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Cover image for Progress report - #2 - AgnostiPay
Jasper Voorendonk - AgnostiPay for AgnostiPay

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Progress report - #2 - AgnostiPay

Project Update

Hi there! This second Progress Report concludes our first Prototype phase, where we did research and searched for technical validation. We will provide an enriched summary of our previous monthly updates and add some updates that happened during March and May. All the last monthly reports of our Financial Service Research Grant you can read back here:

Our open-source project AgnostiPay aims to create decentralized financial connector technology based on 'transaction playbooks' that can be sent between end-users and direct client-side integrations with end-users' own financial services providers (e.g., banks, exchanges, wallets) to execute transactions and request account information. Any developer or company can add the AgnostiPay SDK to their own app, node or website to enable reduced payment fees and add more convenience for end-users. Via the ‘AgnostiPay ILP Provider’ we plan to build, the fiat network is connected to all possible ILP nodes. This can increase the number of transactions sent to the ILP network.

As the amount of open-source integrations with financial service providers worldwide in the AgnostiPay library grows, the value of the project will increase and it will be easier for developers to add their own local financial service provider to the open-source library.

AgnostiPay acts as a financial service integrator and enabler of ILP technology. We support the adoption of ILP by being on the client-facing or people side of the tech stack. AgnostiPay can help ILP node and wallet builders enable their end-user to directly connect their financial service providers (e.g. the end-user's current banks, exchanges, and wallets) to ILP nodes. For the end-user, this means they can manage all their financial services conveniently and unlock currency-agnostic (peer-to-peer) payments.

"In other words, AgnostiPay connects people on the client-side and ILP connects ledgers on the back-end side, combined they can make agnostic value exchange possible for anyone worldwide."

In relation to our original grant proposal, one of the important learnings was that we discovered that adding a centralized 'federated service' (a concept explained in our technical White Paper) into the network can be a pivotal catalyst for the adoption of AgnostiPay and ILP. As this centralized service would need to be licensed by the local authorities, we currently have three scenarios to get to this license.

  1. ‘Build’ it from the ground up (requiring a hefty investment and lead time).
  2. ‘Buy’ a licensed player (option pending, higher initial cost, drastically decreasing go to market time. Reach out for an inquiry).
  3. ‘Collaborate’ with a licensed player (option pending, currently the favorable road as it allows us to focus on the core AgnostiPay technology).

During the next MVP building phase we shall make a decision which of the three options will be the best fit to reach adoption efficiently.

Progress on objectives (and related key activities)

In our original research proposal, we set out to validate three objectives: technical feasibility, gain developer & community engagement, and discover business value.

Technical Feasibility Update

The most important of our three objectives was proving the technical feasibility of initiating payments and getting account information, client-side and based on end-users' credentials. During our research phase, we have proven this feasibility by building a technical demo consisting of an example webshop and a mobile app with the AgnostiPay core technology installed and executing direct account-to-account transactions.

In addition, we condensed our research over the last couple of months into a 25-page technical White paper. This collaborative and iterative process helped us to discover that adding an Open Payments integration as a 'provider' gives us an elegant way to speak ILP and communicate directly with Rafiki (and, in time, Dassie) nodes. In return, this enables Rafiki nodes to connect with an end-users own financial services that they are currently using.

As described in the introduction, and as a result of the same iterative research approach, we also discovered that by adding a centralized - and licensed - federated service, we could provide a pivotal catalyzer for the adoption of AgnostiPay and ILP. This centralized federated service, that will store end-user credentials on a central server, could be a great way to directly offer a GNAP enriched ILP communication service, fully covering the European market. It can also increase end-user convenience and a way to conveniently connect a Rafiki node - all based on the open-source code to decrease costs drastically and stimulate adoption and contributions for the benefit of all.

Developer & Community Engagement

The second most important objective was gaining developer and community engagement, both in a local and international context. The engagements and interactions helped us to better understand, research and communicate the core components and technical ideas behind AgnostiPay. We have various data points to share. For example, over 50 developers and stakeholders worldwide have helped us write our Technical White paper. In the last couple of months, we also have gotten reach outs of new enthusiastic developers that want to chip in with building the open-source code. We are grateful for the genuine interest and are building a group of developers to help us build and grow in the next phase.

Lastly, we have successfully organized the first version of our Open Tech Jam Sessions event. In this event we have shared our project's progress and invited developers from our local community to take part in an open-panel discussion, which invited the audience to take part in the conversation. The event was wrapped up with great drinks and bites, resulting in an exhilarating evening where the participants enjoyed conversations on AgnostiPay, Interledger and open-source technology. The event resulted in new developers wanting to actively join us on our shared journey and new stakeholders in the Dutch ecosystem offering us access to new potential use cases to showcase value. In short, we look forward to our following events in the coming period!

Business Engagement

The third most crucial objective in this phase was clarifying the problem-solution fit, underpinning the long-term feasibility of AgnostiPay open-source technology. Since we allocated more time to talk to the various stakeholders, we gained a deeper understanding of the various underlying problem-solution fits. Especially for webshops, (webshop) SaaS platforms and fintech (wallet) apps. These areas will be the main focus of our MVP SDK in the next MVP phase.

Over the last three months, we also experienced a significant increase in interest and traction by market players. In the local context this was - among other factors - significantly increased by attending the Dutch two-day event called the Web Winkel Vakdagen, one of the largest conferences for webshops in Northern Europe. All in all, this helped us create a list of leads that want to use our SDK once it is ready and are committed to contributing to our consortium of stakeholders, which both helps us with a "buy signal" of our technology proposition and as a possible way to ensure the long term feasibility of the open-source project.

Moreover, the business and the community engagement in this first Research phase also helped us to create an additional backlog of potential use-cases. During the next phase we will order them in relation to how much value they can add to ILP and AgnostiPay.

Communications, marketing and business development

We want to highlight our exciting communication and marketing efforts. During the early stages of our project, we prioritized direct interaction with stakeholders in our local ecosystem to gain valuable insights and feedback. Additionally, we created informative and engaging communication materials in Dutch for webshop owners and webshop SaaS parties.

To share our vision and technical knowledge with the broader public, we developed a comprehensive Vision paper, which was shared on the ILP forum, and a detailed White paper, which we shared with over 50 stakeholders in the ecosystem. As this information can be substantial, we plan to make it more easily digestible for a wider audience by sharing it in an open git book format, providing an initial answer to feedback received.

We hosted our first successful event in line with our commitment to community building. Attendees were thrilled with the community's incredible energy, food, and enthusiasm. We are already looking forward to hosting our next event, which promises to be even more exciting and engaging.

What’s next?

In the MVP building phase we will take the initial research work and product concept to the next level by developing a MVP that addresses real-life use cases. The next stage will involve stakeholders collaborating to ensure that the product meets their needs and adds value in real-world scenarios.

As we continue to develop our product, we will continue to grow our list of leads interested in using or distributing our SDK. This will involve targeted outreach and engagement with potential partners, stakeholders and end-users, as well as ongoing efforts to improve and refine our messaging and value proposition. To support these efforts, we will establish an AgnostiPay "Technical Service Provider" (TSP) as a separate entity, in addition to the open-source code foundation, during the MVP phase. The TSP will be able to provide DevOps to businesses looking to use our technology commercially.

Finally, we will be directing more energy toward growing our community of developers and stakeholders. This will involve creating opportunities for engagement and collaboration, such as hosting events, participating in online forums and communities, and providing resources and support for developers interested in working with our technology. Building a solid and engaged community will be critical as we prepare for the scale-up phase of our project, and we are committed to creating an inclusive and supportive environment for all stakeholders involved in our ecosystem.

What community support would benefit your project?

Community support is critical to the success of our project, and we welcome any feedback or contributions that can help us improve and grow. Specifically, we are looking for support in two areas:

Firstly, we would appreciate any critical feedback on our White Paper, which is a crucial resource for understanding the technical aspects of our project. We welcome all feedback from stakeholders interested in engaging with our project and contributing to its growth and development. While we plan to publish the White Paper in a dynamic open git-book format in the future, it is currently available in Google doc format.

Secondly, we are actively seeking talented and passionate developers interested in contributing and participating in the next MVP phase. A diverse and engaged community of developers is essential to the success of the AgnostiPay project, and we are committed to providing opportunities for collaboration and engagement. If you are a developer interested in working with our technology and contributing to the next development phase, we would be thrilled to hear from you. Please don't hesitate to message us to learn more about how you can get involved!

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