The Blog

Technical Updates for The Block beta 0.3

At BitBoost we’re always working hard to design a product that our users will enjoy. Our talented development team has made many improvements this summer and we will continue to innovate until we’re ready to bring The Block to the Etherium live blockchain in 2018. As our beta testing period is approaching fast, we’ve doubled our efforts to offer our users a positive first experience. Here are many of the technical updates we’ve implemented in recent weeks.

The Block Beta 0.3 Technical Updates

  1.  The Dashboard is now the default view.
  2.  Categories changes: in lists views, empty categories are hidden, active categories show number of items in each category, categories are sorted by popularity. Items with unrecognised categories are now marked as “Uncategorised.”
  3.  Fixed bug with endless preloader unless app was clicked on login.
  4.  Saved addresses functionality added. Now in Preferences you can add some addresses you frequently use for delivery, which will appear in autocomplete in item view when ordering an item.
  5.  On Dashboard page added 2 new UI elements: Announcement and News. Announcement is current information about “The Block” project with a title, a description and a link to inner application page.
  6.  Added new page for detailed information for News.
  7.  Pre-listing legal information + checkbox added both on “List New Item” and “New Item Listing Wizard” pages.
  8.  Feedback link now leads to BETA info page.
  9.  Application structure slightly changed, Nav Menu rearranged.
  10.  2 Factor Authentication functionality has been removed.
  11.  Breadcrumbs text changed on multiple pages.
  12.  Alias page improved, now user can change, remove, and search through aliases listed.
  13.  Fixed bug where expired items were showed on View All and Category view.
  14.  Change alias icon removed from “Chat with” block.
  15.  Previously unviewed updates on purchases and orders are now light up first time user sees them.
  16.  Advanced mode button on listing item wizard is now a link.
  17.  Changed texts, added currency on listing item wizard.
  18.  Added back the ability to buy multiple number of items.
  19.  Advanced mode of listing item now has a link to the Item Listing Wizard.
  20.  Fixed error on multiple clicks on “Shipping required” on advanced mode.
  21.  Fixed error where arrow was pointed in wrong direction.
  22.  Dashboard refactor in progress.
  23.  Icons for multiple pages updated to appropriate ones.
  24.  Fixed bug where clicking on category on detail item led to white screen.
  25.  Fixed markup glitches on different languages.
  26.  Suggestion component refactored. Added category and price, added new logic for sorting.
  27.  Multiple translations changed to fit different types of languages and use of variables.
  28.  Item lists have been moved into another unified component, a little restyled, bugs fixed with icon overflowing text and other CSS glitches.
  29.  Fixed error when category was appearing wrong on detailed item page
  30.  Added margin between letter to seller and suggested component.
  31.  Added placeholder on empty tables of active items, sold items, and my purchases.
  32.  Expired and active items functionality fixed.
  33.  Active items list now shows items’ expiration dates.
  34.  Active item relisting page reworked.
  35.  Breadcrumbs are cut out from the whole app.
  36.  Not working/not tested functionality cut out of preferences page.
  37.  Added connection error handler, now does not allow use of application when disconnected from internet.
  38.  Style fixes on Wallet, added preloader.
  39.  Logo changed to The Block icon
  40.  Small bug fixes, style fixes, refactored code. and performance updates.



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BitBoost announces token sale for The Block

We at BitBoost are happy to announce the dates for the token pre-sale of The Block, our marketplace built on the Ethereum blockchain. We will offer BitBoost Tokens, called BBT, that will be needed to sell items through The Block. Pre-sale will begin on September 18th. Our main sale will be held in October.

The Block is a blockchain-based marketplace, built on the Ethereum public blockchain. The BitBoost token (BBT) will provide sellers with listing power: BBT will be used to pay the listing fee, in order to sell items on The Block. A total of 100 millions tokens will be issued on the Ethereum blockchain using a smart contract. Our BitBoost token (BBT) will comply with the ERC20 standard and will be freely transferable on the Ethereum platform. These tokens will be the only BBT ever issued. Token allocation during the sale will be as follows:

  1.  25 million BBT (25%) will be sold in the forthcoming token pre-sale. BitBoost aims to raise $5 million in this initial funding round. Subsequent token sales will be made at significantly higher prices.
  2.  41 million BBT (41%) will be reserved for the main token sale and future token sales and activities (see below).
  3.  12 million BBT (12%) will be reserved for future contributors (see below).
  4.  10 million BBT (10%) will be reserved for the founding team and partners, of which 8 million (8%) will not be tradeable for one year.
  5.  5 million BBT (5%) will be reserved for early angel token owners and advisors, of which 3 million (3%) will not be tradeable for one year.
  6.  5 million BBT (5%) will be reserved for existing NxT Freemarket holders.
  7.  2 million BBT (2%) will be reserved for bounty campaigns.

As stated above, 41 million BBT will be reserved for the main token sale. If part of these tokens are not sold during the main token sale, they will be used for future sales and will be locked for a minimum period of one year. These remaining tokens will be sold at a significantly higher price than the initial pre-sale of 25 million and the main-sale tokens. They may specifically be used for:

  1.  Continuous business development of the BitBoost ecosystem after the launch of The Block, including strategic or business users, or token swaps with other blockchain and distributed ledger projects.
  2.  Legal fees, compliance, accounting, and consultancy expenses necessary to ensure that BitBoost continues to operate in a lawful and commercially sound manner.
  3.  Various marketing and promotional activities for BitBoost, such as media exposure, events, and PR.

Compensation for future contributors to The Block from the 12 million tokens reserved for this purpose is at the sole discretion of the founding team. Details regarding future asset sales or related joint ventures to fund the development of The Block advanced features will be announced in due course. The global promotion of the platform will be addressed at a later time, once all features outlined in the roadmap have been implemented.

For further information, please read our white paper. If you are interested in our token sale, please subscribe below to our token sale mailing list. We will send you updated information about this matter on a regular basis. Thank you for joining us on this first step to redefine e-commerce!!

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Tommaso Bonanata joins BitBoost as new advisor.

Today we are would like to announce Tommaso Bonanata as a new member of BitBoost, joining our advisory board. He is a seasoned professional in the fields of Market Analysis and Financial Engineering. Tommaso brings his professional know-how from the traditional financial markets. He worked as an Equity Fund Manager for Julius Baer and GAM for over 9 years, focusing on Emerging and Frontier regions. His passion for Digital Assets and Blockchain Technology started in late 2013; today he is a full-time investor and advisor in the crypto space, bridging the gap between the legacy and digital worlds.

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Our purpose as a company

Blockchain technology is here and it is transforming the world. Visionary developers within the blockchain community are laying the foundation for a decentralised internet to improve reliability, security and freedom. At BitBoost, we are convinced that this will enable a whole new level of applications and services, making the world a better place for everyone. We’re working hard to make the dream come true!

Right now we are developing a truly free digital trade platform, in which anyone can conduct business peacefully, regardless of their location, and without interference or censorship. It’s an app called The Block, our first contribution, and a big step towards a decentralised Internet. The Block is a marketplace that gathers the best features of a regular digital marketplace (such as Ebay) and combines them with the advantages of blockchain technology: it’s secure, always online, free from middlemen, and community driven. Simply put, we are redefining e-commerce. Here’s our CEO, Paul Mahone, to tell you more:

We’re trying to make a difference out there. Please share this with others. We’d greatly appreciate it!

BitBoost joins Crypto Valley association

The BitBoost team is pleased to announce our entry into the Crypto Valley Association, located in Zug, Switzerland. Crypto Valley is an independent, government-supported organization able to take full advantage of Switzerland’s strengths in order to build the world’s leading blockchain and cryptographic technologies ecosystem.

As a part of the Crypto Valley Association we will have the opportunity to assist in the development of policy regulation, the establishment of a basic support structure for startups, and the creation of a medium for investment opportunities. We look forward to the growth of available technologies fostered by the Blockchain LivingLab for proof-of-concepts, pilots, and prototypes. And, we’re anticipating many interesting future events being organized by the CVA.

We are excited to be a part of the push towards a stronger global presence for our community members. With our own beta of The Block almost ready for release (a September date will be announced soon), we feel well-positioned to contribute to this community in a meaningful way.

Tori Arcuri joins BitBoost

BitBoost is pleased to announce the arrival of  Tori Arcuri on the team.
For over 20 years, Tori has been a sought-after consultant for business development. Her background in psychology, design, and entrepreneurship has given her the ability to craft strong, positive relationships between businesses and customers. Tori joins us as our Director of Operations as we prepare to launch our first app. She believes that innovations, like The Block, are the world’s best chance for a fair and vibrant future, and she looks forward to hearing from our beta testers as we begin our journey to redefine e-commerce!



What benefits can buyers and sellers expect from The Block?

As explained in previous articles, the BitBoost team is preparing to release a blockchain-based marketplace which will redefine global e-commerce. It’s called The Block, and it’s special because it’s decentralized. This is a relatively new concept in e-commerce that deserves some explanation, especially regarding its benefits to users.

The Block works within the Ethereum blockchain. It’s fully encrypted and has many features intended to facilitate e-commerce through the blockchain, such as:

  1. Users can buy and sell with confidence. The Block is a fully encrypted e-marketplace with escrow service for safe currency transfer. In the case of a dispute, this feature allows third-party Arbiters to check communications and transactions for fast resolution. If there is no dispute, transactions are completely private.
  2. We are building a reputation system for both buyers and sellers so everyone will be accountable for their actions.
  3. Our search engine is fast and accurate.
  4. It’s easy to make and receive payments in ether, the currency of Ethereum. For user convenience, we are working on adding a fiat payment system as well.
  5. The Block is always accessible. We never go offline.
  6. You’ll love the freedom of this e-commerce marketplace. No one can forbid another user from buying or selling anything on The Block. Our filtering system will allow users to eliminate illegal, or just unwanted, items from their searches. Users will only see what they choose to see based on their personal preference and the laws of their jurisdiction.
  7. The Block is easily customizable. It’s been translated into 20 languages and we’re looking to add more. We offer 2 built-in themes and users will be able to create more. And, of course, there’s our filtering system as mentioned above.
  8. Our interface is intuitive, friendly, and we’re consistently adding features to improve user experience.
  9. Since less infrastructure is needed to run our app than centralized marketplaces, buyers will pay much lower fees to use The Block.

Those are the most important features of The Block. But, what are the advantages to buyers and sellers? Depending on market niches, people will discover many reasons to use The Block but we’ll list two major benefits here:

  1. For Sellers, there is one low fee for listings and no hidden costs.
  2. Buyers will appreciate that our system is entirely private.

By designing a decentralized marketplace, BitBoost seeks to place all the best features of e-commerce into the hands of our users while removing some of the headaches. We understand that many small retailers, distributors, and manufacturers move onto the internet hoping for a new, profitable sales channel. They are attracted by the promises of lower overhead and access to a broader customer base. Big marketplaces can fulfill both of these needs but charge high fees. Since e-commerce itself is a low-margin sales channel, high fees can cannibalize most of the profits. Many retailers move their businesses online, as a matter of marketing, but earn very small (if any) profits from these platforms. By the way, the same can be said for any internet service, as high fees and abuse of power are common practices among the well-established companies.

This is where The Block´s much lower fees are a significant advantage. Sellers will benefit from using e-commerce sites with broad customer attraction, without the pain of high fees eating their profit margins. Since the blockchain allows us to reduce maintenance cost to a minimum, our users will enjoy a much more profitable channel for their businesses.

Buyers will also benefit. Usually, they come into e-commerce marketplaces seeking convenience and a wider range of products than they could find at local stores. However, most marketplaces will collect and store all your personal information, which they will use for their own profit, either selling it to third-party advertisers or spamming you to spend more money. Although data protection laws empower users to manage their personal data, companies have found ways to legally overcome this barrier. Do you know that by accepting terms and conditions on any website you are probably giving companies the authorization to sell your personal data? Often, users don’t read these tedious disclaimers, and the people gathering your data know it.

Many users find these trackers, personal data gathering techniques, and spam advertising to be annoying at the very least. Users are no longer tolerating companies that gather, store, and sell their personal information in order to spam them later with unwanted emails and ads. An increasing number of internet surfers use ad blockers. Privacy is a growing concern, and in fact, some people have called ad blockers the biggest boycott in history.

The Block’s users will never be tracked. Personal data will not be collected. You will not receive unwanted ads from BitBoost. This simply will not happen as it goes against our policy of providing our users with a client-centric experience. At the same time, anyone using The Block will find an easy and reliable purchasing experience, very similar to centralized marketplaces. They will enjoy all the benefits of using a big marketplace, without the big privacy invasion.

These are the most significant benefits for both users and sellers of The Block. Since the blockchain is still relatively new, we are confident that many more beneficial applications of this technology will arise. As often happens in life: once a door is opened, many more paths appear. At BitBoost we are opening a big new door for everybody and we would like to encourage you to find your path, through blockchain-based e-commerce. Join us in this endeavor!

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BitBoost partners with Beyond Visuals to deliver the best user experience.

BitBoost is pleased to announce a new partnership with Beyond Visuals, a design company which will help us to deliver the best artwork and design to our clients, improving their overall experience.

Since 2013, Beyond Visuals has worked with the blockchain projects Komodo, InstantDEX, Skynet, Incent, Chronobank, and Waves to craft branding as well as provide graphic images for web pages, ads, and social media. Beyond Visuals also specializes in UX/UI development for websites and apps.

We fully understand that a friendly, hassle-free product is critical to a satisfying user experience. We strive to provide this. Users can download The Block from our website and start buying/selling items in minutes. It’s easy to make and receive payments. Delivery and receipt of purchased items is simple. Our commitment to service extends beyond The Block itself to our social media presence, keeping you informed and up-to-date.

Beyond Visuals is already helping us to deliver our message clearly through social media, images, and blog design. The Block’s logo, BitBoost branding, and social media images are the most visible results of this alliance. Beyond Visuals will be a valuable asset for the future, helping us to craft the best user experience possible. To see this collaboration for yourself and to receive BitBoost updates, subscribe to our newsletter.

Finally, do not forget about our roadmap for the coming weeks which will include:

  1. New partnership announcements.
  2. Beta release. If you want to become an early beta tester, please subscribe here.
  3. After the beta release, we will launch our token sale. Dates will be announced very soon.
  4. After the token sale, we will continue to grow our robust blockchain-based marketplace, The Block, with feedback from early adopters.

It’s an ambitious plan, and we’re looking forward to working with you to redefine e-commerce!

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At BitBoost we care about privacy. We believe that our users have the right to control and preserve their own personal data, so we do not store any of it. We can never sell or use your personal data for our own purposes. Moreover, we have implemented an encryption system to protect all personal data in The Block.

How does encryption work in The Block? Encryption works together with smart contracts. The Block utilizes Ethereum smart contracts to list items for sale, to organize the buy and sell process, to hold escrowed funds, and to allow communication between buyers and sellers. Smart contracts enable a transparent and safe trading process. Messages, mandatory to the purchasing process, are stored on the blockchain. Non-mandatory and private communications can be moved to an off-blockchain platform to reduce costs and improve speed. As all data on the Ethereum blockchain are publicly visible, private communication requires encryption.

The Block uses the elliptic curve Curve25519 for private-public keypair generation. On a high- level summary, each Curve25519 user has a 32- byte secret key and a 32-byte public key. Each set of two Curve25519 users has a 32-byte shared secret used to authenticate and encrypt messages between the two users.              

Advanced encryption standard (AES) is used for data encryption, and one-time private keys are generated for the buy session. One-time keys allow the buyer and seller to share their communication with a third party, e.g. the arbiter, without revealing their private keys. The Block shares private keys for both encrypted communication and Ethereum wallet generation. The private key is stored in the user data folder in JSON format, encrypted with the user’s password.

BitBoost does not use encryption to promote trade in illegal items or to foster a scam ecosystem, but does reflect lessons learned from the mass violations of privacy that have occurred in recent years. A decentralized, blockchain-based system is less prone to theft of personal information. But it needs strong cryptography to protect that data since it is exposed on the public blockchain.

Moreover, privacy through encryption does not mean anonymity. Users can exchange their personal information as needed through the app. This will be needed for delivery and invoicing purposes, as in any e-commerce service. But, unlike other e-commerce services, The Block does not store this data. It will be safely encrypted into the Ethereum blockchain. We will not control trading processes between buyers and sellers. We will just facilitate it, in a decentralized and secure way, through the blockchain. Encryption is an important means to achieve this goal. This is how encryption work in The Block!

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How does The Block work?

As a decentralized marketplace, The Block has no central server, no middlemen, and works fully encrypted. Nevertheless, this doesn´t mean that at BitBoost we didn´t carefully design the whole solution. Buyer and sellers need a supportive environment, where they can trade with confidence, and also a scalable one, so the most people can be included for the whole benefit. In other words, we have designed a simple yet effective ecosystem over the Ethereum Blockchain, where buyers and sellers can interact in a reliable and trustworthy manner, without restrictions. Basically, we have designed and ecosystem with four main figures: Buyers, sellers, arbiters, and third party providers. Let´s examine all them in detail.

Buyers at The Block

The buyers are the people willing to buy whatever they want from any of The Block sellers. Buyers can easily create an account, with full privacy, and they can pay with Ether, the “gas” powering the Ethereum blockchain. For this purpose, The Block includes an internal wallet for the ether. This wallet can be funded either from an external wallet, such as MyEtherWallet, or via Shapeshift, already included within The Block interface. We are already working on a solution for converting national currencies such as US dollars and euros directly into ether, as well as support for multiple wallets. Our main goal here is to make The Block as easy as we can for both cryptocurrencies and fiat payments, so everyone can use the currencies of their choice.

Sellers and arbiters at The Block

Sellers are those people who want to sell whatever they want through The Block. In this case, making an account is as simple as for buyers. In the future, we are planning to allow users to select their own alias within The Block, a string of characters and even an Ethereum address (customization for sellers pages is also on the roadmap). Every seller pays one dollar in BTT (Bitboost token) for every listing. This will be the only fee required to use The Block, and goes to support BitBoost financial expenses. This fee is far less than other marketplaces, and the reason is simple: we don´t require central servers and big IT infrastructures to run The Block. The Ethereum blockchain provides the whole system with the computational power needed. Nevertheless, we will develop new features, support our users and promote The Block to make it as big as possible. These minimal fees will be our financial fuel to do that.

Moreover,  we already have a reputation system, both for sellers and buyers. This is most needed, since marketplaces are based on trust, and reputational systems are great for this. However, sometimes there will be problems, so we have developed a new solution for disputes resolution, one great concern for buyers on marketplaces.

For this purpose, regular centralized marketplaces offer escrow systems, but it is not possible for The Block, since we are fully decentralized, to deliver the same service. Therefore, we have developed a new approach to escrow, fully decentralized and community-based, with the arbiters at its center. These are users who offer themselves to resolve disputes within The Block, and get paid for it. The system is easy: a seller may choose the option of arbitration in an item listing, even selecting the arbiter himself. In this case, the payment for the item is held in an escrow contract and will be only released to the seller if both parties indicate they are satisfied, or if a given period of time has passed without any complaint from the buyer. If there is some kind of dispute, the designated arbiter will be in charge of the escrowed funds, and determine to whom they should go.  When required, the session key can be shared with the arbiter so that he or she can access the encrypted communications between buyers and sellers. He may require a fee for this service, paid by the seller. Of course, arbiters do have a reputational system, so the community can filter the best ones and discard those with a record of bad behavior, and the fact that sellers are paying for escrowing is a real incentive for good practices.

Third party services at The Block

The last figure in this ecosystem is third party services. These are the people involved in the purchasing process, delivering services such as fulfillment and marketing. Arbiters should be also included within this group, but they are so important for the whole ecosystem that probably shouldn´t be considered as third-parties. Anyway, in this group, we can include several services, already crafted within The Block like ShapeShift, or partners such as PassLfix. Our plan is to choose all those third party providers that will add value to both buyers and sellers (so maybe you would like to drop us a line, just in case you want to be one of them). Third party providers will be paid both in ether and fiat, with a 15% fee to The Block team, in order to craft and support their integration into the marketplace.

This is basically the ecosystem we have created. Obviously, it is not a closed one. Once we are online, users will make The Block whatever they want, and we will closely work with them to fulfill their needs. We are at the beginning of a new era of blockchain-based e-commerce platforms, and nobody knows how it will be. We can make some predictions but anyway, the result will come from the demands of the community, not from our personal interest at BitBoost. A decentralized system should be like that and at BitBoost, we are facilitators, neither owners nor rulers. We won´t be the next feudal platform lord of the Internet!

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