Origin Launches Beta on Mainnet

Today we are ecstatic to announce Origin’s Mainnet Beta! At the end of September, we quietly launched the first versions of our smart contracts to Mainnet and deployed the Origin marketplace DApp.

Origin Protocol was incorporated one year ago today on 10/9/17. We are proud that our engineering team has consistently shipped code and followed through on our commitment to launch at the end of Q3.

This is an important milestone to achieve our mission of enabling peer-to-peer commerce on the blockchain. Today, real buyers and sellers can transact without onerous transaction fees. Our users have self-sovereign identity (they manage and control their own data) through ERC-725 and can communicate over secure and fully decentralized messaging.

During our Mainnet Beta period, buyers and sellers will be able to transact with real ETH on a Craigslist-style marketplace. This is a beta though, so we are still in the process of adding many new features like fractional usage listings (think Airbnb or GetAround) and multi-unit listings (think ecommerce or ticketing). We’re also actively debugging issues and ensuring platform security as our smart contracts are still being audited. As such, we ask that you enthusiastically use our product, but also exercise caution when transacting on the DApp. Here are a few important things you should know:

  • Decentralized applications work a little differently. Your data is stored on the blockchain and IPFS instead of on our servers. Your account is your Ethereum wallet. Make sure you safely store your private keys because we can’t help you recover them if you lose them.
  • Be careful when dealing with counterparties you don’t know. You’ll want to message them and make sure you feel comfortable with them on the opposite side of the table. We also recommend verifying your own identity to let other users know who you are.
  • We currently offer a basic arbitration/dispute management process. Origin team members will make judgments when disputes arise, but note that we can only award funds that have already been escrowed in smart contracts.
  • No insurance is currently offered on any listings. As a seller, you may want to refrain from renting out high-ticket items.

Note that during the Mainnet Beta period, tokens from our previous token sales will not yet be distributed. Tokens will be distributed at Application Launch. We expect this to be when we exit Beta and are confident that our platform is working as intended and our contracts are secure.

Here’s a video of Matt and Josh giving an overview about Mainnet Beta.

Origin co-founders announcing Mainnet Beta

The rest of this post will cover:

  • How to get started
  • Features included in this release
  • Features that are not included in this release
  • Our future roadmap
  • Thanks to our community

How to get started

In order to be able to transact as a buyer or seller on the Origin DApp, you’ll need a crypto wallet attached to your browser. We recommend using the Metamask extension with Chrome or Firefox. Install the extension to your browser, create a wallet, and then transfer some ETH to it to begin using our DApp.

As a second step, we highly encourage our users to enable Origin Messaging. Because this is a decentralized service, our buyers and sellers communicate directly with each other (without Origin in the middle). If you don’t enable Origin Messaging, it will be difficult to interact with counterparties in a transaction. Origin Messaging is a great way for buyers and sellers to chat with each other (e.g. to ask questions about the item for sale, to provide a shipping address, etc.) in a highly secure fashion; messages are encrypted and only the sender and receiver can decrypt them.

As a final step, we recommend you setup an Origin profile — this is optional but whether you are a seller or a buyer, a strong profile gives higher confidence to the other party that the transaction is legitimate. To do so, simply click on the Account icon on the top right of the DApp. Provide your name, anything you want to share about yourself, and a picture. Note that this information will be made public on the blockchain so make sure you are comfortable sharing the data you enter! Don’t forget to verify your email address, phone number, and/or your social media accounts — this is a great way to strengthen your profile. Note that Origin will show other users you have verified your phone number or email address, but will NOT reveal your actual phone number or other sensitive data. When ready, publish your profile so that other users can learn more about you before buying or selling with you.

You are now ready to start buying and selling on the Origin DApp!

As a buyer, you can quickly browse for listings. You can also search to query for specific items by keywords, category, and price.

As a seller, get started by clicking on the “Add a listing” button on the top of the DApp. Choose a category and enter a description and price for your listing. Good quality photos are highly encouraged in order to make your listing more attractive.

Micah walking through how to get started with the Beta DApp

Features included in this release

Here are release notes detailing the most important features of the Mainnet Beta release. Look forward to future posts that describe the main components of our platform in more detail.

  • Marketplace smart contract: Our new marketplace contract implements multi-step transactions, dispute management and rulings, optional affiliate commissions, and support of ETH and/or any ERC-20 tokens as payment currencies.
  • Origin token: OGN is an ERC-20 token that is integrated with our marketplace smart contracts. The token is meant to incentivize behaviors that will bootstrap the network and also protect against negative behaviors. Our first use case (many more are planned in future releases) is to allow sellers to boost their listings for higher visibility in the marketplace. This gives listings a higher chance of being sold successfully.
  • Search: The DApp now supports search. Use the new search bar at the top of the DApp to query listing data by keyword, category, and price. While listings are still loaded directly from the blockchain, our search capabilities are enabled by our open-source bridge server.
  • Arbitration: In case a conflict occurs between a seller and buyer, the DApp provides a workflow for dispute resolution. Currently Origin acts as the sole arbitrator on the platform, but we will be working on more decentralized solutions in the future.
  • Upgradability: We are using an abstraction layer using the concept of “adapters” and “resolvers” to support future upgrades of the different building blocks that constitute the platform. We believe it’s critical that we have the right foundation built into our initial contracts to rapidly iterate and improve upon our marketplace functionality, identity solutions, and interactions with off-chain listing data.
  • Developer-library improvements: We hardened our core JS library (origin-js) by implementing stricter validation rules (using JSON schema) of the listing data that is written to and read from IPFS.
  • User experience improvements: We streamlined many parts of the user experience (we know there is still a lot of work to do!)
  • Internationalization: Inline with our continued commitment to be a global platform from day one, our DApp is available in 20 languages.

Features that are not included in this release

Unfortunately, not all the features we wanted to squeeze into the release made the cut. We explicitly chose to leave these features out for now to ensure we could meet our deadlines and have a smooth and stable release.

  • Listing types: Fractional usage (e.g. homesharing, car rentals, services) and multi-unit (e.g. ticketing, e-commerce) listings are not supported yet.
  • Mobile app/wallet: While we have prototyped a native iOS app that we believe will be the centerpiece of our future mainstream adoption, we aren’t quite ready to release this into the world yet. We will use the web DApp to experiment and learn to inform ourselves of the essential features to build into our mobile app.
  • Advanced search: We left out the ability to search with additional filters, suggested queries, and support for some of the quirks of non-latin languages.
  • JS SDK: The API endpoints and functionality implemented by the origin-js core JS library are still a work in progress and not stable yet. Therefore, they are not yet ready for consumption by 3rd-party developers that plan to build DApps on top of the Origin platform.

Our future roadmap

Looking forward, we have a ton of work to do in Q4 and beyond. We like to think of ourselves as a quick and nimble startup with team members that are highly biased to action. Our roadmap constantly evolves, but here are our high-level product goals for Q4.

  • Make the Origin platform ready for our developer partners to build on
  • Learn from early data and iterate in order to markedly improve our DApp’s user experience
  • Launch our mobile app/wallet to streamline transactions and remove our dependency on Metamask
  • Support additional listing types
  • Harden our infrastructure for security and scalability benefits

Thanks to our community

We wanted to take this time to thank all of our supporters, from the tens of thousands of community members on our Telegram, WeChat, and Discord to our many investors and dozens of developer partners. Our dream to build a peer-to-peer commerce platform starts with your participation. We look forward to interacting with you across our various channels.

If you find bugs or have feature requests, please let us know at our Github or in the #bug-reports channel on our Discord. We’re relying heavily on initial user feedback to guide us in launching future iterations of the platform. We can only make the product better with your help!

Subscribe to our Medium so you don’t miss our follow up posts by members of our team that will do deep dives on the Origin token, arbitration, origin-js, and more.