/ Analysis

Request Network Review

The Payment Solution of the Future

Estimated time to read: 7 minutes

Introduction

Where modern initial coin offerings promise investors a cocktail of artificial intelligence, unlimited data storage, and a decentralised world revolution, it’s refreshing to find a project with a refined, straightforward goal, and then continually deliver—often ahead of their road map.

Simply put, this Berlin-based team is hoping to create the financial platform of the future and become the new standard for invoices, accounting, auditing, and payments in both cryptocurrency and fiat. And none of this looks out of reach; Request Network can already boast partnerships, well-implemented software, and a vehement community backing. In a market environment where vague token and mediocre forks being shaken from the ladder, it seems only a matter of time before Request Network sees a well-deserved jump in adoption.

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Use Cases

Request Network utilises an ERC20 token (REQ) to facilitate the system, but these are by no means necessary for product engagement. This will be used to create advanced requests, reward various parties who will help build the ecosystem and decide to charge in REQ, and most importantly, pay network fees which are burnt.

The drawback of current payments systems is that these are “inefficient and not ready for the digital and IoT (Internet Of Things) revolution that is taking place.” To address this, Request Network is seeking to take advantage of two of blockchain’s core features: transparency and immutability. The process is simple. Anyone will be able to request payment by sending a Request Invoice and the recipient will be able to immediately pay in a secure way, meanwhile while all the information is stored on a decentralised authentic ledger. This results in:

  • Cheaper, quicker and more secure payments,
  • A simplified process of becoming compliant with domestic regulations, and
  • The possibility of implementing secure automation processes.

This is an attractive proposal for people regularly engaged in business to business invoicing, where invoicing today still contains risk of human error when transcribing figures into Excel sheets, receipts, and tax files. Instead, Request Network allows accounting systems to be plugged in and automatically updated. Further, small to medium enterprises often expose themselves to bankruptcy while awaiting account settlements from clients and other businesses. To remedy this, Request Network are implementing a payment Reputation system so that businesses have a sense of surety when taking deferred payments from clients.

For online payments, users will benefit by not exposing their private information and avoiding hidden fees due to the network empowering them to validate a transaction before it is settled. Both these issues still commonly plague credit card purchases. Additionally, where third-party provider charges for services such as Paypal, Bitpay, and Stripe range between 1% to 7%, Request Network insists fees will ranges between 0.5% and 0.05%, decreasing as the system grows, a feature which should be a boon to worldwide adoption.

Again, the immutability of blockchain means that audits become a simple algorithmic check conducted in real-time with no possibility to falsify data. This automated process is more reliable and cheaper than the alternative of designating these responsibilities to a person or entire team. This isn’t aimed at replacing modern accounting systems, but improving them. The potential for widespread application is staggering, where government bodies, not-for-profits, and the public sector as a whole could use the Request Network to publish a transparent account of their expenditures.

Another selling point of the Request Network package are the advanced customisations (known as Request Extensions), an example of which are Continuous Payments. This is an option to break down lump sum payments into many micro payments, allowing for a continuous stream of currency to be transacted over a given time. Once adopted, this has the potential to redress the awkward gap between income and expenses, such as having a wage paid on the first of a month and owing rent by the end of the month. This means an account or wallet would be a more true and accurate reflection of assets versus liabilities, and in the opinion of Request Network:

Continuous Payments also allow for better finance management for the payer, and trust for the payee. For businesses, continuous payments bring a market trust between customers and suppliers.

Our rating: ★★★★★

Technology

Request Network operates on the the Ethereum blockchain and has segmented into three layers to meet their variable use cases. These layers are:

  1. The Core, which handles the ledger and the fundamental mechanisms of Request Network. This operates smart contracts, detections of payment completion, and currency conversion.

  2. The Extensions layer, which is open and allows outside developers to create their own extensions after paying a REQ fee. This section handles more complex transactions, such as accounting for taxes, depositing a certain percentage of your income into a superannuation fund or with a charity, and operating the aforementioned Continuous Payments.

  3. The Applications layer, which is situated outside the blockchain and allows third-parties (whether the Tax Office, a local bank, or Coinbase) to access the Request Network system as an intermediary to access invoices, account history, or peruse a person’s Reputation.

These internal functions of Request Network are still being improved, and an early February update saw additions to the network library and currency contracts. In short, it now only takes a few seconds to verify that a payment has been made, and the implementation of cryptographically signed requests means that a payee can send invoices faster and at no cost.

Our rating: ★★★★☆

Team

The core Request Network team is comprised of just seven people, all of which have a strong working history together. Before Request Network, the team embarked on a project called Moneytis, an online comparison site for cross border transfer services. The project won the ING startup pitch in 2015 and raised $500,000 while operational. While it is otherwise hard to guage how successful Moneytis was, it pivoted into what we know now as Request Network.

The founding team of Request Network have worked alongside each other for over seven years. Founder and CEO, Christophe Lassuyt, has a strong background in financial operations, graduating from NEOMA Business School in 2011. He went on to become an International Financial Manager at Amaris and furthermore the CFO at both Virtual and Neomy, before embarking on Request Network. His experience in traditional financial operations will certainly inform his approach to building relationships and scaling the project.

Moreover, Founder and CTO, Etienne Tatut, has a working history in the C-suit as CTO of Amaris in 2012 to 2013, where he grew the company from 400 to 1300 employees. Tatus has had extensive experience building blockchain solutions prior to founding Request Network, including as the head engineer at Qobuz where he developed blockchain solutions for a high resolution music streaming product. Tatus’ ability to build projects from the ground up, coupled with his experience scaling large companies (i.e. Amaris) may very well be the final ingredient necessary for Request Network's success.

Overall, the nimble Request Network team has an impressive mix of engineering and business development talent, which explains their textbook execution over the last six months.

Our Rating: ★★★★★

Key Partnerships

Request Network has shown itself to be a collaborative player in the cryptocurrency space by partnering with emerging and established projects. As a Y-Combinator backed company, Request has had the privilege of accessing a rich pool of relationships to drive business development opportunities, which has undoubtedly been to their benefit.

Request Network's long list of partnerships speaks volumes about the overall value proposition of their product. Lassuyt clearly understands the strategic benefit of brand building in external communities in order to market Request Network and drive demand in the short to medium term.

Among Request’s 20+ partnerships, the notable ones include:

  1. Bee Token: Bee Token was one of the most popular ICOs to date with over 50,000 people subscribed to their Telegram group prior to the crowdsale. If Bee Token can execute their vision and become the first truly ubiquitous consumer dApp, Request Network will be in a prime position to scale out their operations and become a standard in consumer decentralised payments.
  2. Kyber Network: Request Network is partnering with Kyber to be an additional payment option for users and merchants, another great example of strategically building their community and adding value on both ends.
  3. 0x, Civic & Aragon: Request Network will be building their platform on 0x, Civic and Aragon to provide (1) cross currency settlement, (2) a reputation system and (3) secure governance. This potent combination will ensure consumers have minimal barriers to entry while using Request but also with maximal security (which is a topic of contention in the cryptocurrency space at present).
  4. Quantstamp: From the outset, Request Network has shown they’re prioritising network security by engaging with Quantstamp to secure their network smart contracts. Quanstamp reported that Request Network “overwhelmingly passed (their) security audit”, which is exactly what investors want to see in an up and coming payments solution.

Request Network, on the whole, is a perfect example of how collaborations and partnerships should be executed. Lassuyt and the team have placed emphasis on creating net positive outcomes for all parties involved (i.e through community exposure or value added services). While the partnerships themselves are not earth-shattering, they are small and effective ways of showing product value which is exactly what early investors are looking for.

Our rating: ★★★★☆

Social

Even though two thirds of the Market Cap disappeared in the recent market downturn, Request Network has earnt the dogged support of a passionate community. While well-regarded top-50 tokens like Waltonchain see a following of several thousand, the Request Network dedicated subreddit is closing in on 33,000 subscribers. This may be to do with the high level of developer transparency, where bi-weekly Medium updates keep investors assured that technical development and road map goals are being continually ticked off. However, this overzealous backing combined with frequent updates had led to recycled updates and talking points being regularly rehosted to social media sites, often to the chagrin of the community.

Our rating: ★★★☆☆

Conclusion

The Request Network token price has been hit hard in previous weeks—even compared to other depreciating cryptocurrencies. However, the fundamental and technical underpinnings of the project are steadfastly positive: Legitimate problem solutions, a team with supported by winning entities, and a rabid community backing.

Request Network, simply by virtue of refining payment solutions, may not be the most compelling or exciting blockchain technology to hit the market. However, it will hopefully be an example to upcoming projects of how to choose a niche area of the cryptocurrency startup space, and then go above and beyond all expectations.

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Request Network Review
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