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The Status Network Quarterly Report - Q3 2020

The Status Network Quarterly Report - Q3 2020

[Thanks to our wonderful community of translators, you can read this report in Español, Português, 中文, Русский, Tagalog, and 한국어 <3]

1. Welcome

We’re back with another edition of The Status Network Quarterly Report. It has been a very busy few months with significant progress to the Status App, Nimbus, Waku, and the other projects across The Network.

The continued push to remove centralized third parties from our communication and provide tools that enable sovereignty of the individual remains our mission. Status and the community at large, understand that to achieve this mission requires work at various levels of the technology stack–from low level protocols and infrastructure such as Nimbus, to communication layers such as Vac and Waku, all the way to end user products such as Status and Keycard.

When looking at the various elements of The Status Network, one can see the broader vision of private, secure communication and how all the projects in the network come together in pursuit of this vision.

Designing, architecting, and building at each layer requires exhaustive effort to ensure security and privacy are native to the work and not simply an afterthought. This requires deep exploration of the tradeoffs between privacy and convenience with bleeding edge technology. This report will outline the progress made across The Status Network in Q3 2020.

2. Status app

Mobile app

Significant progress was made in Q3 in bringing the Status Mobile App closer to feature parity with some of the mainstream messengers and delivering a truly enjoyable UX.

On July 27th, the Status core contributors, ambassadors, and community members joined an all-hands roadmap planning workshop, to re-align on target audiences, goals, and a product roadmap that would enable the right product market fit. A recap of the session can be found here.

Off the back of this workshop, the team got to work and delivered:

In Q3, we had 155’817 new Android installs (according to Google’s Play Console) and 1’719 new installs on iOS (according to Apple’s App Store Connect). As mentioned in the Q2 report, we have been doing some work on how to measure the success of features and enhancements that are shipped in a product designed to protect user privacy but without in-app tracking or invasive analytics.

Security

On September 7th, a spam attack took place on some of the more active Status public channels such as #status, #support, #dapps, and #watercooler. The attack came in the form of very long messages being repeatedly sent to public channels, rendering them relatively unusable for the community.

Immediate, short term mitigation efforts were put in place while the team and community at large proposed long term solutions to solve the issue. As is the case with many challenges in Status, spam is a nuanced issue to solve given the decentralized architecture and the goals of surveillance-free and censorship-resistant communication. A breakdown of the history of spam and the implications in Status can be found here.

See the community’s reaction here, and join the open conversation about DoS and spam prevention in Discuss here.

Desktop App

Status Desktop Beta was re-introduced to the world on September 24th marking a massive moment for Status and the mission to provide private, secure communication no matter where you are – on the go with your smartphone or while at work at your desk.

Development of the desktop client resumed earlier this year with lengthy discussions about the desired architecture. Ultimately, the team decided to move forward with a new implementation using the QT toolkit xand the NIM language as it supports the long term goal of implementing Nimbus into the Status App.

Since then, the Status Desktop team has been pushing out regular updates. The product is still in beta but is feature pair with the mobile version and includes core functionality such as:

  • P2P messaging with Waku
  • Integrated Ethereum wallet - available to toggle in in advanced settings
  • Web3 DApp Browser - available to toggle in in advanced settings

The latest Desktop beta can be downloaded for Mac, Windows, and Linux here.

3. SNT utilities

Status Network Token (SNT) is the utility token that powers and incentivizes the Status Network.

There are currently 87,539 SNT holders, with 938,138 transfers made to date, and a total supply of 6,805m SNT. You can see more token metrics here, as well as our own SNT analytics dashboard over at: https://analytics.status.im/.

Checking in on our SNT utilities live and in development, we have:

Live

  • ENS Usernames - An ENS username is a stateofus.eth handle that users can register by locking up 10 SNT, giving them a more human readable username than a contact code. There are currently 4,807 ENS usernames registered by 1,761 owners, with SNT 47,870 locked in the contract.
  • Dap.ps - A curated list of DApps that relies on a unique economic mechanism to rank information without any centralized authority benefiting. Tons of new DApps featured on dap.ps such as:

Matcha - DEX Aggregator

Delphi -  Earn yield and farm tokens from different DeFi protocols

Omen - Fully decentralized prediction market platform built on top of Gnosi

Mesa - Open source interface for Gnosis Protocol

  • Teller - The source code and documentation for this project is live and available for open deployment at teller.exchange. The future of Teller is in the hands of the community.
  • Sticker Market - A marketplace for artists and creators to upload and monetize their design work by selling sticker packs directly within the Status app in exchange for SNT. Lots of cool new stickers available for free and for purchase with SNT
Kyber Network Sticker Pack
Kyber Network Sticker Pack

4. Product and swarm updates

Keycard

Keycard is a secure, contactless hardware wallet, which, when integrated with Status, enables users to:

  • Store their private keys offline on the Keycard device
  • Add hardware-enforced authorizations to all their transactions, and
  • Introduce two-factor authentication to log into their Status account.

In Q3, the team was exploring StatusPay, a layer2 open and decentralized payment network where users can buy goods at points of sale with crypto using Keycard. With a new focus on making the Status App more robust, the Keycard team is shifting focus back to the app with integration for iOS, tighter inclusion within the mobile app, and additional forms of distribution.

Learn more about Keycard and get your own at keycard.tech.

Embark

Active work on the Embark Framework has been on pause, as the Embark team has been focused on building the Status Desktop app, as well as integrating Embark with Status, so no updates to report for this edition.

Nimbus

The Nimbus team continues to push Eth2 forward with some significant progress in Q3. As noted in the latest team update:

  • Announced our 0.6 alpha release -- Hope. This is the first audited and stable release of our beacon node software. We’re on the path to mainnet now; there will be several more important releases that build off this one before mainnet launch.
  • Fixed most of the issues raised in the first phases of the audit.
  • Completely revamped and updated the Nimbus book (the main port of call for all validator related documentation).
  • Introduced a new, simpler sync that greatly speeds up syncing time: anyone can test it out by updating to the latest devel, removing your database (make clean-medalla) and resyncing.
  • A special database pruner to help you prune your existing database.
  • Multiclient interop scripts are working as expected with other clients: we are now able to start a fleet of Lighthouse, Nimbus, and Prysm nodes for local testing.
  • Moving forward with plans to integrate Nimbus into Status-desktop and eventually the Status mobile app. This is how Nimbus will be spread to the community. Waku is the first step here -- the chat protocol works on top of Waku; Waku v2 is planned to be Nim-first.

The open source security, which was the first of its kind, is coming to a close with reports from participating auditing teams from ConsenSys, NCC, and Trail of Bits. A detailed report is forthcoming.

As seen in this tweet, Status and the Nimbus team independently verified the legitimacy of the ETH 2.0 Deposit Contract at the address: 0x00000000219ab540356cbb839cbe05303d7705fa

Stimbus

Stimbus is a project that implements the current backend library status-go in the NIM language, with the goal of bringing closer integration with the Nimbus and Vac projects and bringing waku v2 into the mobile and desktop app.

Vac

Vac, the team behind the underlying messaging protocol in use by Status, has been heads down working on Waku v2. Waku, a fork of the previously used peer-to-peer messaging protocol Whisper, aims to solve some of the issues of Whisper in an iterative fashion and enable greater scalability. The long term goal of the protocol is to deliver:

  1. Removal of centralized rent seeking intermediaries
  2. Decentralization of the network and removal of single points of failure
  3. Censorship resistance

Get a deeper understanding of the motivations and goals of Waku V2 here.

In their more recent update, they shed light on what work has been done and immediate next steps–the primary goal being to make the Waku network more scalable and robust. The team broke down the work into three separate tracks:

  1. Track 1 - Familiarize with libp2p (specifically nim-libp2p) and move to libp2p
  2. Track 2 - Better routing
  3. Track 3 - Accounting and user-run nodes

Read the post above to find more details. They also had a Waku Web PoC (https://github.com/vacp2p/waku-web-chat/) for running in browsers and launched two internal testnets, Nangang and Dingpu (named after Taipei subway stations).

See this tweet for a research update on Waku v2:

Towards the very end of the quarter, the Vac team got much needed reinforcement in the form of Sanaz Taheri-Boshrooyeh joining as a protocol research engineer. Sanaz has a PhD in CS, with expertise in cryptography, security, privacy and distributed systems.

Marketing

With a steady cadence of product releases, the marketing team has had plenty of material to publish and announce to the community. Following up on product updates, the team has produced technical breakdowns of both key new features and core elements of the application.

The community team has also been working to raise awareness of the power of Status as a communication layer across all that Ethreum has to offer. They have been hosting an AMA series with various teams whose DApps are available for use in Status via dap.ps. The series kicked off with KyberDAO, and continued with Stani of Aave.

Status marketing efforts have also picked up in Brazil and Argentina with the support of media and partners such as Bruno Germano, Criptomaniacos, BlockLatina, and more.

The team also kicked off the start of a working relationship with Gitcoin ahead of their Grants Round 7 - offering a smooth contribution flow to all grants in the round via the mobile app.

You can follow along with the Marketing team’s plans in real time here.

5. Funding

Project financials

Expenses ($1,000s) Q3 2019 Q4 2019 Q1 2020 Q2 2020
Salaries, core contributor fees & individual expenses $1,700 $1,882 $1,696 $1,845
Third party vendors $300 $620 $550 $532
Marketing & sponsoring $40 $161 $187 $321

Reserves ($1,000s) Q3 2019 Q4 2019 Q1 2020 Q2 2020
Crypto (excl. SNT) & fiat holdings $34,000 $23,000 $25,000 $34,100

For ease of reference, we’ve shown our financial data in this report in USD. When putting together this information, we used the following Coingecko exchange rates to convert ETH balances:

  • Q3 2019, 30/9/2019, 1 ETH = ~$180
  • Q4 2019, 31/12/2019, 1 ETH = ~$129
  • Q1 2020, 31/3/2020, 1 ETH = ~$133
  • Q2 2020, 30/6/2020, 1 ETH = ~$225

Strategy

While technically part of the Q4 strategy, to secure a longer runway for operations, we executed several market transactions to prolong Tier 1 runway to 12 months.

At the date of this report, the current assets position in treasury is as follows:

82.1 mUSD: Total assets in treasury

12.9 mUSD: Tier 1 assets (fiat)

40 mUSD: Tier 2 assets (crypto)

29.2 mUSD: Tier 3 assets (SNT)

Given our assets position, the runway is as follows:

73 months: Total runway @ market value of portfolio

12+ months: Tier 1

35+ months: Tier 2

26+ months: Tier 3

6. Conferences and events

Despite the global pandemic, the Status team managed to participate in a number of online (non-location based) events in Q3 including MoneyDance powered by Avalanche, LiveChain presented by Wachsman, and Papers We Love Taipei.

7. Contributors

Core contributors

We’ve seen some steady headcount growth in the latter half of 2020. We’re currently at 72 people, including core contributors and community contractors.

Looking ahead at our hiring plans in Q4 2020, we’re planning to add the following to our team:

  • Accountant - to support the finance team
  • SysAdmin - to grow our dev ops team
  • Head of People Operations - to steward the core contributor experience
  • Waku JS and Wallet integrations lead - leading the push to integrate decentralized M2M messaging into both our mobile and desktop products and 3rd party wallets
  • Nim developer - for the Nimbus team

Turnover has been relatively stable in the last few months:

During Q3, we welcomed the following awesome core contributors to Status, bringing some new and super valuable skills to the project:

  • @diana - our first junior QA engineer
  • @sacha saint-leger - tech writer on Nimbus, bringing the magic to a broader audience. Sacha helped us out in the past on monthly updates, so him coming onboard full time has been an exciting development.
  • @teodor - helping the People team out with contract recruiting services, sourcing web3’s finest talent
  • @simona pop - community legend
  • @johannes - finance manager extraordinaire
  • @ruslan - our awesome new finance director
  • @mark - hugely talented new Dagger team member
  • @carly - our brilliant new legal advisor
  • @james - social media guru
  • @sanaz - joining Vac as a protocol engineer

Ambassadors

We received 51 ambassador applications in Q3, and 14 new ambassadors joined the Status Ambassador Program. The current number of Status ambassadors is now at 55, with representation across 25 countries.

Status ambassadors completed 115 tasks from July to September, broken down by category into: events (7), content (79), community building (15), and technical (14).

Some highlights from the program in Q3 2020:

  • @enrico built out audio messages as a community contribution to Status. Audio messages were a new feature in Status v1.5 that demonstrates how amazing community members support Status.
  • @Malik has merged 18 pull requests and closed 11 issues for Status Desktop.
  • @Yaroslav has published 2 videos and 3 articles introducing Status to the Russian-speaking community.
  • @Pearlumie wrote 2 fantastic blog posts featuring Status as a gateway into the decentralized world.
  • @Vladimir and @HenryRoo significantly improved the quality of the Status Russian translations.
  • @Erol finished the Turkish translation for Status alone and helped with the Status app store title and description.
  • @SDH hosted a webinar presenting Status to the Korean community
  • @Asif organized a meetup introducing Status to his friends in Bangladeshi.

Translations

Thanks to our ambassadors and open source contributors, the Status app and homepage have been translated into multiple languages. If you’d like to learn more about the translation campaign and help translate Status, visit translate.status.im.

Status translation

  • Support 14 languages : English, German, Spanish, French, Portuguese, Italian, Russian, Turkish, Indonesian, Arabic, Filipino, Korean, Traditional Chinese, Simplified Chinese
  • 24 contributors translated 25,133 words

Status.im website translation

  • Support 12 languages : English, German, Spanish, French, Portuguese, Italian, Russian, Indonesian, Arabic, Filipino, Korean, Simplified Chinese
  • 18 contributors translated 61,715 words

Shout out to our translation heroes in Q3:  Henry Roosevelt, Mr. Twister, Joyce Lim, Erol, Kuanghen Tao, Marco Rapella, NASI₿, Matheus, Floyd, Yaroslav, Milad, and Flo  👏


8. Coming to the close of a wild year

Despite much uncertainty amidst a global pandemic, Status continued to show solid progress on making the Status Mobile App an enjoyable and reliable product. With data and metrics now coming in from non-intrusive sources, the team has plenty to work with and can focus more on user retention.

As Status matures as a project and ecosystem, our strategy in 2020 will continue to be twofold:

  • Focusing on user growth and retention by making an engaging, sticky, and compelling in-app experience in Status, and
  • Putting in place foundational work on our next generation p2p infrastructure, allowing Status and many other projects in the ecosystem to scale robustly.

Thanks for reading this report, we’re always excited to tell you about the work we do. Here’s hoping that wherever you might be, you’re safe and well. Take care! - your friends at Status.


Appendix

Translations

A huge and heartfelt thank you to those who helped translate this report, we’re super grateful for your contribution:

Disclaimer / fine print

Status Research & Development, GmbH (“Status”) is located in Switzerland, although our community is global. This report was made for your general information as entertainment only, and we’d ask you not to rely on it for any other purposes, e.g. making investment decisions. The information in this report is not advice of any kind. Status does not accept any duty of care to any person reading this report, nor does Status accept any responsibility or liability if this report is used for purposes other than those intended. Just to be super transparent, we want to highlight that:

  • Token metrics info is an estimate supplied by a third party, given for illustrative purposes. We have not independently verified or fact checked this data.
  • Status financial information provided is estimated based on data available in the month preceding this report July 2020 and may change due to intercompany chargings, or ongoing updates in accounting, or other reasons. Numbers have been rounded for ease of presentation.
  • Information contained in this report is current as of the date of the report, to the best of our knowledge, and may not reflect any event or circumstances which occur after the date of the report.

Thanks for your understanding!

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