Rapture April/May Updates

Welcome to the first of many Medium updates to come! Anyone who is familiar with the Rapture Project (RAP) knows that our Discord channel has been the main hub of activity for the project. The team has been there 7 days a week since the project was announced back in January and it’s a constant stream of updates, thoughtful discussions….a community that we highly respect and is very respectful and inviting of others!

The past few months have been been incredibly busy and some amazing milestones have been hit. We have some great things in development and we’ve realized that we need a platform for keeping the broader community in the loop. We realize that not everyone will jump onto Discord (though we highly encourage you to!) and may not be seeing the updates….enter Medium!

Inspired by CryptoBridge’s awesome bi-weekly development updates. we’re taking to Medium as a platform for providing updates and perspective, in a format that is easy to read through and easy to share.

So with that, onwards!


Rapture — a quick primer

It feels fitting to start the first of these updates with a very quick overview of what Rapture is all about.

The Rapture Project was created by a small team that shared a vision — that the blockchain could be utilized for true good in the world. That a system of currency could benefit not only those who use it, but also those in need.

Rapture’s primary focus to support charities and NPOs (non-profit organizations) via the blockchain, as well as fostering their knowledge, understanding, and use of this technology. Charities and NPOs receive RAP in the form of donations and support, but we feel that it is incredibly important for them to have use cases far beyond just converting those donations to fiat and large component of the project is the actual application of RAP for these organizations.

Our team is a diverse group of coders, designers, a PhD research scientist, with members based in the United States, Canada, and Brazil. Over our first few months our team has grown and diversified. In addition to the core team, in April we established a broader advisory group containing around 10 members of like-minded individuals. This group has been an amazing source of great ideas and they have made significant contributions to the development of the project. We aim to continue growing the team and there is an open door for anyone that is passionate about the project’s goals and is interested in contributing, whether it be at the dev level as a coder or on a social level, reaching out and connecting us to organizations in need.


April-May updates

April and May have been incredibly busy months on Rapture with some exciting milestones achieved. They’ve largely been months where we’ve been getting real work done. We’ve generally felt that before we start a larger PR push to get more visibility on the project, there are a few key elements that we’d like to have in place…so these past couple of months have been less about PR and far more about getting things done!

Our Trello board gives a great overview of everything that we’ve been focusing on, and the “Nearing Completion” and “Completed” columns have been filling up quickly.

Charity updates

Perhaps one of the most exciting developments in May was with our newest partner charity, Middleton Community Trust (MCT). MCT is based in Manchester, England, and they have provided food and clothing for over 15,000 individuals in their community. MCT enrolled in our CharityNode program in April and started receiving support via the Rapture blockchain. In May, they were selected by our CharitySharing program (shared masternodes run by the project that split their rewards with charities) as the recipient for the accrual of block rewards. This gave them an extra boost of RAP and allowed them to purchase 4 sleeping bags for the homeless in their community.

One of the founding goals of Rapture was to use the blockchain to benefit those in need. We knew we could get there and were thrilled to see that the project is making a REAL difference to those in need. It has been a ton of work to get to this point, our community played a major role, and this news was immensely rewarding for all of us! Next month we hope to make it 8 sleeping bags, the following month 16 sleeping bags and meals. Kudos to MCT for doing the work that they’re doing helping so many people with so little, they are truly benefiting from your forward-thinkingness as a charity.

In June and July, armed with the whitepaper, web and mobile wallets, we’ll be reaching out to many more charities and NPOs and will work with them to build partnerships and provide support via the Rapture blockchain. Just a reminder that we also have ongoing campaigns and bounties for anyone in the community that helps connect charities with Rapture.


Visual updates

April brought some sweeping changes to the Rapture visuals. In March, core team member Becca James launched into a complete re-design of our visuals. The main goals for the logo and visuals were to:

  • look bold, clean, energetic, uplifting
  • work in a variety of formats, from small icons up to high-dpi and print formats
  • have the flexibility to adapt to different concept and applications

The final point was particularly challenging and we landed on the approach of making the main logo “transparent”, a window into artwork and colors behind the logo. We’ll be switching out the artwork behind the logo depending on the context that it’s being used in. For example, when partnering with a children’s charity, we’d like to use artwork that comes from the children that are being supported.

This approach has been a great way to keep the logo dynamic, but also connect it to the context that it’s being used in. We’re in love with the new visuals and they really set the right look and feel for the project! Amazing work by core team memberBecca on this!


Wallets

April and May have been all about wallets! Wallets are obviously critical on any project. Given Rapture’s focus on working with organizations that may not have any experience in crypto, and also aiming to appeal to a broader market that may also be new to crypto, the wallet experience is incredibly important. We want our wallets to be some of the best looking, easiest to use, and feature-packed wallets out there and we are working towards being available on every main platform. We place a high priority on accessibility, and we want organizations and individuals alike to only ever be a few easy clicks or taps away from establishing secure Rapture wallets.

Desktop wallets received a large visual update in March. We’ve gone for a much more screen friendly approach, with darker backgrounds with bright splashes of color. We’re taking cues from our block explorer, which is easy on the eyes. A unique feature we added is a random selection of artwork that appears in the desktop wallet each time it launches. As we were working on a design, we couldn’t decide on a theme for the header, so we went with ALL of them!

We’re far from done with the desktop wallets, we have Trello cards for adding high-dpi support, adding support for secondary backup locations, and adding a theme with a lighter color background.

Mobile wallets took some great steps forward, particularly in May. Our iOS app was submitted for validation. Apple can be particularly challenging to work with when it comes to wallets, so we’ve been working with them and communicating with them throughout the approval process. The iOS app looks stunning and works great, so we’re hoping to have it out of validation and into everyone’s hands soon.

UPDATE 6/4 — iOS App is officially available at https://itunes.apple.com/us/app/rapture-wallet/id1380985728

In April we started laying the groundwork for our web wallets via the Copay/Bitcore backend, porting many libraries and coding Neoscrypt to hash via javascript in-browser! By mid-May, our web wallet was successfully transacting with the Rapture blockchain. We’re getting close to deploying the web wallet for testing, mainly some cleanup and design work needed.

With the web wallet, all private keys are stored on your local machine, never transferred. Web wallets are recoverable via seed words and a passphrase. And multi-sig accounts are supported, meaning that multiple users can share a wallet and you can define the number of users required to authorize transactions. BTC and BCH wallets are also supported and have the same feature set. We feel these features are particularly compelling for the organizations we’re partnering with, as it gives them an easy way to backup their wallets and allows for multiple people within the organization to sign off on transactions.

Rapture is already available on Android via the excellent AltCoin Wallet, but we’ll be releasing an official app as well. Our web wallet is built using Apache’s Cordova, which facilitates simultaneous development across multiple platforms. So all of the work on the web wallet feeds right into the Android wallets and their release will follow shortly after.

Beyond these features, the second phase of wallet development will be to add tighter integration with partner charities. We want a tab entirely devoted to our partner charities, with information on their causes, visibility on the support they’re receiving from the Rapture blockchain, and easy and engaging ways for users to support them from within the wallet.


CharitySharing

In April, our core team member, Thiago Vincenzi Conrado, PhD (@lastchange), started the CharitySharing service. This service is a shared masternode service, backed and operated by the Rapture Project, that is perfect for anyone that doesn’t quite have the collateral to run a masternode, or who has some extra RAP on hand. 50% of the block rewards generated by these nodes are shared among partner charities (this program help MCT with their sleeping bag purchase for the homeless), and 50% of the rewards are returned to the participants.

This is an absolutely great way to participate in the passive block rewards that masternodes generate and it’s awesome seeing the community take advantage of this. If you’re interested in participating, drop into the CharitySharing Discord channel and check it out!


Rapture HotWalletService (HWS)

Also run by @lastchange/Rapture, the Rapture HotWalletService (HWS) has slowly started enrolling users and we are very close to announcing our finalized details and pushing a wide release.

HWS dramatically lowers monthly operation costs and greatly simplifies the setup and maintenance of masternodes. With this service, participants’ collateral remains securely in their local wallets at ALL times. At no point does users provide their wallet private keys or any access to those funds. This makes the process highly secure and requires zero Linux configuration or VPS operation for participants.

Many users running multiple masternodes are used to carrying monthly VPS costs of $20, $50, $70+ per month, particularly in the case of users running high numbers of nodes and for multiple coins. HWS cuts these costs significantly, and some early users have seen their monthly expenditures drop by upwards of 90%.

On the opposite end of the spectrum, some users may hold the collateral required for a masternode, but have zero interest or time to get into the minutia of setting up a Linux server. For these users, HWS gives them the ability to have a masternode registered to their wallet, without the headaches and costs of running a VPS on a monthly basis.

On HWS, fees will be structured so that the lowest costs and biggest savings will be for participants with at least 1 RAP masternode, but MANY coins are supported and even if you don’t have a RAP masternode, you’ll still be getting an excellent rate and access to a great service.

Payments for HWS are made in RAP, and right now one single block reward covers the monthly cost. Additionally, 20% of the monthly fees go to support Rapture partner charities and participants have the option of choosing which charity their fees support.

The early feedback from participants has been overwhelmingly positive and we’ve had a high demand for enrollments. We’re rolling out at a measured pace, but if you’re one of the many people that this service appeals to, drop into the #hot-wallet-service Discord channel for current news.


Other exciting things in the works!

That’s already a lot of activity that we’ve fit into the past two months, but there’s more!

Rapture Whitepaper

The Rapture Whitepaper is a mega-important document for the project. Rather than reciting the history of the blockchain and throwing around empty catch phrases, it is meant to be a document that paints the entire picture of the project and proposes blockchain-based solutions to very real problems that exist beyond the blockchain. Importantly, the whitepaper needs to register with both the crypto-community as well as the charities and organizations that we aim to support and partner with.

A recent tweet from @notsofast highlighted the issues with many recent whitepapers that we’re acutely aware of:

Our goal is to make sure that the Rapture Whitepaper isn’t something that people regret reading. We started writing it in March and we’re almost done with our final edits. The Rapture whitepaper will serve many functions on this project and it will be an essential communication document, we’re determined to have it read great and look great!

Discord activity

As always, Discord is the main hub for Rapture discussion and you can jump right in here. Aside from being a very welcoming and great place to chat, discuss ideas and project directives, or receive technical support, we’re always looking for other ways to engage the community there.

The RAP tipbot, which allows users to tip each other nominal amounts of RAP, has seen a lot of activity and certainly bears testament to the type of generosity much of our community shows. A couple of weeks ago, @SoldatChristi was setting up their first masternode but was a bit short on collateral. @d3zz saw that, and gave them a very generous tip of a 160 RAP!

@GAB5TER, a member of our advisory group, is going to be bringing some great features to the tipbot soon….including masternode monitor and notifications, exchange rate stats, soaking (which allows a tipped amount to be spread across multiple users, kind of a faucet on overload). He’s also working on adding charity tipping, which will allow for tips directly to charities from within Discord!

Masternode auto-install script

For users looking to setup a masternode and who are ok with diving into Linux, but don’t necessarily have the patience to go through our very comprehensive setup guide, @tom_ua has deployed an excellent auto-install script that automates the process. That script and its readme are available in our GitHub repo here.

Help ticketing system

With the introduction of the services operated by the Rapture Project, as well as to help facilitate on-boarding and support with our charity partners, we’ve made it a priority to get a Zendesk-like help ticketing system online. We love giving live support via Discord, but are looking for a better way to track and handle requests. It’s early days on this, but something that we’ll have up and running sooner rather than later.

Campaigns, bounties and social

During Rapture’s early months, the focus has been largely on development and putting essential tools in place. We’ve seen a great value in PR, and at times where we’ve given PR a bit more attention, we’ve seen a lot of enthusiastic new people arrive in the community. As we deliver the wallets and whitepaper, we’ll do a short-term pivot towards more PR and social activity, also with a focus on connecting with many more charities and non-profit organizations. It should be a period of growth and we’re looking forward to broadening our community and reach.

During the open testing phases of our web, iOS, and Android wallets, we’ll absolutely be running airdrop campaigns for testers. In addition to airdrops, we encourage the community to actively engage their social media circles. Occasionally, if we need an article about specific things like the importance of hot wallets, we’ll offer a bounty, and we generally have a host of ongoing code and social bounties. More information on those in the #open-bounties Discord channel.

Via social, we’ve had some great feedback recently. @OhMyHodl’s awesome project card and tweet about $RAP was great (we can definitely get the score over 35!) and we were thrilled that he pinned us to the top of his popular Twitter feed.

Rapture meets Trello

Back in April, we started using Trello to track tasks internally. For those not familiar with Trello, it has a fantastic web-ui that puts a ton of visibility on project management and tasks. While this board is useful for on own tracking, we felt it was important to make it open and accessible to the public as well.

This board is updated almost daily, and for a look at everything that the team is actively working on, will be starting soon, or has completed, check out the Trello board here.


Onwards!

That brings our April/May updates to a wrap, thanks for taking the time to read through! If you have any questions or want to know more about the project or tasks that we’re working on, feel free to drop into Discord and chat with the team or join the community.

We’ll finish with a helpful visual that gives a good snapshot of the Rapture’s reach as of May. It has grown quite a bit over the past two months and next month’s should have more great additions!