Request 2022 – A Year in Review

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Key Insights

  • Network usage surged and recorded all-time highs in 2022, despite the prevailing market sentiment.
  • The network processed more than $272million worth of crypto payments as of December 2022.
  • 9 new payment chains were added, including Near a non EVM chain, bringing the total to 20.
  • New features such as payment streams, escrow, and batch payments are now available on the protocol.
  • In addition to Chainlink, the protocol integrated Flux, a cross-chain oracle system.
  • The protocol onboarded its 2nd builder, Huma Finance, a web3 native app powering invoice factoring.

👋 Request enthusiasts,

With 2022 behind us, we wanted to take a look back at what shaped up to be another defining year for the Request Network protocol.

In our whitepaper, we outlined our plans to build a decentralized ledger for world trade to empower businesses to have full control over their financial data. Request Network, our core, open-source protocol, is the open network for all payment requests, including invoices, salaries, expenses.

The 2022 bear market, albeit challenging, was nevertheless positive and encouraging with the protocol registering total cumulative payments of over $272million. The protocol was also enriched with new features for builders to have access to ranging from payment streams, escrow, batch payments and ‘shared encryption’ feature currently in progress.

Let’s dive into the main highlights of the year.

Network Usage

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2022 brought a tumultuous run of black swan events ranging from Terra to Celsius Network to FTX’s historic fraud. Despite the brutal macro-environment, Request’s on-chain activity proved resilient. We started the year with 4,211 transactions (2021: 603), reached an all-time high of 11,352 in May-22, and ended the year with 9,583 transactions (2021: 4,352). The average number of transactions in 2022 was 8,194 as compared to 1,834 in 2021, representing a 347% increase. The total number of transactions for 2022 was 98,323 as compared to 22,011 in 2021, representing a 347% increase.

To date, the majority of adoption has been through Request Finance, with their total cumulative payments amount now exceeding $272million, representing a 70% annual increase (2021: $160million). If you’re interested in having an all-in-one platform to run your web3 business, see Request Finance for crypto invoicing, payroll and expenses.

Ecosystem Update

In the post-FTX crypto industry, compliance has become inevitable. Running a business on crypto without compliance and transparency of stakeholders’ funds will prove difficult to gain customer confidence and adoption. Openness, transparency, decentralization, and on-chain verifiability, web3 values embodied by the Request protocol, will again be the main winning arguments for users.

Request Finance is only the first application built on top of the protocol. We envision hundreds of other applications from invoicing apps, payment apps, checkout systems, P2P invoice financing using the protocol, whereby these apps would interact with each other.

Powering Web3 Invoice Factoring with Huma Finance

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In line with building an ecosystem of interoperable financial apps on top of a payment requests technology, in 2022 we onboarded the second builder, Huma Finance, an income backed DeFi protocol, that enables the first web3 invoice factoring experience.

By using Huma Finance’s platform, anyone will be able to factor their Request on-chain invoices and receive up-front financing right away. Payment requests on the Request protocol are immutable and securely stored on IPFS, but to allow transferability of the payment requests to a finance provider, Huma Finance has upgraded the protocol to allow for a RequestNFT. A RequestNFT is a receivable credit primitive, designed to be a tradable cashflow.

For example, a user could issue an invoice in Request Finance and secure immediate financing through Huma. This is a prime use case of how the protocol empowers interoperability and how an on-chain invoice’s utility extends beyond simply paying and getting paid in crypto.

(Check out their whitepaper & official announcement to learn more)

New Payment Chains

In 2022, Request continued its progress on being blockchain agnostic, and added 9 new payment chains. We also achieved a historical milestone on adding the first non-EVM based blockchain, Near. Adding Near is important as it allows the Request Network protocol to be used beyond the Ethereum ecosystem.

The following payment chains were added in 2022;

With payment detection;

Without payment detection;

As an open-source protocol, any builder can save an invaluable amount of time by having instant access to the 20 payment chains available, 13 with payment detection and 7 without payment detection.

New Features

(i) Payment streams

Why wait to get paid at the end of every month when you get paid every second? In 2022, we partnered with and integrated Superfluid to power payment streams. With this new integration, Request Network builders can let their users pay or get paid for monthly subscriptions or salaries, forever with a one payment only. Builders would typically generate a first request, ask the payer to pay through their platform, and automatically generate subsequent requests. There is no limit to how many requests can be paid with one sole payment stream.

(ii) Escrow

The new escrow feature allows funds to be locked in a smart contract while a job is being performed, increasing the confidence that the request will be paid. The funds are automatically disbursed once both parties agree that the contract has been satisfied. Request Network apps can now let payers pay any requests through escrow, as a standalone proof of future payments. There are several conflict resolution methods implemented in the case of dispute or loss of private keys.

(iii) Batch Payments

Batch payments are a new util for dapp builders to let their payers pay multiple requests in one transaction, reducing fees and saving time. This works for both token-to-token payments but also with conversion using Chainlink price oracles. For example, the conversion allows requests denominated in fiat currencies to be paid in crypto.

In essence, batching of payment requests actually help Request Network builders to scale their product and have thousands of payment requests paid in a few minutes.

(iv) New Oracle solution, Flux Protocol

In order to support the expansion of our protocol, we decided to support Flux protocol, an alternative oracle solution, other than currently supported Chainlink. The value proposition on Flux is that any community member can participate in securing off-chain data brought to the blockchain, as opposed to only whitelisted node operators on other oracle solutions.

With an expanded protocol offering on oracle solutions, Request Network builders can choose the best of both worlds to allow to have their users creating fiat-denominated crypto payment requests.

(iv) Shared Encryption (In Progress)

By default, any information stored on the Request Network protocol can be read by anyone. For privacy reasons, the protocol supports end-to-end encryption, which means that no one outside of a request stakeholder (i.e its payer and payee) can read its information. For example, all invoices issued via Request Finance are not public even though stored on IPFS.

Today, the stakeholders of a request transaction channel can only be specified at channel creation. This means that invoices cannot be shared after they are created. To allow for invoices to be shared after creation, the protocol is currently being upgraded to allow adding stakeholders.

Even though the feature is not expected to be live soon, we invite interested builders to reach out to us on Discord to signal their interest on our upcoming proof of concept on shared encryption.

Migration to The Graph Decentralized Network

With The Graph announcing in 2022 that it intends to gradually discontinue its hosted service, and migrate apps to its decentralized network, Request shall be migrating its subgraphs as we are expecting higher uptime and overall performance as compared to the hosted service (So far only Request subgraph on Ethereum mainnet subgraph has been migrated).

By using the protocol, builders can have access to the protocol’s multiple subgraphs for indexing and organizing data from the Request smart contracts.

At Request, we have also opted to become curators as well to signal our own subgraph to indexers. To help improve the signaling strength of our subgraph, the Request community can participate in acting as Curators (Disclaimer – Please DYOR and understand the risks considerations for curating)

See official announcement to learn more here.

Request Connector

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In an attempt to showcase use cases of the protocol and allow high potential projects to incorporate decentralized payment flows, we launched Request Connector, an initiative to connect siloed financial systems under web3 principles.

So far, we launched a campaign on invoice factoring and we expect some of the other financial services to include on-chain credit reputation, DAO tools, e-commerce, payments processor and many more.

The foundation has budgeted an amount of $750k, payable in REQ tokens over the upcoming months, to be allocated to the community of builders and content creators. An amount of $600k has been estimated for project grants for projects integrating the protocol. The remaining $150k will be allocated to content creators showcasing the capabilities of the protocol.

Bounties to contribute to Request

In order to incentivize our community to participate in upgrading and showcasing the capabilities of the protocol, new bounties are periodically being added to Dework, a platform for decentralized work.

Bounties are currently available for Content Creation and Developer related issues. We strongly encourage the community to use the community suggestions area to propose any technical issues they wish to lend a hand on the protocol. All bounties will be paid in either stablecoins or the REQ token.

What else is in store for 2023?

We cannot build everything by ourselves. With the recent momentum of new builders joining the Request ecosystem, in 2023, our efforts will be geared to onboard additional builders on top of the Request technology.

Moreover, we will bring innovation on the privacy-interoperability spectrum, by allowing dapps and SAAS apps to adjust the quantity of information their users want to share. This will work in conjunction wih the release of the ‘shared encryption’ feature, letting users add participants to a request after the request has been created.

Since the above does not fully solve interoperability, we will also experiment with partially encrypted requests, mechanisms to prove one’s reputation without revealing all the details, mechanisms and infrastructure to send and manage requests for access and utilities to share many requests at once.

To all of you who have supported us in the past, today, and in the future, thank you for being a part of the journey.

About Request Network

The Request Foundation’s mission is to re-invent accounting and finance by creating a decentralized network of interoperable apps that promotes transparency and real-time reporting.

We inspire and educate developers, partners, and authorities to use the Request Network and build an ecosystem of financial applications together that is open source, seamless and interoperable.

We’re building a network that connects businesses around the world, giving them ways to make business at the speed of the internet.

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🖖
Umar
Community at Request