Telcoin Community Update, Volume 9
Dear Telcoin Community,
It has been a dramatic time in our young industry, and I wanted to remind everyone of where Telcoin stands in the context of the current market — and why I believe we will emerge in a very strong position when the dust settles. Remember that the real dot-com boom actually happened more gradually, after the crash, when the real long term players emerged and did things in a regulated and long-view manner.
We have seen multiple examples of centralized companies playing fast and loose with user funds over the past months. From completely unstable “algorithmic stablecoins” to crypto “banks” that marketed savings accounts that were effectively ultra-high risk investments using fractional reserves, normal folks across the globe have seen their digital asset wealth evaporate or get locked up with complete uncertainty as to what will become of it. The old mantra “not your keys, not your crypto,” has rung true yet again. This is why, despite widespread despair in the market, we believe Telcoin is poised to become a leading player in the industry at large. Our focus is and remains on user-owned financial products for every mobile phone user in the world.
Our multi-key security not only enables self custody, but protects against lost or stolen devices when a user is able to prove their identity. We have always been, and remain, a compliance-focused company that seeks dialogue with governing bodies in every single market where we operate or intend to operate. Given the recent failures of centralized players in our space, we can only expect a new wave of regulation to wash over the entire industry, and Telcoin has positioned itself to stand strong against the tide.
We are dedicated, focused, and in this for the long-haul — and we appreciate everyone’s continued support in these trying times.
- Paul Neuner, Telcoin CEO
June Promo Update
Taking a step back, one challenge that we commonly face is that we are building in the self-custodial DeFi world, meaning that the Telcoin App is purely a reflection of information that is stored on the blockchain. Knowing this, all users can rest assured that their holdings are 100% safe and secure. We know that since the promo went live, we encountered performance issues that impacted all users, and in some cases stopping them from experiencing a full end to end UX on our app. Let’s start out with some details. When the promo was first launched, we saw great participation and were able to allocate the daily 5,000 TEL airdrops successfully. Shortly thereafter, we began to experience historically high activity levels that we had not seen before.
The root cause of this was a regional Twitter account marketing the promo (which is great), but that was also instructing users to continuously KYC and spam SMS 2FA. Later, the account that posted this was blocked. This is where our system had problems keeping up. There was unprecedented SMS activity that was being executed in an abusive manner, and it overwhelmed our system very quickly and continued to do so. We immediately pinpointed the issue and have worked hard to resolve and improve. There are two main ways in which we have done so. One, we have migrated to a new SMS service provider by partnering with a global leader, Syniverse. This will help eliminate these sorts of nefarious groups from performing illicit spamming activities. Secondly, we have migrated to a much more durable and scalable database that will allow us to scale and handle traffic bursts moving forward (more on that in Will’s section below).
We look at these bumps in the road as not only a great learning experience, but also an overall positive, as our growth in global users and transactional activity during this period increased dramatically. We also want to establish that performing these types of stress tests is not only common, but paramount in identifying and isolating the bottlenecks that we can expect to occur as we scale globally. Given the current DeFi and overall crypto landscape, now is the optimal time for us to prepare for the tsunami of opportunity that lies ahead once the crypto winter begins to thaw. We are now much better prepared to capture and benefit from these unprecedented global opportunities.
We want to emphasize that the performance issues that we endured recently will be resolved prior to our next major release. We also realize this has hindered the excitement of many who want to be a part of the Telcoin experience, and we apologize for that. But we feel this process was a necessary action for long-term success when running a marathon, not a sprint. We will not take any shortcuts to success.
Onward and upward.
- Ryan Tully, VP of Product
We have made several major infrastructural changes to greatly improve our scalability and reliability at a foundational level. We have been busy transitioning our microservices off of a legacy database polling setup to a more robust and performant message queue architecture utilizing Apache Kafka. Notably, during the height of the promotional period, we transitioned our SMS and app notification service over to Kafka and saw an immediate improvement in message throughput by several orders of magnitude. SMS and app notifications should now be nearly immediate and the service will be able to handle heavy traffic bursts like we experienced during the promo.
Additionally, on July 6th, we completed our database migration to PostgreSQL, an industry leading open-source SQL database. Our legacy database, an older version of CockroachDB, had been our main performance bottleneck and the root cause of many application-facing errors for a while. We have already seen a 5x increase in peak query volume, a 10x reduction in application errors, and a 2–3x reduction in P99 latency. This translates into a faster app experience with less latency, fewer errors, and the ability to sustain much higher traffic volumes. We will continue to improve scalability, reliability, and performance, through architectural overhauls of some legacy services.
- William Myers, VP of Technology
As we embark on a new journey to bring Rivendell and the benefits of telecom-exclusive blockchain validation to mobile networks globally, I’m pleased to report that our vision is already making waves in the industry — and in particular, with the GSMA, the telecom industry’s largest association, which counts more than 750 global MNOs as members. If you recall, Telcoin became the first digital asset company to become a GSMA Associate member back in 2018. I’m also thrilled to share that on June 25, Telcoin was invited to pitch its unique business case to an audience of GSMA leaders and MNO executives, including more than a dozen major MNO group CEOs.
Our pitch was well received, and we have already been asked by multiple telco entities to perform one-on-one workshops that will dive deeper into their specific market needs. While we cannot share specifics regarding which companies we spoke with, I can say that the commercial team will absolutely have its work cut out for the remainder of the year as we explore opportunities in key geographies across the globe. Our value proposition resonated strongly, both on the remittance front and on our burgeoning blockchain validation offering. Regulatory compliance remains paramount, but the landscape has certainly evolved since Telcoin burst onto the scene in 2017. I am hopeful that we will emerge from the current market downturn as a major enabler of both traditional and blockchain based, user-owned mobile financial services for mobile phone subscribers the world over.
In addition to exponentially growing our sales pipeline, we’ve also successfully onboarded (or are in the final stages of onboarding) several new gateway and on-ramp partners in the fintech space that will help us scale and diversify connectivity into international markets. We will make formal, public announcements regarding these new partnerships as soon as we obtain the necessary approvals, ideally before the next community update.
Last but not least, while we are still in the planning stages, I can also report that Telcoin will be in attendance at both Singapore Blockchain Week 2022 (starting July 25) and the GSMA Mobile360 event, also in Singapore, in early August. While many of our industry peers buckle down and scale back, expect to see more of Telcoin at relevant industry events over the coming months.
- Rajesh Sabari, Chief Commercial Officer
New Telcoin Team Members
Benjamin Roszak is a new software developer joining Telcoin’s backend development team. Starting his career in the multimedia streaming industry, he has years of experience in applications and systems development, as well as a passion for using and developing open source software. Ben is excited to work with Telcoin and the technologies it employs and provides.
Grant Kee, joins Telcoin’s Product and Engineering teams as a blockchain engineer from Austin, Texas. Specializing in decentralized networking, encrypted peer-to-peer communication, and consensus algorithms, he is focused on developing a highly scalable public-consortium blockchain for GSMA Mobile Network Operators. His natural curiosity drives his passion for exploring cutting-edge technology and advancing the mass adoption of blockchain technology.
Walker Thornley graduated from Brigham Young University with a degree in Computer Engineering, and has worked on mission critical communications components for aerospace and defense projects. With a background in embedded software engineering, where every byte counts, he has developed a passion for efficiency and speed. Based out of San Diego, Walker joins our backend team as a Software Engineer.