What is Request Network?
Smart payment applications, like Venmo or Stripe, are growing increasingly popular, but they are typically limited to a few main functionalities and currencies. Request Network’s (REQ) mission is to, as their whitepaper says, “become the backbone of world trade” by making payment possible between anyone, anywhere, using any currency, with invoices and accounting records automatically stored on the blockchain.
The development team already has a successful Y Combinator-funded startup called Moneytis, which specializes in cross-border money transfers. The fact that their cryptocurrency project is being backed by the same high-profile tech incubator has sparked a lot of interest. Another big mark in the team’s favor is the presence of a functioning prototype—a rarity in cryptocurrencies.
How does Request Network work?
This cryptocurrency does not run on its own blockchain. Instead, it is built on top of Ethereum, so all blockchain records are stored there. Request Network is organized into three main layers: the Core layer, which manages smart contracts and the coin, REQ; the Extensions layer, which customizes each request to comply with taxes, regulations, and other variable needs; and the Applications layer, which allows outside financial systems to connect and begin using the network.
The name “Request” comes from the steps of the payment process. If you buy a pizza, the pizzeria sends a request (your bill) to the blockchain, where you can detect it. You see it, hit the “Pay” button, and your payment is also recorded on the blockchain. From a user perspective, it’s that simple.
You can pay however you like—your bank account (in any currency), credit card, cryptocurrency wallet, etc.—and the payment will enter the Request Network; possibly be converted to their coin, REQ; get confirmed on the Ethereum blockchain; and show up in the recipient’s account.
You never share your payment information with anyone, making it very secure, and the cost per transaction is not projected to rise above .05% (A $100 USD transaction would cost five cents, with most transactions being much cheaper than that.
Applications for this technology are everywhere: the automatic recordkeeping means that accounting, auditing, and taxes would require almost no human labor beyond reading the data. Because it is decentralized and unchangeable, its use could increase financial transparency and decrease corruption. Finally, of course, the ability to instantly transfer money regardless of currency, whether it be fiat or cryptocurrency, is a boon to anyone who needs to convert money.
In December, the first fully functional prototype, Colossus, went live to the public. Though it is limited to Ethereum, the team plans to continue developing it, with other cryptocurrencies slated to become available in early 2018.
The team also recently announced a $30 million USD fund to incentivize the development of applications for their network. Anyone who wants to participate can apply for a grant from the Request Network Foundation.
The development roadmap has its milestones named after wonders of the world: Pyramid, Colossus, Great Wall, Stonehenge, Colosseum, and Petra.
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