Proposal “Dash-Retail-CTX-Q3-2021“ (Active)Back

Title:Dash Retail & CTX.com Development (Merchant Platform, On-Ramps, Etc.)
Owner:AshFrancis
Monthly amount: 180 DASH (29564 USD)
Completed payments: 1 totaling in 180 DASH (2 month remaining)
Payment start/end: 2021-07-13 / 2021-10-11 (added on 2021-07-13)
Votes: 611 Yes / 11 No / 35 Abstain
Will be funded: Yes
Manually vote on this proposal (DashCore - Tools - Debugconsole):
gobject vote-many 7b00be542d55553eaf908431b6859b7a6c3736ee38a774af4000969deba7aecf funding yes

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Proposal description

Please note: Our last proposal payout was December 2020. Since then we have largely self-funded our costs. This undertaking reduces the exposure and risk the DAO faces and it's worth noting that our actual budget is less than 100 Dash a month - I always welcome feedback on this approach.



Recent Updates (more information below)
  • Powering DashDirect (CrayPay)
  • CTX.com Brand Launch
  • Dash Investment Foundation Equity
  • Launch Academy Accelerator
  • Merchant Fiat Off-Ramping 
  • Exchange API Off-Ramping (Kraken + Binance)
  • Dash Fiat On-Ramp Beta
  • 50 Point-Of-Sale Devices in Venezuela
  • 10,000 Dash NFC Cards in Venezuela 

Powering DashDirect (CrayPay)
DashDirect is the brand name for the CrayPay instant savings app. We are their main payment provider, enabling them to instantly accept Dash and receive USD. They will be launching soon, but please trust me when I say I cannot understate how important this development is for Dash. Support for Dash-based purchases at the point-of-sale for hundreds of thousands of merchants, with a fantastic UX, is an incredible upgrade to our utility. Factor in the additional benefit of an instant-discount and it's hard not to love, Ryan Taylor shared his experience in a recent tweet thread: https://twitter.com/rtaylor05/status/1412184441535954945?s=21

The Dash Investment Foundation (DIF) holds equity in both our company and Dash Direct, we're looking forward to scaling up even further with their team and to sharing this launch with you. 

CTX.com Brand Launch
As some of you know, we've been moving to a more commercial offering, towards being fully self-sustaining and a full start-up of our own right. After a fair bit of deliberation, we chose CTX.com, a short, simple, borderless name. I know for some people there is some contention here; realistically the most important thing to know is that at the point of sale, Dash is the best crypto out there, far above any other, it outshines everything in terms of speed, fees, ability to off-ramp, value for customers, etc. - and the merchants can see that too. Adding Bitcoin (and yes, waiting for confirmations!) is a necessary part of our work to broaden our appeal, and handicapping our adoption by offering a walled garden won't allow us to scale. Dash is always going to be our highest priority and our business has voluntarily given equity to the DIF to commit to that. I'm always happy to talk this through though as I understand and appreciate concerns here. 

Dash Investment Foundation Equity
We have given 10% equity in our parent company, Astound Group Ltd, to the Dash Investment Foundation. This was not in return for any additional funding. Our business has already received a large amount of interest, both regarding investing in us, and using our platform - I'm hopeful that in time we'll be able to pay the DAO dividends back (through the DIF) above and beyond any funding we have received. 

Launch Academy Accelerator
As part of formalizing our operations in North America, we needed to secure visas, get mentorship in select areas, gain greater access to the start-up community, and more. We were accepted into the 14th Maple Cohort of Launch Academy, an accelerator run by Launch.VC. This will help us connect with other blockchain companies, give us greater access to both North America and specifically tech hubs like Vancouver, Seattle, and of course, Silicon Valley. This is also essential to us landing our company (and myself and Alex) here for our long-term operations with our largest market (alongside Europe).

Merchant Fiat Off-Ramping
Currently, this is in beta and limited to US customers receiving USD, so far everything works really well and we're looking forward to unlocking the rest of the assets which will allow for instant Dash acceptance with no volatility in 30+ countries (including USD, CAD, EURO, GBP, AUD, NZD and more). 

Exchange API Based Off-Ramping
For redundancy and for enterprise clients, we've developed exchange API-based off-ramping, where customers' funds are directly deposited to our partner's corporate accounts (currently at either Kraken or Binance). Our system then uses their Kraken or Binance API keys to convert the deposits into fiat, allowing instant off-ramping for ~0.1% fee. Another added benefit of this is we are never custodians and this instantly allows support for Dash off-ramping for merchants in any currency supported by Kraken + Binance and full access to their liquidity. 

Dash Fiat On-Ramp Beta
Our core mission is to make Dash more accessible, this applies to both merchants and consumers. Providing the payments side is an important solution, but we also want to give consumers greater ability to buy and sell Dash. We're creating an on/off-ramp aggregator (Beta currently available at https://ctx.com/exchange/) that pulls in multiple partners, as well as on our own on/off-ramps to offer the easiest access into Dash as possible, at the best possible rates. 

50 Point-Of-Sale Devices in Venezuela
The first batch of our dedicated hardware devices has arrived in Venezuela, with 40 Devices going to Dash Mall & Parking and 10 to Dash Help. These devices allow for merchants to have a dedicated terminal that can process Dash payments, always readily available for them and their team with full receipt-printing, a purpose modified AOSP built operating system, our DashRetail app pre-installed, and more. We're looking forward to getting more devices out to the teams and reporting metrics to you as we see these deployed. 

10,000 Dash NFC Cards in Venezuela
The DashCard project is an NFC project for a small, easy-to-access, no-internet required hot-wallet on a card. These cards are cheap to manufacture, very well secured through a challenge-response process and are purpose-built to solve a need in Venezuela - particularly in the Dash Malls. We're currently working on an upgrade to the system that allows the local teams to run and deploy their own software for the cards, meaning that we (CTX/DashRetail) are never custodians of any funds and these projects run independently to ours. 

Future Developments

On-ramp Full Release
Our on-ramp is currently in beta, we will soon release it fully, unlocking all fiat and crypto assets for card purchase in all supported countries.

On-Ramp Partner Expansion
To improve the coverage and rates offered by the on-ramp we will be adding more providers, like Coinify and Moonpay.

On-Ramp Payment Method Expansion
We will add support for Apple Pay, Google Pay, SEPA, ACH, and Faster Payments to the on-ramp for better rates and more options.

More Fiat, More Crypto
Yes, contentious, but we regularly get asked if we accept Bitcoin, it's the elephant in the room, it's not a huge amount of dev time invested into supporting it (Dash and Bitcoin are very similar) but it is necessary. We'll be adding support for more cryptocurrencies, but more importantly, more fiat currencies to our off-ramp, on-ramp, and payments products. 

THORChain Dash Implementation
Technically, this work is being done through the Incubator, but it is important to note here as once we have integrated Dash into THORChain we will be utilizing it as part of our merchant off-ramping, customer on-ramping, and a decentralized exchange offering (a front-end to THORChain). 

Ecommerce Integrations
We will be developing eCommerce plugins for the most popular eCommerce platforms (WooCommerce, Shopify, Magento, PrestaShop, OpenCart, BigCommerce)

POS Integrations
We will develop POS integrations for the most popular point-of-sale platforms (Verifone, Ingenico, NCR, Clover, Vend)

Partnerships

Dash Core Group
We work closely with DCG on various aspects of our platform and will continue to do so, Ryan in particular has provided valuable insight from his payments experience and we're looking forward to further complimenting their products with ours going forwards. 

DashDirect [CrayPay]
As the payment partner for DashDirect, we're looking forward to working with them to scale their solution in more geographies and to add more novel products to their roster.

Dash Investment Foundation
As part of the DIF portfolio, we will be readily available to partner with other DIF companies to provide any payment solutions they need. The DIF are also partnering with us to get Dash listed on THORChain, by providing liquidity to launch the Dash asset. 

Dash Help + Support
Dash Help is directly integrated into Dash Retail, and the team has actively been providing feedback to help us improve Dash Retail for our merchants. We sent them 10 POS devices which they received and are testing now, we intend to send them more soon.

Dash Text
Dash Text is fully integrated into Dash Retail and we'll be working closely with this team and their ongoing developments, including working on adding commands to Dash Text to query Dash Card balances.

Dash Mall + Parking
DMP+P helped define our POS and Dash Card systems and we sent them 40 devices and 10000 Dash Cards (though we intend some of these cards to go to Dash Help)

Other Teams
Dash Retail & CTX.com are live and can be used by anyone, please feel free to use them and provide feedback. If you're interested in receiving hardware devices or NFC cards or want to set up fiat off-ramping, please reach out to us. 

Transparency + Accountability

Ownership
Dash Retail and CTX are operated by Astound Group Ltd which is owned 45%-45%-10% by Ash, Alex and the DIF respectively.  

Finances
All of our finances are reported at a granular level to Dash Watch and we're happy to evidence and provide invoices. 

Source Code Access
Dash Core Group (and by extension the DAO) have full access and license to our source code. If any other project wants to use our source code (or should we be unable to perform) the DAO can award that source code and sublicense by means of a governance vote. 

Budget
Our last proposal payout was December 2020. Since then we have largely self-funded our costs, reducing the exposure to the DAO. This proposal asks for 180 Dash for 3 months but helps cover the 6-month unfunded period as well as the next 3 months. These funds will be mostly be spent on development, with some funds going towards compliance and legal work establishing the necessary corporations in the US and Canada for our long-term operations here.

We always try to be as respectful of the DAO as possible, taking very low salaries to keep ourselves just afloat (I am also not taking a salary currently whilst I manage to balance Incubator and DR/CTX work). Longer-term we are looking to becoming more and more self-sustaining, and to the point where we return dividends to the DAO via the DIF. 

Get in Touch
We are happy to answer any questions either on this proposal or you can reach out directly on the details below.

Email: ash@ctx.com
Telegram: @ashfrancis
Twitter: @ash_ctx
Discord: Ash#8776
Skype: ash.francis

Thank you for reading and for all your support.










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Discussion: Should we fund this proposal?

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0 points,8 days ago
Test
Reply
1 point,10 days ago
Thank you for all the support everyone, we'll keep building as planned and look forward to sharing our updates with you on all the usual channels!
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1 point,18 days ago
The situtaion in VE is tenuous at the moment, I am inclined to vote yes, but what are your hearing from your partners in the region with the new NFC/machines? My reprts sya Caracas was in disarray, people fleeing the region, no cable/internet or phone service. How is that affecting Dash Retail in that region?
Reply
2 points,14 days ago
Thanks for the question and sorry for the delay answering it - I wanted to hear from the local teams to get their perspectives. The outcome of that is the following:

Caracas is very different from other areas, with nothing particularly new about what is happening there - it is business as usual for the last 5 to 10 years! There is a large amount of investment from private companies around infrastructure for the upper and upper-middle class areas throughout Venezuela. This factors in the widescale wealth inequality across the country, with people dying of hunger and others with Ferraris. The target market for these POS devices is towards the wealthier end, who don't face those same problems and their appetite for Dash is still very apparent. It's worth noting that Mark and Isabel's videos in the past were focused on these wealthier areas. The merchants in these areas can solve any issues they face by paying for multiple internet/phone providers, having a hotspot, power generators, security etc. Whilst there are people fleeing (and people have actively been since ~2010), the realistic target market for Dash (at least for merchant solutions) in Venezuela is wealthier people who can afford to live well and so choose to stay in Venezuela. Though naturally, this will expand in time to cover and improve the situation for all Venezuelans.

I'm sure you're quite aware of most of this based on your work but it's pretty good insight from the boots on the ground so to speak! For us, our work in supporting the local teams will continue as planned, most of our work is globally applicable one way or another anyway.
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1 point,14 days ago
Merchants in rural areas in VE are starting to accept crypto, they just can't post wi9ndow decals and stuff, they have a government that can seize a small buisness at whim, but peopl in VE are using Dash as an SoV in my Discord server, the tide may be turning. Caracas seems to always be a mess, Merida front is a good aSsault point, tbh, There is adoption going on in VE, but without remittances and workers in VE getting Dash directly, to put pressure on merchants to use Dash. Well, maybe I have had a little too much Truth Serum tonight, but we need a demand side merchant adoption strategy in VE.
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0 points,14 days ago
I will credit DCG Bizdev for getting that payroll in Dash for Church's Chicken workers, but be hontest, how may Churc's Chicken franchises do you see around you. We need somke loftier goals.
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-2 points,19 days ago
You're doing it backwards. If you want more funds from the DAO, you should give more equity to the DIF. The whole reason we created the DIF was so that entrepreneurs like yourself could be told, "Talk to the DIF."
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-3 points,19 days ago
So far you've been able to convince the DIF supervisors that your company's equity is worth zero. Try to negotiate a better deal in the next round.
Reply
6 points,21 days ago
Going to be a yes from me. The reality is we NEED this and as far as I can tell Ash is the only one doing the work.
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4 points,20 days ago
Thanks Name3, though most of that credit goes to Alex, unsung hero that he is.
Reply
2 points,20 days ago
I support Ash. Anyone who actually DOES stuff for Dash and has the balls to submit proposals gets my blessings!

He has been around a long time and he has made cool stuff with Dash Retail.
Reply
-2 points,20 days ago
Why are you commenting here?
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0 points,13 days ago
Seriously, why is bchamz allowed to comment here? He's not a mno. He only had a proposal in the past that failed. So he automatically gets lifetime commenting priviledges? That's a clear attack vector.

A failed PO has motivation to 'retaliate' against the network for not supporting their grifting. Which means allowing them to comment is leaving a vulnerability in the network unpatched.
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5 points,21 days ago
Really impressed with Ash (after meeting recently as an Incubator Admin). He's a budding entrepreneur who gets things done and puts the project first and works tirelessly to achieve what he sets his mind on. We're lucky he's onboard and we should support :)
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3 points,20 days ago
Thanks Andy! Means a lot, it's been great working with you, and long may we continue building cool shit for Dash.
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2 points,18 days ago
absolutely :)
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5 points,21 days ago
Voting yes on this.
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3 points,21 days ago
Thanks Captain!
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2 points,22 days ago
This is not directly related to this proposal but bare with me..

For a long time I've had concerns about the technical operation of Dash Text. My understanding is, Dash Text uses a proprietary algorithm to generate private keys based on phone number. This prevents the code being fully open sourced and it also means it's technically a custodian solution because a couple of people know exactly how the algorithm functions. Additionally, modern cryptography teaches that security through obscurity is very poor practice.

So I'm wondering, is there a way you can help the Dash Text team transform their code into something that is non-custodial and fully open sourced? For example, you mention the NFC cards are challenge response so maybe those cards can be used at the merchant to register and activate against a person's phone number. Something like, the merchant types in a phone number and reads the NFC card. The NFC card signs the phone number + merchant code and sends that signature to Dash Text for registration.

I haven't fully thought it through, it's just an off the cuff idea.
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4 points,22 days ago
I'll reach out to them, they are a great team and I'm confident in their ability but if what you say is the case, generating a private key from a phone number is a bad idea (if the algorithm is compromised I only need to know your phone number, to generate your corresponding private key). It would make more sense to use a true RNG and just store accordingly than to generate based on something public.

In our case, whilst we use challenge-response for authenticating the card is legitimate (not a replay attack, a cloned card, bruteforcing, batch request attack, man-in-the-middle etc.) we still effectively have a record of Dash against the card number (along with keys used for challenges etc.) which we deduct from and credit to the merchant.

Unfortunately, whilst cards can be non-custodial hardware wallets in time, that's a complex approach and even requires cards with screens in them (to confirm amounts) which are drastically more expensive. Likewise, phones using text can't ever be non-custodial.

I mentioned in the proposal, but we're rolling out a docker binary to allow local teams to run (and ultimately, be the custodians) of their own cards. Our system will then be given access to be able to make customer payments at our points of sale. This way we are not the custodians and the solutions are more open-ended for other providers to integrate in time if they wish.
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5 points,23 days ago
Yes! DASH needs this!
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4 points,21 days ago
Thanks Lysergic!
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