Tech Report for Week of September 24 2018

Version 1.4 of BitBoost Marketplace is under development now, and our devs are working hard to bring you a new app that addresses a major problem with the current state of Ethereum.

You may have seen in the news that the price of gas has skyrocketed several times recently. If you are unfamiliar with gas costs, think of them as the (usually very small) payments needed to use the Ethereum blockchain. For instance, doing some calculations or storing data have small costs associated with them, since these actions use the resources of the network. BitBoost Marketplace is on the Ethereum network, so its transactions require small costs to the network. The expected costs were around 0.02 USD for simple transactions, but more than once we saw that cost rise to 4.00 or 5.00 USD (!). This is clearly an unacceptable situation for our users, so we had to find a solution.

We have settled on IPFS (the Interplanetary File System), which is a project to create a cryptographically secure, global file system. BitBoost supports IPFS in its mission (we currently run 3 IPFS nodes, just to support the network), and this technology turns out to be a good fit for what we need. We are rebuilding the core of BitBoost Marketplace to use a hybrid system of data storage. IPFS holds most of the data (such as an item’s description), while the Ethereum blockchain holds only references to that data. The cost savings of this hybrid system are huge but it is also an engineering challenge, and our devs have put a lot of effort into building it.

New release technical updates.

Their work is about to pay off. We plan to release 1.4 in October. Even so, we understand that it’s hard to wait – we get frustrated too! So, our plan is to be more transparent with our community by providing an update every two weeks. You can expect the list to change as we add/complete tasks, learn about new options in available technology, and respond to coding challenges. Here is a list of what’s under active development right now:

  • Building new IPFS infrastructure to reduce gas costs for buyer and seller.
  •  Testing and bug fixing for purchase process with new IPFS infrastructure.
  • Testing and bug fixing for searching process with new IPFS infrastructure.
  • Updating notifications system to work with new IPFS infrastructure.
  • Adding Seller Storefronts to the app.
  • Adding Storefront settings UI to Preferences.
  • Building infrastructure for store names in blockchain and IPFS.
  • Recreating existing blockchain syncing system on IPFS.
  • Changing Preferences UI to accommodate IPFS features.
  • Updating in-app Help to keep it current with recent changes.
  • Adding gas estimates for transactions that use gas.
  • Updating transaction list to display incoming transactions (payments to user), not just outgoing transactions.
  • Building custom IPFS node network to support the app.
  • Bug fixing for “refund purchase” features.
  • Adding seller option for blockchain-only listings (without IPFS).
  • Theme options being removed until the upgraded theme system is finished.
  • Testing and bug fixes for in-app encrypted chat system
  • Preparing open source version of the app.

This new version of the app is entering the testing process, so it will be ready soon. Stay tuned!