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Community Update — October 5, 2018

We wrap up Tabby Pay 2.0 and shift our focus to Tabby Rewards

Tabby Pay Wrap Up

The launch of Tabby Pay 2.0 was a success and user feedback has been very positive. The improved user interface was well received and we are happy to say that there have been no bugs reported. Now that we have wrapped up the work on Tabby Pay 2.0, our focus has been on Tabby Rewards.

Tabby Rewards

We are happy to report that Tabby rewards is nearing completion. A core piece of our smart contract was completely reconstructed to address the scalability issues we were facing. We have a preliminary mock-up of the user interface which is going through user testing.

In user testing this week, we found many changes from our initial design phase. We realized the navigation menu contained too many tabs and needed to be restructured. We also found that the application instructions were unclear and confusing to new users. Our team is focused on maintaining quality design principles while refining the interface. We will continue with testing and iterations until the dApp is ready to launch.

Our goal is to make all of our dApps user friendly for everyone, especially for new users, and Tabby Rewards is no exception. That is why we take special care and attention in each stage of the process of development.

New to BlockCAT? Tabby Rewards allows teams to distribute a large quantity of tokens quickly and easily via unique, redeemable codes without requiring a list of addresses beforehand. Check out our Community Update from June 1st for more information.

Source: Startup Stock Photos

Library Work

We’ve been working hard on a bunch of internal library work. This is stuff that takes the form of accelerators or things that make future engineering faster. This has always been a theme around here, with the whole “platform” story being initially a set of development tools for internal use and eventually a set of tools for the community to produce solid, usable smart contracts for everyone.

This week, we dove deep into the fundamental pieces of a staking model. Eric and a small team of researchers, in partnership with some professors from our local college, explored some of the very serious implications of incentivized voting models. There are a few clear major uses of smart contracts: tokens, auditing, staking. We’ve handled tokens (interchange, exchange, transfer, stability) and auditing (logs, event management, multiple classes) pretty well in the last few months, but staking poses much more theoretical complexity.

There are hundreds of game theoretical considerations, but in the past week we’ve drilled down to a set of 3 classes of stake. These extend the ERC900 interface, which we believe has some fundamental incentive issues, that we’re preparing some improvements to. We intend to release these contracts open source alongside the game theoretic and philosophical understandings necessary to build staking models.

A solid understanding of staking models is the next step towards the effective use of a voting system for smart contract security: be that the BlockCAT marketplace, generalized staking tools, or smart contracts built by our community that depend on staking abstractions around staking like masternodes and PoS and other concepts necessary to align incentives.

Smart Contract Usability…

As we’ve talked about numerous times before, the ability for regular users to make use of smart contracts is a huge sticking point. Understanding of (or, ideally simplification/elimination, of) private keys, stability, MetaMask inconsistencies, transaction flow, immutability, risk and variability and the other considerations is something we’re pushing hard to resolve. We made great strides forward with the last round of user review on both Pay and Rewards, but there are many interesting problems that need to be resolved. Some of these (stable coins, UX clarity, even private key management) we’ll be able to resolve, and others (data storage scale, integration layers) we’re going to have to provide tooling to work around while the community works alongside us.

We are committed to building quality, usable, and accessible smart contracts. If we’re going to build “smart contracts for everyone” it is essential that core issues around usability make serious progress. Some of these (like reliable stable coins, of which Circle just released a viable candidate with USDC) are likely to be completely blocking for a whole class of real world users — it is unreasonable to think we could support transactions worth tens to hundreds of thousands of dollars that weren’t hedged to a currency that the end user wants to use.

Dev Notes

💰 Pay: 
+ added support for upcoming Metamask release which requires user approval to inject Web3
+ small revisions/review to token approval flow.
🎁 Rewards:
+ added support for upcoming Metamask release which requires user approval to inject Web3
+ second round UX audit, redesigned flow to be much simpler and less cumbersome for users
+ improved deploy process to include a full blockchain and contract deploy under continuous integration
🏗️ Staking Library:
+ deep analysis of implications of various kinds of staking models
+ captured criteria for successful staking model
+ initial implementation of simple staking solution
+ initial commits on an exploratory project to rapidly iterate and experiment with staking models in a low risk environment.
🐞 Bug Fixes:
+ fixed notification styling and positioning in Rewards UI
+ fixed a bug on hardware wallet selection where the app would get stuck loading

That’s it for this week! If you have any questions, be sure to join our Discord channel, tweet to us on Twitter or chime in on the /r/BlockCAT subreddit!



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