, Slack or Telegram.
There is a lot of work ahead for the mods and the team, but rest assured we have every single one of your concerns in our scope; the community and the perception you guys have is so important to the team and the project. There are a lot of great things going on that we will continue to improve and lots of things that need changing – it won’t be something that happens overnight but something that will be continuously improving for the entirety of the project – we are dedicated to working hard and improving Request and the community every day.
At the end of all this, actions speak louder than words, and we will take everything into consideration to help ensure Request thrives, we are already in the process of actively making changes.
Apologies for the lengthy post but hopefully this clears some bits up and helps to put across some of the great things we saw in Singapore, if you have any other questions feel free to leave a comment or get in touch privately. Cheers.
submitted by AdmREQ to RequestNetwork [link] [comments]

WeTrust AMA #6 - November 17 (recap)

Hey everyone,
here's the transcript of the latest AMA. We've had George and Tom from WeTrust answering questions that were collected using sli.do and some were asked live.
Below you can find links to the previous AMA's:
AMA #5 - November 3
AMA #4 - October 20
AMA #3 - October 6
AMA #2 - September 22
AMA #1 - September 1
George.WeTrust hey everybody!
TomD.WeTrust happy Friday, everyone!
CowMooFlage Hey hey
sdl Welcome back!
George.WeTrust hey hey, great to see everyone!
TomD.WeTrust shall we get this started? I think we’re going to be taking questions from the sli.do board first as usual
George.WeTrust let's get started with this week's
TomD.WeTrust some great questions coming in this week :)
George.WeTrust Tom do you want to take the first one?
TomD.WeTrust sure thing
Q Wut is bum bum fun?
TomD.WeTrust So…I’m not sure how to answer this; I have ideas, though (this community is awesome…I nearly cried laughing when I saw this had reached the top :D). Always keeping us on our toes ;-)
Ajcarmon Lol Hi guys
Q Do we expect to see token on larger exchanges like Binance, Polo etc? Currently token listed only on few exchanges (Bittrex -99% volume)
George.WeTrust We’re currently focused on building the Trusted Lending Circles product and ramping up visibility regarding the product. We have been recently covered by media in China, for example: http://industry.caijing.com.cn/20171113/4359189.shtml and https://www.toutiao.com/i6488048074718446094/ and expect more to come after we release the product. We do not have any more information to share regarding exchanges at this moment, but we absolutely understand the importance of improving accessibility to the TRST token.
Q When will your 2018/2019 roadmap be finalised and published?
TomD.WeTrust We’re currently focused on the release of Trusted Lending Circles and are planning the next six month sprint around improvements to the main flow as well as other integrations. At a high level, we’ve mapped out general product direction and identified holes we need to fill for the next year-plus. More concretely, we’re in the initial stages of user testing our 2nd standalone dApp at present. That said, we want to be able to respond to user sentiment and be agile when it comes to Trusted Lending Circles. I’d expect to be able to share more concrete information about our 2018 roadmap soon, though 2019 might be a stretch. We want to remain adaptable.
Q What's your opinion about other crypto lending platforms like Salt and ETHLend and how does WeTrust stand out from the competitors?
George.WeTrust First, we're not experts in these two products. Based on what we've seen, AFAIK SALT uses crypto as collateral which can be used to secure loans. This may appeal to users who have crypto but don’t want to sell. ETHLend appears to be p2p lending which may encounter similar challenges that BTCJam faced -- the difficulty lies in risk assessment and lack of carrot/stick approach to incentivize the desired behavior. Trusted Lending Circles are between individuals who know each other in real life, so there is social capital at stake. In addition, our product attempts to use this data to bootstrap additional insights, and create credit identities / reputations -- which can then later enable interactions between strangers, as users now have a reputation they want to retain. We may build out this credit score/ identity ourselves, or work with other partners if we see that as more appropriate and efficient.
Q When will you start a marketing campaign? We have a very small market cap in comparison with other tokens. All analysts blame you for the lack of promotion!
TomD.WeTrust We’ve kicked off our marketing plan for Trusted Lending Circles. Expect to see more coming out for us very shortly. Again, we want to remain cautious here; we’re committed to delivering a solid, useful dApp that can grow in users over time rather than make a big splash in the market and seeing retention rates fall immediately following. You’ll be seeing more of the team at events as well.
Q Can you provide us any more information about the WeTrust software development kit (SDK)? Could trustcoins be paid by developers to use the SDK?
George.WeTrust This idea is still in its early stages. We think we could charge developers for special features and/or increasing the ratelimiteresources quota. Unfortunately we don’t have much more to share on this topic yet. The platform services itself will be informed by the demand we see from the initial TLC product, and the customizations that are requested from users/ developers.
Q Are you worried about the lack of visibility of your project compared to others in the crypto world? What are your short-term plans to improve it?
TomD.WeTrust We don’t have strong concerns. Again, in terms of marketing or visibility, we’re trying to form a userbase of people who find utility in participating in a virtual/blockchain ROSCA; increasing visibilty about the project by itself is less targeted than say, specific outreach into receptive groups, etc. You’ll be seeing more public information in the coming weeks. On that note...I do get a sense of restlessness from the community about promotion plans :). Please know that we’re grinding behind the scenes to make this launch as smooth and as impactful as possible.
Q What happened with Ron Merom? What's going on with him? We have asked this question several times before and we don't get a straight answer.
George.WeTrust Regarding Ron, due to differing professional points of view between some of the WeTrust founders, we are working on reassigning the responsibilities of some of them. Unfortunately, we can't share more at this moment, as we are working thru that process.
However as far as engineering leadership, I want to emphasize that Hoang has been an ongoing tour de force, continuing with excellent leadership and driving our software development efforts forward. We're not standing still on recruiting though. We have just signed up one software engineer based in Vietnam (originally from France) who just started last Monday, and a software engineer based in SF Bay Area who is very familiar with Trusted Lending Circles and a veteran in the tech industry -- he be joining on November 27! We’ll be creating blog posts talking about each of their bios/ backgrounds soon, as I think they are both exceptionally strong additions to our team!
mk I asked the question about Rom last time but not this one — by “reassign” does it mean he is still working full-time for WeTrust?
George.WeTrust I can't say more on this topic at this point, we hope to have an update soon for you, @mk.
[Merged comments into one post] Agentx What is vitalik's use case in the success of trst
The team cares less about investors than real case users. So mean . We understand you guys have funding. But you cannot get real actual users without proper marketing and solid followers as you progress. This is crypto for chrissake.
Ajcarmon I’m agree, the more ppl holding trst, more use of TLC,plus its free mkt
Agentx Holders will be the first users. You don't expect normies who have never even heard much about Bitcoin to loop into rosca. Get a solid marketing team if you have enough funding. Devs can never and will never be marketers Nobody wants an overnight pump as an investor. But gradual growth in code and cash is healthy.
George.WeTrust @Agentx your point is well taken regarding marketing. we are working on that right now, and acknowledge that's an area we must improve on.
Damo.WeTrust I’m not so sure about holders being the first users, though, beyond some initial toying around with the fruits of their support. Far more likely that people already familiar with ROSCAs will be the first solid and growing user community. The overlap between those familiar with ROSCA and crypto enthusiasts certainly exists, but I’d be curious about how much overlap exists between TRST holders and the ROSCA-familiar. This is why we’re considering how best to do targeted outreach to market the TLC dApp rather than mostly broadcast marketing.
Correct me if I’m wrong @george.wetrust @tomd
Agentx Solid @damo but then at the end of the day you can never and will never predict/ choose/discriminate any of your users. We're decentralized remember Thanks @george.wetrust
TomD.WeTrust I’d say this is fairly accurate - again, we believe the maturity and infrastructure in UX for mass adaptability isn’t quite there in the crypto space right now…but it’s rapidly converging. we need to find groups that promote and seed TLC organically as well as through our own targeted campaigns.
Agentx That will have to cost new money for the team. Crypto had a solid community to kick start your campaign. You're focussing too far. To the best of my knowledge tlc are perfect on ground but my point is crypto is a good starting point to test its success that's why it needs to get promoted as we progress
TomD.WeTrust thanks for the feedback, @Agentx - really.
Q What do you plan to do after the release of TLC? Show us a roadmap
TomD.WeTrust In addition to what’s already been said - we have two product tracks; 1) TLC iteration and 2) 2nd dApp development. In terms of what’s going into the 2nd dApp, we’ve started market research and want to optimize for maximum reach and utility. TLC is a great product; it may require a familiarity with ROSCAs to use, and we want to lower barriers for entry even further with our next financial dApp.
Q I heard you would like to make it so new users can exchange fiat for Crypto very easily, on your platform? Could another project like OMG fulfill that purpose?
TomD.WeTrust Fiat <-> Crypto on/offramping is one of the key challenges we’re trying to overcome for mass adoption. I’ve said this before, but it bears repeating - we’re in a nascent industry with a large amount of attention being paid to it as a result of its potential to disrupt the current state of financial systems (as well as others!). We’re chatting with many different companies at present and trying to establish mutually beneficial relationships that may lead to partnerships in the future; fiat/crypto exchange is definitely one of those areas we’re pursuing.
Agentx I wouldn't want to sound rude but i now come to understand why I have to shift some of my trst bags to district0x. I love voting rights there. Any product that lacks a solid community in crypto will scare away long term investors. There's no need for AMA' s if at the end of it all no community suggestions will be taken into consideration. You can as well opt to update FAQ every week.
George.WeTrust Thank you for your feedback @Agentx , rest assured that your constructive feedback is very valuable and we're taking that into account. Hope to have you re-join our community in the future!
Tibonacci :wave:
Agentx Lol. Sarcastic
Q There is a lot of attention around Trusted Lending Circles which I love, can you also give a little insight into other apps that may be built on the platform?
TomD.WeTrust You guys sure are interested in what’s next :). The little insight I can give is that we’re still focusing on saving and lending crypto as a utility for the unbanked and underbanked. We’ve got some prototype dApp ideas that we’re currently market-testing for viability and reach.
Q When will you recruit a team of marketers? Promotion is sack
TomD.WeTrust I’m sensing a theme here with the questions :). Thanks for the honest feedback. In addition to what’s been said before by @george.wetrust and myself, we’re not ruling out the idea of adding a dedicated growth/user acquisition person to the team currently. We’re also exploring alternative marketing methods (from traditional online ones) and agencies, from firms big to small. The key is striking the right balance and tone.
Q You have received quite small investment for such global project. Aren't you afraid to face the problem of lack of cash Will you attract additional investment?
George.WeTrust We try our best and must continue to be careful stewards of the crowdsale funds, and plan to operate in such a way that we have sufficient runway towards financial sustainability. Regarding future investments, we need to demonstrate traction in our product in order to attract partners/ investors who want to continue supporting development. That is what we're working towards.
Q Have you been approached to partner by other ventures?
George.WeTrust There are many opportunities to partner with projects in the crypto space and outside as well. However, first we need to demonstrate a working product. Second, we want to work with serious projects that are focused on building working products (or already have), and most importantly, have the will to persevere and overcome both technical and adoption challenges that we all face in the blockchain space. We are open to these partnerships, and will build them when there is a good opportunity.
Q I don’t mind delays. It is completely normal and can happen. But can you be honest and give us information about beta and product release?
TomD.WeTrust We want to be upfront about our progress with you guys. We’ve received our SmartContract audit back from our auditing firm, and we’ve made some of (their few) recommendations. We’ve been testing the app team-wide at a regular schedule, and the engineering team has been killing it in terms of resolving bugs...at the rate of dozens a day. The UX is looking more polished with each build...we’re hoping to push it into Beta soon after Thanksgiving, with a rollout after that (plus iterative versions with new features being flight in in Q1). Slippage has been minimal so far.
Q Websites should be constantly improved or planning improvement. What is the next step you have planned for improving the website?
TomD.WeTrust We revamped tlc.wetrust.io about a month ago...and post-release the whole team’s really been heads down focused on the actual TLC UX and code. I expect you’ll see some changes soon as we make the product more available generally, including FAQs and/or a Help Center & self-help forum. We’re still architecting these components currently.
Q What is 'Coinpool' and when it will be released?
George.WeTrust Great question. The concept of Coinpool was conceived as a way to utilize the smart contract logic that we already created, and solve a problem that token crowdsale participants sometimes face when trying to participate in new crowdsales. In a nutshell, it is a re-packaged and slightly altered form of the TLC concept, but geared for crypto folks. The Coinpool allows private groups of users that already exist, to contribute/ pool cryptos more easily, which are then sent to contribution address and makes it easier for participants to manage this financial collaboration. Note that this project is currently on hold, as we focus on the TLC.
Q Is there any referral commissions in TLC product?
George.WeTrust In the future, we may design a referral system where users can get some token amount of TRST when they first join, similar to how Paypal did this when they first started.
TomD.WeTrust Alright, guys - it’s been a pleasure. Thanks again for the great questions and feedback - I’ve got to get back to helping make all the things we talked about happen on time :). Really - it’s awesome to be part of such an engaged group of folks
CowMooFlage Thanks @tomd and @george.wetrust I'll get to collecting all the answers v soon. AMA should be on Reddit soon (TM).
George.WeTrust That is all folks for now. Tom and I will try to pop in here occasionally in between AMAs. Thank you for the feedback again, and we'll continue to work hard on building and now developing the marketing so people can see what we've built. thank you for your support!
jodaw123 Great AMA guys. Tom killing it!!!!
Ajcarmon thanks a lot guys
jodaw123 Great work
sdl This was awesome :blush:
ruttocks Thanks both. Will read through the ama later
submitted by CowPlaysDirty to WeTrustPlatform [link] [comments]

Community management response to recent concerns.

Hey all,
I’ve spent some time during my flight back home to discuss in detail the experience in Singapore, what talked about, things the mods and team are working on, improvements that can be made and some other things too.
I don’t think any of the mods were massively pleased with the outcome of how we portrayed our time in Singapore during the last update and it certainly didn’t put across all the fantastic things we learnt or discussed while we were there. There was a quick turnaround with the update and with some of us were travelling and heading to other countries for various reasons it wasn’t ideal – anyway let’s begin. P.s. I apologise in advance for the lengthy post.

Rebrand + the Request structure

As most of you are aware there is a rebrand going on for Request currently, it was really exciting to hear Robbins experience and to see the scope of the rebrand. Request are working with an industry leading full-service digital agency to improve Request not only as a brand but as an organisation too.
The current Request website is mainly catered towards ICO investors and hasn’t really changed much since the token sale – when visiting the site, it’s extremely difficult to understand what Request is, how it works and who can it benefit from the platform. One of the goals of the rebrand is to completely revamp the website to cater for developers, businesses, users, community members, early adopters and investors.
The concept of the blockchain, Request, and its products is daunting for the non-technical audience. While the team know it’s important to cater for developers and other industry professionals having an easy to understand project with easy to consume information is an important step towards adoption.
The Request Hub will also play a critical part in the growth of the Request Network, the new rebrand + website will have a focus on developers and businesses and pushing them towards the hub and how they can use the funding to help create their projects. Alongside the rebrand the foundation will undergo a restructure (which ties into the new rebrand). Most of you will probably be aware that the dApps + the core protocol are different projects entirely, although the dApps leverage the Request platform they are treated and handled differently internally at Request.
You can see an visual image of the structure here: https://imgur.com/pXF1gEK
The core platform team are responsible for protocol development, things like scaling solutions, data encryption, extensions, features like cross-currency etc. Whereas the dApp team focus on creating applications built on the Request platform, crowdfunding, invoicing, payments etc. Although this isn’t new information it’s important for sections later in the write-up.

FIAT

This is an excerpt from the 8th June AMA special project update (https://blog.request.network/request-network-project-update-june-8th-2018-ama-special-request-network-now-available-for-5da85547d933) which covers the teams thoughts on FIAT.
Fiat integration is vital for the success of the Request Network for medium to long-term. What we focus on today is making sure the protocol has enough features and a solid developer experience to attract developers to build reliable financial tools on top of the Request Network. The foundation prioritizes its own development goals based on direct feedback coming from the developer community. We receive requests for features that are needed by developers, as their product depends on it.
Today, the main feedback coming from the developer community is to make it easier to use the library, implementation of encryption, cross currency support and adding more cryptocurrencies. Apart from these requests, scalability of the protocol itself and developing extensions such as escrow are also prioritized as it is crucial for adoption of the protocol by developers. The above are our current priorities in development, while we in parallel are researching several fiat integration options mentioned in an update last December.
All of the above bullet points are things the team are actively researching and looking into, we discussed how the Singapore government is looking at tokenizing the Singaporean Dollar and how many more governments in the future will look at taking this route, however this is a long way off.
A decentralised Oracle with Chainlink would be ideal but it’s not ready yet – hopefully we will see Chainlink launch on the main-net soon.
Integrations by partnerships with banks / partnering with credit card companies or processors (like Stripe) is incredibly difficult (especially being decentralised) but it’s something the team will actively work on / towards.
Oracle and bank APIs – we discussed several projects here like StellarX, OmiseGo and more – each have their own pros and cons but nothing in the space is really ready for FIAT, some options are close and the team are keeping a close eye on several projects in this space.
There are tonnes of regulatory issues surrounding FIAT and the blockchain, governments are dubious about the blockchain technology and banks are having a tough time getting involved too – even big companies like Binance, Coinbase and Circle still can’t obtain a banking license after many years of trying. The regulatory situation will change, crypto is still a young industry and it will take time for governments to catch up.
Instead of spending time trying to achieve FIAT which wasn’t viable, their time has been spent on far more productive things such as scaling solutions, data encryption, working on various dApps, working with partners, hiring and much more. The better the platform the more impact having FIAT will have when it comes. Yes, not being able to stick to the roadmap isn’t ideal, but the team have realised there are limitations and made the best of the situation.
Would it have been good if the team have been more transparent about FIAT and the issues they faced? Absolutely. Detailed articles about subjects like this do take time, and raise further questions which also take up the team’s time. We want to find a good balance going forward of keeping the team on track and keeping the community informed. We will also work with the team to improve communication for things like this (if they ever arise in the future) and how the mods can alleviate some of the time-pressure if possible.
The team do realise the importance of FIAT, it hasn’t been forgotten and will be something the team will keep on the roadmap – in the future when FIAT is possible we will have a much more mature platform and many use cases live and ready to integrate FIAT.

Marketing

One of the most discussed things over the past months is marketing, this is a very important topic and it’s something that can make or break a project.
As per the ‘Rebranding + Restructure’ section, marketing will be broken down into two different groups, dApps and the core Request platform. The marketing for each of these aspects is very different.
So, why aren’t the team marketing right now? Quite simply – the platform just isn’t ready yet, there isn’t enough value to risk marketing at this stage. This is the same with some of the dApps, they are close, but they still aren’t quite there yet.
In my case if we take a look at the WooCommerce + Shopify plugins, if I go ahead and run a PPC (pay-per-click) campaign before BTC is integrated, then users may leave the site and never return. In this instance I will have lost money as well as a potential customer. This is just one example but it’s the same for other dApps too.
Right now, The team are making active steps towards marking when the platform and dApps are, as well as hiring dedicated marketers.
I do want to say that the team truly understand the importance of marketing, they will market the project and the dApps– it’s critical they do so.
To break it down there are entirely separate game-plans to consider when marketing, the core platform and dApps.
Core Platform (Foundation)
Marketing for the core platform will focus on; educating the community about the platform, educating developers / businesses / potential partners about the Request protocol and how it can be used by / integrated into business workflows. They will also be marketing the Request Hub and the Request Fund to the devs and businesses.
The rebrand will have a big focus on education and driving adoption of the Request Hub + Fund. In the meantime, we are discussing ways to improve the Request Hub and how we can get more developers involved at this stage, I have covered this in more detail in the ‘Request Hub’ section.
dApps
Each dApp will in essence be its own entity (business) and will act independently of the foundation. Each dApp will have a dedicated team, individual aims and goals, potentially a custom roadmap, a propriety marketing strategy and much more (everything you expect from a typical business).
Marketing for individual dApps will vary greatly depending on what the dApp is, some will be focussed on B2B, some B2C, some dApps might be a combination of both.

Hiring + strategies to find new devs

The foundation growing at a quick rate and one of the things we discussed in Singapore was hiring and strategies to find new devs.
There are several strategies that the Request team can adopt alongside job advertisements to help entice developers, not only to the foundation but also to the Request Hub. We discussed potentially using freelancers and then hiring if they are a good fit, more engagement from the team with people that contribute to the Request Hub and how the team can help (financially via the fund + time set aside for devs), hackathons with prize incentives, speaking at developer conferences (very important). Some ways of engaging with developers do require the platform / ecosystem to be more mature but we are actively working on making these things a reality. Also, improving the community sentiment will also drive hype which in turn hopefully attracts more developers.

Request Hub + Request Fund

In my opinion one of the best selling points of Request is the Request Hub + Fund. Although there is activity in the hub and some projects have receiving funding it is nowhere near as widely used as it could be. As I’ve discussed in the marketing section, the rebrand will have a big focus on pushing the Hub + Fund.
Aside from the marketing aspect I have also been speaking to teams in the Hub for a while about how the flow for funding can be improved, we have discussed the barrier to entry for the fund (MVP limitations), the turnaround time for responding to funding applications (needs to be quicker), having the team engage more with the Request Hub devs as well as actively helping them with their business needs.
In the future I will also look at creating a suite of tutorials, and potentially workshops, for the Request Hub to help get developers up and running.

Bi-weekly updates

One of the hot topics since returning from Singapore has been the bi-weekly updates, we have been discussing with the team how they can be improved without taking up too much time for the team. There are several things which are actively being discussed:
This will be an ongoing discussion with the foundation, it will take time to refine the bi-weeklys and we also need to find a happy medium that suits both the foundation and the community too.

The Community Managers and our role

The goal as community managers is to firstly ensure that the social channels e.g. Reddit, Discord, Slack and Telegram are a good place for investors, the team and developers – we want to ensure it’s good for open discussions (both positive and negative) and a place where we can educate people about Request too.
As community managers we want to try and stay as impartial as possible, we will help to educate when we can, we’ll shut down any false information and we’ll help alleviate any concerns where possible. We don’t want to take sides, we are simply there to be a bridge between the team and the community.
We want the Request community to be an open place where anyone can discuss what they want, we want to see discussions about good things and bad – we don’t want Request to be a place where negativity is censored. We (the mods) are just normal guys, we love technology, we love the blockchain, we are just investors like all of you, and we want the best for the Request Network.
We are continually improving how we and the team deliver information, but things can still be improved massively – we are already actioning some things to improve communication between the community and the team and we have plenty of other things lined up too.

Roadmap

During the rebrand the website will rework the dynamic roadmap to something potentially similar to Ark (https://ark.io/roadmap), with percentages (or something similar) and a breakdown of each goal on the roadmap. This will help with transparency and also allow the community to track progress more easily.
I’ll cover my perspective on the dynamic roadmap looking from a developers point of view, as a lot of people are still unsure as to why the roadmap has changed and in turn it raises lots of questions.
From a developers point of view.
As a dev it can be incredibly difficult to hit deadlines that are more than a few weeks / over a month or two away, the further away the date the harder it is to estimate + hit deadlines. This is the case for a normal business, but as crypto is insanely fast paced and such a new industry this is even more prevalent.
In the normal development world you typically work in weekly / bi-weekly sprints to produce features in small iterations which contributes to the overall project, at the end of each sprint you re-evaluate the previous weeks and re-adjust timings / resources if necessary – estimating deadlines months in advance is almost impossible.
The biggest issue about committing to a firm date is that crypto adoption is moving at a fast rate, non-blockchain businesses are getting involved with cryptocurrencies and a great platform like Request is an attractive option for them. On-boarding these businesses takes money, expertise and most importantly team resources. The team is growing but for now the time spent with these partners needs to come from somewhere, and unfortunately features can sometimes get affected.
Let's take BTC support - if the team was fully focused on BTC I would have no doubt there would have been no delay. But PwC came along, which took up development resources and, unfortunately, impacted the deadline. Long-term, having PwC onboard will have a more positive effect on the overall Request Network ecosystem. Partnerships won't wait around, Bitcoin support will.
With these partnerships there will be a push for features they want to see. PwC for example, would be focused on the accounting so they would likely be pushing for accountancy related dApps (http://accounting.request.network/) - when the roadmap was first created the team could never predict such a huge entity like PwC would come onboard, so changing focus is sometimes required from a project. Once again, long-term this will benefit Request massively.
From a development perspective changing the roadmap is a fantastic move in my opinion, the team never know what is around the corner and being able to quickly adapt to new opportunities, on-boarding companies are critical for the long-term viability of the network. As the team grow there will be more development resource available to focus on the core platform and partners which will allow the team to better predict features in the future. Once again, I’d like to reiterate things do need improving here, the team can be more transparent, and the roadmap can, and will, be improved.

Summary

The Singapore trip was fantastic, and it was an incredible experience working closely with the team and it was great to see their passion and talent while working away through the week, it’s an excellent work environment too.
Every bit of feedback is incredibly important, please don’t hesitate to get in touch at any time to me or any of the mods, either by Reddit, Discord, Slack or Telegram.
There is a lot of work ahead for the mods and the team, but rest assured we have every single one of your concerns in our scope; the community and the perception you guys have is so important to the team and the project. There are a lot of great things going on that we will continue to improve and lots of things that need changing – it won’t be something that happens overnight but something that will be continuously improving for the entirety of the project – we are dedicated to working hard and improving Request and the community every day.
At the end of all this, actions speak louder than words, and we will action take everything into consideration to help ensure Request thrives.
Apologies for the lengthy post but hopefully this clears some bits up and helps to put across some of the great things we saw in Singapore, if you have any other questions feel free to leave a comment or get in touch privately. Cheers.
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