Over the last 6 years since we launched in 2017, OPEN has consistently developed and managed its open source infrastructure. 2022 was no different, however we were quite busy with our new releases, developments, updates and management of our stack which we’ll cover in depth in this report. Although things are getting more challenging, thankfully we’re still around 6 years later with close to and sometimes more than 100 meetings a year, continuous management, planning, development, maintenance and forecasting.
Since 2017, we’ve seen 99% of projects fail or fizz out and very low survival rates in the industry of any new innovations. It’s said that in traditional industries, over 50% of businesses fail within 5 years, however for startups that rate is 90% within the first year. In this industry we would assume that would be 99% in part because of the highly experimental and early stage the industry is in, lack of customer derived revenue for the industry, and lack of real world engagement of the industry. We’ve also over the past 6 years seen an incredible slowing down of innovation and development of the industry. Claims of Ethereum’s use cases in 2017 are still not in realistic play today in 2023. One part of this is the volatile nature we experienced in 2019, it is hard to be a developer in this space building an application that utilizes Ethereum in an environment where the value of the asset has dropped and very few people would utilize it. This became apparent to us over the years.
Over the past year specifically, we’ve seen quite a few regulations and reforms take place that affected projects, from banking to commercial licensing being required by governments globally. This included the shut down of many accounts and closure of services world-wide that are to be transitioned to a global trend of licensing, including Binance shutting down operations in Singapore (ceasing operations by 2022).
As we’ve seen the live launch of the US CBCD testing in Q4, the direction of the industry seems to be moving away from free-form development (what the internet experienced in the late 90s) and more towards the classification of investment assets. DeFi and the rate of DeFi projects popping up as a prominent theme in the last few years is an obvious sign of this. Further, in part due to the shaping of world economies for the introduction of global CBCDs.
2022 has indeed been a tough year and with regulations affecting the landscape while still being unclear, we hope to see more clarification of this in 2023 and services opening up after exchanges, trading institutions and the like go through new licensing requirements globally. We’ll cover our outlook for 2023 later but first let’s dive into the busy year of development and launches we had in 2022.
OPEN Commerce project in mid-development, January 2022
2022 was a busy year in development for us. In 2022 we launched our OPEN Commerce project that had been in development and design since early 2021. The Open Commerce project was launched in our consistent fashion of developing first, then launching rather than the industry favorite of an announcement, followed by an announcement of an announcement and not much of a deliverable to come. This is said with sarcasm and not as a criticism.
However, we produced the work among all of our projects, publicly and actively on Github before making much of an announcement. This can be seen since the early years as we began the development of our projects before their announcements. And in the same fashion, for those who have been following, you can see we have been working on our interoperability functions within OPEN State, the Binance network and Trust Wallet. More on this to come.
We also deployed a public sample application. In this, we demonstrated with OPEN infrastructure how to deploy a new application and generate and manage signatures with our new infrastructure key management tool called OPEN Key. We also demonstrated our OPEN Commerce integration, tracking of payment transactions across Ethereum, and our new support for various blockchains including the Binance Smart Chain. This sample application also utilizes the OPEN Platform Gateway.
Manage payment (WooCommerce OPEN Platform Gateway plugin)
We also launched the WooCommerce Gateway integration. Our design included estimates and forethought about usability. This came in with the intention of how to gain access to developers and serve the largest set of developers in our area of focus.
Given WooCommerce was downloaded 160 million+ times and supported every major fiat currency globally, it made perfect sense. Further, this decision was made because of the developer support behind WooCommerce as compared to the more closed commerce platforms like Shopify. And lastly, WordPress as a infrastructure platform in which WooCommerce thrives, is used on over 830 million websites. We’re excited to see where this takes shape as digital assets continue to become more mainstream.
By supporting the developers in payments and e-commerce we feel like this is the best foot forward in appealing to developers.
In addition to that, among the interoperability focus we launched in 2020 and carried out through 2021, we built OPEN Commerce with this in mind. We’ve made considerable updates to OPENState and widened our interoperability focus in 2022. This focus was carried through the WooCommerce feature set, enabling support for multiple currencies. Further, our integration of Trust Wallet Core Library extends that access to support a wide variety of cryptocurrencies for developers to utilize across their applications.
Further, blockchain networks can be added to OPEN State to extend its interoperability reach. And vice versa, wallet addresses can be generated across networks (i.e Ethereum, Bitcoin and Binance chains for instance using OPEN State).
OPEN Platform is a fully open-sourced ecosystem with many components that helps accept cryptocurrency. One of the major architectural elements that we introduced in 2022 was the support of custodial and non-custodial wallets. For advanced developers, we introduced an enterprise-grade SDK based on TrustWallet core library for client-based wallets generation and encryption. We’ve also integrated the use of Hierarchical Deterministic wallets into our platform from our earlier releases. Further, we also introduced storage for encrypted data, and it works in the same way as 1Password or LastPass.
We also integrated the Trust Wallet core library and provided workarounds that integrate into the OPEN Platform ecosystem (including API updates, and new PHP and Java SDKs). We also added support for MetaMask for developers who wish to utilize MetaMask in their commerce applications with OPEN Commerce. Stablecoin support was added to support applications using our gateway, which include USDT, USDC and BUSD. Testing of these new developments were also carried out thoroughly.
We further enabled services around custodial and non-custodial options as mentioned. This also was added for broadcasting local transactions and the ability to broadcast transactions and tracking to other blockchain networks via our SDK. We have really rounded out the stack to reflect an increasingly robust set of developer tools made relevant for new themes that we had articulated earlier and seemed to have surfaced in 2022. Specifically, e-commerce, payments, security, ‘not your keys not your crypto’ (i.e. wallet and keys custody options, all which happened to become hyper relevant topics in 2022).
New documentations for Trust Wallet, OPEN Commerce, OPEN Gateway and WooCommerce has been added to docs.openfuture.io and further notes can be found on our Github.
Given we’ve developed a fully robust platform, we will continue to look into themes of interoperability as we believe this is core to the focus of supporting software applications and uses across both decentralized and centralized technologies. In terms of risks, we will be looking at ways to support platforms that already have a strong developer base as we believe projects that are focused on catching trends are unsustainable and directionless. If real mass developer use cases continue to not form meaningfully in the industry you could expect us at some point to close doors among many other projects that are hinged on authentic mass adoption. But for now, as we’ve proven over 6 years consistently, we’re going to keep the innovation and vision up for a world where decentralized technologies are being utilized by mainstream use cases. We have indeed already committed quite substantially to our main focus within the industry.
However, in these changing times we do seem to be in a pivotal period with increases in unpredictable, challenging regulation, the lack of global banking support and the introductory launches of CBCDs, which for sure will change the landscape of digital assets, settlement, banking and the decentralized technologies industry itself. We do believe the highlight of the next years will be around CBCDs which were not in the mainstream news in 2017. Regulation and public perception will be expected themes as governments introduce CBCDs before rolling them out to the public. Given this, regulation can be expected this year whether that will hurt or help the industry is unclear, however the lack of unclarity in regulation has definitely slowed progress down in the industry over the years.