Mercury in 2018 — Q2

Introduction

Hello everyone, this is Mercury Protocol’s Head of Strategy, “G”, checking in with a quarterly update for Mercury Protocol in 2018.

First, I want to share that the stellar crew I joined a few months back is quickly developing into one of the foremost set of blockchain brains on the planet. We are experienced, determined, and equipped for the revolution that our products and services are prepared to deliver. With a fresh outlook and refined roadmap — the Mercury Protocol team is ready to show you all what we’ve been building.

After having spent the past couple of months in the trenches with the team I’m proud to present the latest roadmap and benchmarks for Mercury Protocol in 2018. But before diving into the future plans I want to recap our accomplishments thus far, then highlight the upcoming changes. The updates below will also be reflected on our new website to launch later this month, however, for the time being please read below for roadmap details.


Jupiter (also known as Zeus,) was the king of the gods. Just as he was the precursor to all, these first critical steps in the Mercury project will set the technical foundation for years to come.

Jupiter Phase Highlights

  • Expanded our team to increase project throughput
  • Filed to get GMT on Apple’s list of approved tokens for App Store
  • Developed a method for paying user transaction fees with ERC20 tokens
  • Reduced gas fees to scalable numbers for micro-transactions
  • Architected methods for storing and accessing data for use within Broadcast and other apps — starting with user profiles
  • Increased developer relations for Mercury Protocol
It is said that Mercury (also known as Hermes,) lent his winged sandals to Perseus to help him defeat Medusa. Similarly, in this phase we will begin working with other development teams in earnest to build a network capable of going toe-to-toe with the current titans of the communication industry.

Upcoming Perseus Phase Updates

  • Release Dust 5.0 including GMT-powered features (iOS, Android, +Web)
  • Design client and backend frameworks for easier third party integrations
  • Develop Broadcast app with blockchain-based user profiles
  • Technical KYC solution for users to withdraw GMT from their Mercury wallets
  • Research and develop machine-learning defense solutions to malicious manipulation of GMT rewards and user reputation mechanics
  • User Growth Pool grants to users of Dust and other integrating apps to continue to grow the Mercury network
This phase is named after Mars (also known as Ares,) the god of war, as it marks the readiness of the Mercury Protocol technology to undertake the global campaign to displace the traditional advertising based revenue model of communications.

Future Mars Phase Updates

  • Release Broadcast beta
  • Abstract the protocol from Dust to make it application agnostic
  • Develop iOS, Android, Web, and backend frameworks for easier third party integrations and faster network growth
  • Improve documentation to onboard new developer teams
  • Solution for users and other developers to easily convert GMT to fiat to reduce time to revenue flow
  • Develop bug bounty system to incentivize peer review of the protocol
  • Host a hackathon to promote innovative product ideas based on the Mercury Protocol
  • Evangelize the protocol at developer conferences around the world to spread awareness and collect developer and user feedback

What’s Coming Next?

Dust 5.0

We are relaunching Dust. The initial version will launch with the same, trusted private messaging features including our patent-pending in-memory ephemeral storage, a modernized user interface and web client (note: web client will launch in a subsequent feature release), and we plan to add new and exciting features that build on the messaging backbone, including GMT-powered features.

Why Relaunch Dust?

Optimizing Dust for GMT

Any experienced developer in the audience is familiar with the term tech debt which means that over time, applications accumulate old code and designs that weigh down new development. In early 2018, our team took a hard look at our existing Dust product and determined that to achieve greater scale and a richer feature set incorporating GMT, the underlying code needed an overhaul.

Dust has been in market since 2014, and much has changed since the app was initially designed and architected. We undertook a full rebuild of the app to ensure no overhang exists for future development, to build a web version (by popular demand), and to ensure GMT can be integrated fully as we roll out new features that incorporate our token.

When Are You Relaunching Dust?

August 2018

Dust will relaunch to the App Store and Google Play in August, 2018. The upcoming Dust build will have a refreshed user interface with state of the art privacy measures including our patent-pending in-memory ephemeral storage. All Dust users can expect increased security with improved usability in Dust 5.0!

What About Blockchain?

Laying the Foundation

Our technical team has grown to become one of the foremost groups for applied blockchain knowledge. Over the past three quarters we have implemented a variety of blockchain related features, and have experimented in great depth on issues such as gas pricing, transaction time and load, and cost savings. These learnings have informed the design for the new Dust app, and it is architected from the ground-up with blockchain in mind. Furthermore, the groundwork we are laying with the relaunch of Dust is also the foundation of the Mercury Protocol, with the goal to allow third party developers to leverage our underlying platform and token in their apps (more on this coming soon).

Many critics suggest that blockchain has little usefulness, particularly for social media and communications. We disagree, and our approach is to implement blockchain where appropriate into Dust considering issues of cost, transaction time, and system load. Every user will have the option to store information to the blockchain in a trusted and transparent way. Curious to learn more? We can’t reveal everything because it’s competitive out there, so you’ll need to stay tuned.

Where is GMT (mainnet)?

Coming Soon

In late 2017 we introduced GMT into the Dust app for token owners to spend GMT on premium features, and for those new to GMT to earn rewards based on actions taken in Dust. The GMT features were deployed to a test network so our team could analyze and measure how the Ethereum blockchain would handle the load, and to understand the gas costs associated with the reward/premium feature mechanic. The current versions of Dust (iOS and Android) still implement GMT features, though the iOS wallet is currently hidden while we address concerns raised by Apple.

As mentioned above, the new Dust app will enable our development team to add GMT-based features in a much more efficient way. This represents our strong commitment to GMT and token holders, as the new app will offer many more opportunities to use GMT as we develop the feature set. Furthermore, we understand well the process to qualify GMT by Apple’s App Store, and we are pursuing the necessary approvals in parity with the development timeline.

While we understand some users want Dust to rush to mainnet, many technical and economic considerations play into the move from testnet. Dust will relaunch on testnet, and the move to mainnet will happen later this year.

Conclusion

In undertaking an enterprise as massive as reforming social media, it is critical to give the proper attention to each of the individual project components necessary to succeed. In our case, the Mercury Protocol demands sustained excellence in underlying technology, business partnerships, and public interest. Of those three factors, business partnerships and public interest are rendered null if the technology cannot deliver.

Therefore, while we are already working with other development teams to discuss integrations of GMT, we are primarily devoted to building a truly capable technical foundation for tokenizing social media and communication apps. Once we feel the Mercury Protocol integrations in Dust are technologically sound and ready for production grade traffic, we will shift our focus to business partnerships and growing the Mercury user network as we continue to build out the protocol’s capabilities.

Connect

The channels below are announcements-only as of April 13th, 2018.

Slack 
Telegram 
Twitter 
Reddit 
Facebook
LinkedIn 
GitHub

Learn more about the Mercury Protocol
Read the Mercury Protocol whitepaper
Follow +mercuryprotocol on Dust