Preamble

Idea: 168-paid-master-node
Title: Paid master nodes
Status: Limbo - On hold until after beta
Created: 2018-04-13

Summary

In Status, users are stakeholders. This means we pay and get paid based on services provided. This includes high-connectivity nodes, aka master node, which are used for things like offline inboxing. We choose to let users pay other peers for this service, as opposed to providing it for free and selling our users.

Swarm Participants

  • Lead Contributor: @oskarth
  • QA: @adan
  • Evaluation: @oskarth
  • Clojure Contributor: TBD
  • Go Contributor: @pilu
  • PM: @rachelhamlin
  • UX(R): @jpbowen
  • Designer: TBD
  • Community: @andytudhope

Risk:

  • Not enough Go and Clojure resources available

Counteract:

  • Create clear issues as bounties
  • Oskar start initial spiking out, be OK with slow progress
  • Proactively reach out to individual devs to try to free up resources

Product Overview

This idea takes off where https://github.com/status-im/ideas/blob/master/ideas/001-offline-inboxing.md ended. It provides an SNT payment layer for usage of master nodes.

Users want basic services such as offline inboxing to just work, while at the same time paying for the resources they are using, as opposed to being a product sold to other businesses. Users also want to make SNT so they can use it in the app.

Currently offline inboxing is a free resource, subsidised and run by us. This is sub-optimal for many reasons, and goes against our vision of letting users pay for things they use, as well as incentivizing this capability to be decentralized.

Offline inboxing is run on mail server aka master nodes. In the scope of e.g. 86-push-notifications push notifications will likely be served through that as well.

User stories

User story 1: Bobby Blockchain runs a master node and gets paid by peers in SNT for services provided.

User story 2: Alice pays SNT to a master node in order to get offline inboxing for some period of time.

Out of scope for this idea:

User story 4 is sufficiently different in focus to warrant a separate swarm. Since it might be a pre-requsite from a UX point of view, the behavior in user story 1 and 2 should be toggle-able with a flag. I.e. we make sure we can still provide free service for the time being.

In addition to these defined user-stories, additional ones might be carved out, such as communication of quality of service and price discovery mechanisms. It is unlikely these will be relevant until user story 1 and 2 are solved, but this swarm will decide if it makes sense to continue working to solve additional user stories after 1 and 2 are done.

Product Description

Currently we have a screen that shows mail servers available. Each mail server will have a basic monthly fee attached to it. This can start off as static but evolve to being dynamically communicated through our application protocol. In auction terms, this is an, initially static, bid process.

Comment from review: Are there any selection criteria for to show users other than price? Eg users/transaction, ratings, reviews, quality?

As a user picks a mail server they are asked to sign a transaction in order to pay for offline inboxing for 1..N months. Sending this transaction counts as paying for this mail server. This is similar to paying for an app or service in the Apple store.

Mail server needs to be able to process this transaction and have logic for whitelisting this user’s enode for some period of time.

How renewal will happen is not specified yet.

Comment from review: May be out of scope for this idea but perhaps we’ll want to experiment with different payment models for time - e.g. Alice pays until she runs out of SNT OR N offline messages OR set period of time.

Solving the initial user stories doesn’t require any proof of message delivery or quality of service.

How reputable a given mail server is will thus be communicated outside of the app, at least initially. That is, instead of having the equivalent of an App Store rating system, or seed ratio on a Torrent site, this can be communicated through other means. For example: Riot, Reddit, public status channels, etc.

Note on Status Desktop

Status Desktop isn’t a requirement for this idea as a user can run a mail server from the command line. It is an additional user story that shouldn’t be too difficult to implement, but it isn’t clear how desirable it is, assuming that high availabity of mail servers is a requirement.

Terminology

Mail server / wnode / master node are used interchangably. Master mode is the “soft” user term (invented by the community!), mail server and wnode are technical terms on status-go side (wnode currently falling out of favor).

Relevant reading

  • https://status.im/whitepaper.pdf
  • http://nakamotoinstitute.org/static/docs/micropayments-and-mental-transaction-costs.pdf

Requirements & Dependencies

(Lack of consensus on this point: Possibly onboarding SNT give-away logistics.)

Pre MVP - initial investigation and spec

Goal Date: 2018-05-07

Description:

  • [-] Recruit additional roles: Designer, Clojure dev (yenda?), QA
  • Spec out rough UX(R) track (jpbowen)
  • Spike out technical requirements: - [x] deny requests to mail server as a function of peer and envelope - [x] send STT payments and get basic proof - [/] later: inspect basic proof (tx id initially) (- [ ] inspect envelope in what format for basic proof of payment?)
  • Create issues (and bounties) necessary for MVP
  • Communicate proof of payment / accept/deny thinking at kick off call

Probably not enough time: (- [ ] Understand changes to requestMessage envelope required)

Initial investigation to understand how to scope MVP (WIP):

Project board: https://github.com/orgs/status-im/projects/28

Also see:

  • https://github.com/status-im/status-react/issues/4003

Update 2018-05-07

PreMVP mostly complete. In terms of next steps, main focus is on Beta. Swarm on hold until then. When work is resumed, we have:

  • UXR initial wireframes
  • https://github.com/status-im/status-react/pull/4120 PR by bounty from status-react
  • Missing initial status-go side MVP
  • Should deploy custom mail server into cluster, even minimal
  • Meeting notes in some doc somewhere

Minimum Viable Product

Goal Date: 2018-XX

Description: Spike out most basic proof of concept possible for payment / service on or off in Clojure and Go, using SNT test token (STT) on Ropsten.

Maybe: signing of txid with address.

Dates

Separate tracks:

  • UX(R) / design
  • Go dealing with app protocol / payment

Goal Date:

Description:

Testing Days required:

Success Metrics

  • Users running mail servers and transacting. Target: 10

  • Users paying for a mail server. Target: 50% of D7 retained users, or 20% of all users.

  • Daily Transacting Users. Target: 35 ((5000 DAU TARGET*0.2 TX%)/30 PAY-MONTHLY).

OKRs: 2.4: >20% of users send a transaction (P1:P3) 3.1: 2x launched SNT use cases (P2:P0)

Exit criteria

Solving the two initial user stories. If the swarm deems it useful to continue, new specific user stories will be specified and inform the exit criteria.

Supporting Role Communication

  • Community for recruiting users to run mail server.

  • Finance for SNT utility approval.

  • Marketing for ‘you are not the product’ rationale communication.

Appendix: Constraints / objections

  • No one will pay for it.

This is a free resource. If we want to subsidise it and the concern is people not wanting to stay / top up to use basic funcrtionality we can solve it by giving free SNT as part of SNT onboarding.

  • Free SNT?!

Yes. For a closed beta limited to 40k people, we can limit the free amount to 5 SNT per person, which limits the downside risk this to 200k SNT ($20k at the time of this writing).

  • What about fraud?

We can use already collected emails as identity and dedup by it. Max downside per email (pre-signed up) is 5 SNT, and to get it out would still be a transaction, as well as a signal to us.

  • How does this scale?

For open beta we can figure out how to deal with SNT onboarding by e.g. using trustlines.


For more on rationale of SNT utility, see the whitepaper. Providing onboarding SNT also furthers distribution of tokens as well as transactions on their own, a good.

This is a hypothesis, but this is the whole basis of Status.

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