Thank you for participating in the AMA session with Pundi X co-founder and CEO Zac Cheah.
For those of you who may have missed it, the live recording of the AMA session held on July 3 at 10:00 am GMT+8, tackling Q2 progress and addressing questions and concerns by the community members, can be viewed here. A side note that today’s AMA video quality and setting was not ideal. We acknowledge this situation and will make improvement for our next AMA session.
You may also find a summary of the Q2 progress presentation as well as all the detail Q&A below.
## Pundi X Q2 2019 Highlights
* Pundi X has integrated more public chains into our products. In Q2, we completed integration of Binance Chain. NEM chain is in the work. As of today we’ve launched BNB, the Binance Chain native Coin and XEM, NEM native coin on Pundi X payment platform. We will integrate at least one more public chain in Q3.
* The transactions on XPOS for Q2 is 15.5 million in USD, which is close to 300% quarterly growth. The number of transactions is 29,367, which leads to a 11% growth QoQ.
* XPOS has successfully received FCC and KC certifications. A new certification for Latin American market is on the way. * To expand XPOS footprint, Pundi X’s integration with a new leading mainstream point-of-sales device is in the work. Stay tuned for the announcement.
* Pundi X Open Platform was launched in May, 2019, which now supports ERC20 and BEP2 token listing. Moving forward, we will continue to support tokens from other public chains.
* A 3,000 XPASS order from DigiX, a gold-based token, and a 10,000 XPASS order from BitCobie this quarter.
* XPOS is spread in use in over 30 countries. We’ve published a map of XPOS location of self-report XPOS merchant directory. You can find a list of selected XPOS merchants at [https://www.pundix.com/products\](https://www.pundix.com/products)
. * The QoQ growth of XWallet is tremendous at 43%. In the previous quarter, we have less than 20k users, whereas in Q2 we have hit 297k XWallet users. More updates on XWallet:
* Supported BNB and NEM tokens; 2FA, face ID, and optimized SMS serviceAvailable on iOS, Android as well as in Samsung Galaxy Store
New features coming up in Q3:- DApp integration - Decentralized wallet- In-app crypto payments - Chat service, which will be compatible with a commonly used chat app- f(x) testnet features to be rolled out first in XWallet
## Other notices coming up in Q3 2019
* The Q2 token removal will take place on July 14, 2019, which will involve in total 34 billion of NPXS and NPXSXEM (22 million worth in USD) removal. In the past 365 days, we’ve removed a total of 36.1 million US dollar worth of NPXS and NPXSXEM.
Before Q2 removal, the total supply of NPXS ERC20 is 266,962,422,906.53 and NPXSXEM is 95,816,218,929. [See Q1 removal here.](/pundix/recap-of-ama-with-zac-on-july-3-and-q2-report-a23de165dd28)
* [NPXSXEM will be ported to Binance Chain from July 20](/pundix/npxsxem-will-be-on-binance-chain-c6485f17726b). * XPhone pre-order will start in late July with a new product name. Stay tuned. Check out the teaser video that we are releasing it across our communication channels. ## Q&A ## On XPOS
* **Where are we on official global location of XPOS?**
Zac: We have made a map on our official website that merchants can self report and feature their locations. It’s at [https://www.pundix.com/product\](https://www.pundix.com/product)
. We’ll be increasing and updating the map once we have permission form the merchants to update their locations.
* **The marketing from pundi has shifted from 100,000–700,000 xpos units by 2021 to 100,000. I understand the bear market has affected this but please share the strategy moving forward to hit your goal. How do you feel about hitting this goal?**
Zac: The 100K XPOS target has always been the initial goal and it’s stated in our whitepaper. And we are still working on achieving the goal by the end of 2021. Part of our growth strategy is to also explore the possibility to port our platform to traditional POS manufacturers to increase the adoption, which is ongoing at the moment.
* **1 year ago you sent 5000 XPOS somewhere. When, at least half of them, will be working? 3 year target was 100,000 by 2021. Now we have only 150 units, how do you expect to reach this goal?**
Zac: Yes, we have shipped thousands of XPOS to over 30 countries in the world. The 150 you’ve mentioned are the featured merchants which are published on the map. The active XPOS devices are deployed over 33 countries and we are actively talking to B2B partners to have higher wholesale and big deployments.
* **How many XPOS are live and used?**
Zac: We have gone through a very serious bear market, and some of the initial inbound requests for XPOS are not delivered. However, we are working slowly but surely with our Business Development team to not just roll-out into individual buyers, such as what we did on Pizza Day, but also to B2B partners. With the certifications approved, that will also help us to officially roll out to some of the key markets.
Individual merchants can use XWallet collection feature to accept crypto payment with QR code. For the merchants who have physical offline storefronts, they can use XPOS to enable the instant crypto transaction seamlessly. Moreover, as mentioned previously, we are exploring the integration on leading traditional POS terminal so that their distributors have option to enable crypto transaction feature. As for the challenge to adopt XPOS, it is the regulatory compliance in different countries. For this, our legal team think ahead and encourage our merchants to complete KYC.
I must be very honest to say the activation takes longer time than we expect but it will be worth at the end.
* **What’s the average number of transactions per xpos in use?**
Zac: The transaction number has increased very well. The number of each XPOS differs, due to the frequency of using crypto currency to purchase item or crypto assets. There’s no standard answer to this, but overall we see the transaction number and volume are going up.
* **How do you plan to reach the target of 100,000 by 2021?**
Zac: One of the challenges that we have is regulatory compliances in different countries. There are certain markets that do not allow crypto currencies and some require a clear approval for us to deploy XPOS. We are working on both challenges by talking to governments and applying for certifications. So how we plan to reach 100,000 XPOS user by 2021 is to work with distributors, B2B partners on a government / business level, and with existing POS companies to integrate our software solution into the system.
* **We understand as there was bear market and hence Xpos usage demand was low. Are you guys seeing growth of Xpos usage with current market conditions. Can you guys put some statistics comparison like last 30 days Xpos usage vs any month from bear market usage?**
Zac: It is very clear that as we moved out from the bear market, the demand for XPOS has been increasing. As we’ve shared just now both the transaction number and volume of Q2 have beaten Q1. We’ll be able to share more transaction numbers once we receive approval from our XPOS merchants.
One exciting thing is that, with the listing of different tokens, we also see users using these tokens as a way to transact on XPOS, which means we will be having more ways to transact and this is a growth point for XPOS.
* **When will there be more details for XPHONE and XPOS HANDY?**
Zac: For XPOS handy, we have finished production and it will be released in Q3
* **When will the iOS version of XWallet and XPOS be fully translated to other languages?**
Zac: Right now, the XWallet has Traditional Chinese, Korean, Spanish, German and English. With the latest version update, it now includes Portuguese. XPOS also comes with many languages and we hope to finish with more language, either working with professionals or volunteers. If you’re interested in volunteering, please contact us.
* **When will the Merchant back office have Product Registration and SKU id ability and also integrate with other POS software?** * **When will the top-up feature go away for XPOS to allow liquidity for XPOS**
Zac: We constantly update features in XPOS and merchant backend to make it easier for distributors and merchants to use. We understand that one of the ways for mass adoption is to enhance our distributor management system. With that, the distributors can manage manay XPOS at one time with different merchants.
Please stay tuned as we announce more and more functions of this feature. ## On Dubai
* **When will we see the deployment of the XPOS in Dubai?** * **Can we spend NPXS on the Dubai XPOS?**
Zac: As with all big projects there are a lot of moving parts, that includes working very closely with the local government, in Dubai’s case, the Credit Bureau of the Finance Ministry. Things are progressing for the Dubai project but due to confidentiality agreements with the parties involved, we cannot reveal much. All we can say is that we and our Dubai partners are working hard to have XPOS roll-out in the Dubai market and the UAE.
We are also discussing aggressively with Dubai partners whether to include crypto assets in the XPOS in Dubai. That clearly will involve local compliance and legal for that to happen.
* **Your system upgrades expect merchants to have downtime on their XPOS terminals, can you explain if you plan to run a business why this would be considered feasible (specially at the rate you have been doing your upgrades)?**
Zac: Yes, the benefit / strength of the XPOS is that most of the updates can be done on the fly. For example, when we have a token update on our XPOS where developers submit their tokens on Open Platform, the updates of this token are on the fly, which means that once we approve the token on our Open Platform, it will automatically appear on XPOS without any software updates.
The great thing that we believe about XPOS is not just the support of crypto assets, but also the ability to update most things on the fly, which means that whenever we have a good feature or a new token, the updates will be done instantaneously.
* **Can you guys arrange at least a community voting which is the next blockchain we would like to see next in XPOS? Voting will help to prioritize to chose the projects.**
Zac: One of the reasons why BNB is being listed on the XPOS is simply because of its popularity and also our user demand, in a way that we are already answering to our community’s request.
Right now, our main focus is getting all the tokens submitted on Open Platform to be listed on the XPOS. The submission process includes legal and compliance valid, so our legal and compliance teams are working hard to make sure that we have more tokens to roll out onto Open Platform, which means that they will be on XPOS, XWallet, and XPASS.
As to a specific voting mechanism, we’d like to consider that and hopefully we’ll be able to run a specific voting for the chain which users would like to see.
* **While comparing Xpos handy to Square POS devices at least with mobile it’s very cheap like under $30 and easy to use. When can we expect such light weight and cheaper version for XPOS? Is team working on such devices ?**
Zac: There are different POS companies around the globe and pour focus is to work with these POS companies with our software, so that a crypto sales feature will be part of the existing POS system. The more support of crypto asset usage using our software on existing POS, the better it is for global adoption.
We actually strongly believe that the pricing of our POS system is competitive in the market. And one of the great features of the XPOS is that the merchants will not need not to pay a certain percentage to existing acquirer but to be able to earn certain percentage from each transaction. That is the key differentiator for merchant to want to adopt this.
* **From the website with some of the key Countries for XPOS adoption looks great. However, the concern is for Venezuela, there is no reference link like the others have. Can you guys add the link with details to clear the ambiguity?**
Zac: Let’s give a little bit more patience so that we can actually release more information about our Venezuelan partnership. The good news is that we expect concrete news from Venezuela in the coming 2 weeks. So stay up-to-date about our Venezuelan roll out on XPOS, the best way is to subscribe to our telegram group for Venezuela. ## On Partnerships
* **Are there some major partnership in the works? I’m also interested in how you do immediate transactions? Do you anticipate scaling issues?**
Zac: The way XPOS is being designed is that when you use your crypto assets to purchase, it will have instantaneous confirmation because the action is an off-chain process. An on-chain action happens when a user who owns crypto assets in our system transferring the assets out of the Pundi X ecosystem to their own wallets; or to transfer crypto assets in Pundi X from an off-chain to a private wallet, which we will have very soon on XWallet itself.
That is why we are able to handle scaling. When a person wants to use crypto currency to buy a coffee, the transaction will happen instantaneously.
For specific partnership, especially with B2B partnership, we oblige to the NDA that we have signed. But if you follow us closely, you’ll know that we go to different parts of the world, talking to major companies to try to land more deals so that NPXS usage will increase dramatically.
* **Any big partnerships for making xphone or using the software for xBlockchain?**
Zac: These partnerships are also subjected to NDA, so please be patient for us to release more news.
* **When will XPOS have approval to process Visa and MasterCard payments?**
Zac: We have met representatives from these players including some of the key management people. They are obviously looking into crypto currency attentively, and we hope that there’s something we can do with MasterCard and/or Visa.
This is something that the community has suggested and we agree fully. Please allow us with some time to work on this. We have also showcased XPOS to the CEO of MasterCard. For what or when will anything happen, please wait for our official announcement.
* **What’s the status on Quantum fund and their contribution or involvement with Pundi’s project?**
Zac: We announced last year that we are creating a fund to invest in projects beneficial to our ecosystem. We’ve identified some interesting projects, and we have invested in at least 1 project. The reason why we’re investing in that project is because of the services that it will bring onto the Pindi X ecosystem. So the purpose of the investment of the companies is that these companies in turn will benefit on our ecosystem. This is our key consideration.
The team has evaluated the projects that will benefit the Pundi X / Function X ecosystem. Vic and his team will be able to reveal more details on the companies we have invested in and how they will contribute to our ecosystem in Q3.
* **Recent update on NPXSXEM is highly ambiguous as mentioned that it will be now BEP token and later once FX goes live it will get back to Fx platform. Why you guys had so rush to use Binance chain only for few months? Isn’t you guys switching to much in a short time span?**
Zac: Liquidity and utility have been an issue for NPXSXEM. Due to the design philosophy and the limit of token that can be created on NEM’s smart contract, we are only able to create a small number of tokens on NPXSXEM. By moving into the Binance chain for NPXSXEM, the BEP2 token version will be able to support all the NPXSXEM tokens, which means that we’ll migrate and also be able to make sure all the NPXSXEM tokens are under the same contract address.
We believe with the strong liquidity, we will be able to give our NPXSXEM token holders a good reason of what the token holders have been waiting for. We hope to bring NPXSXEM to match the level of NPXS.
* **When #XRP?**
Zac: Our OpenPlatform is a currency agnostic platform, which means that we will work on integrating public chain as well as tokens that are most requested by the users. We’ll also be looking into the listing of different tokens that are being mentioned by the community.
As said, we will have at least one more public chain integration in Q3, perhaps even more.
* **Are you as a company going to try and connect with libra? If they have said they want to be a payment remittance service, have Square, PayPal, Visa on board I as an investor would prefer you try to join them rather than beat such large competitors**
Zac: Of course, we’ll be delighted to work with Facebook and also the Libra coin. Pundi X and XPOS is a currency agnostic / currency neutral platform, if there’s opportunity to list Libra coin or work with Facebook in different ways to promote crypto currency adoption, we’ll certainly look into that and work on reaching out to them. ## On Trading
* **Can you confirm during AMA, Pundi team is not involved with any trading with their own token like selling over time to manage the fund to run the company.**
Zac: All the wallet addresses of the team holdings are disclosed and transparent. This is one of the first things that we did after ICO. Hence, our token holdings are transparent and everyone can monitor our fund transactions. Also, we have strict internal financial regulation and compliance, shows that we are here to build a long-term project.
The best way to make NPXS or the NPXSXEM to rise is real daily life use case.
* **When will you stop manipulating NPXS chart?**
Zac: Our focus has always been and will be building great products. The more product usage, the demands for NPXS and NPXSXEM will increase. Let’s address again that, Pundi X the company is NOT involved in any manipulation of the NPXS price.
There are trading teams, market makers, financial institutions that profit from the drop and rise of token prices in the crypto market. The good thing about NPXS is that we have managed to create a high liquidity by listing on 40+ exchanges and having global trades and demand from all over the world. We hope this and coupled with the fact that we are a solid product and roll out the use cases, the demand of NPXS will only continue to rise and will be able to deter any of the traders or speculators there is for NPXS.
These traders gain profit from manipulating tokens whether BTC or other tokens. In fact, the traditional financial markets have similar challenges as well. What I want to stress is that, we at Pundi X, do NOT speculate or manipulate the price. We work very hard to create demands for NPXS and as a company, it is only beneficial for us to see the prices of NPXS and NPXSXEM rise.
* **Can we please address the elephant in the room which is the Binance bot with huge sell walls and buy walls causing huge distress and concern among users?**
Zac: First, I cannot confirm nor deny that whether Binance has a bot. I think this is something that you need to ask Binance. We need to work with Binance because Binance has one of the biggest liquidities, if not the greatest liquidity, for NPXS. The best way to counter manipulators is to create more use case, more demand and more acceptance of our tokens.
* **Why on almost all exchanges do you not offer a USDT trading pair?**
Zac: We have USDT trading pairs on Bittrex, Bittrue, and more. In addition, we have fiat pairs in Korean Won, IDR, INR, and Turkish liras. We will continue to work on adding trading pairs for NPXS to make it more liquidate.
* **Why don’t you offer a stable coin sell and purchase on the xpos to help with adoption? Places in Africa with volatile currencies would go crazy for this.**
Zac: It’s a great observation. This is a request that’s been asked from many users. We’re working on stable coin listing on XPOS and hopefully it’ll come soon. Stable coin requires a greater compliance and legal validate, which we have been working on since months ago and we hope to have the stable coin up in XPOS soon.
* **When will you add an active tracker for coin burn, whether its measured in usd, NPXS or whatever you choose. The community has been asking for this on twitter, reddit and telegram for this entire year.**
Zac: It will be hard for us to have a daily tracker of the coin burn, but what we might be able to work on is a tracker which have shown all of the tokens that have been removed from the usage. Thank you for giving us this great suggestion and we will work on it in some form.
Zac: Our token supply has always been specified in our white paper, and as promised in our white paper, we will continue to remove tokens through usage and use cases, which we’re working on all the time.
* **Price movement. When will NPXS go to which price?**
Zac: We cannot comment on the change of the price. Our focus is on building products. We hope by doing that the NPXS value will go up. Again, there’s no way that we can comment on the price.
**I believe that burning tokens every 14 weeks keeps the price suppressed and will only lead to huge pumps and dumps. Imo, If the burns were more frequent, the price would move organically.**
Zac: We continue removing tokens quarterly per advised by our legal and compliance team.
**Is it mandatory npxs swap? What happens for token we have in binance?**
Zac: No it’s not a mandatory NPXS swap for FX.
**How many NPXS or NPXSXEM was converted?**
Zac: In Q2, we will remove 29B NPXSXEM and 9B NPXS. ## On XWallet
* **Why not put in XWallet like the place where we can buy and sell like restaurants and shops?**
Zac: You are correct. In fact, if you look at XWallet, there is a merchant feature, whereby you can register as a merchant. By becoming a merchant, you will be able to print out your QR code and stick it on your restaurant. People are able to make payment through this QR code. This will act like a mini-XPOS.
* **In addition to that having multiple different blockchain in XWallet will increase the XWallet adoption. Hence, we would like to see aggressive game plan and execution from the team and would like to hear that**
Zac: That’s a great suggestion. Every day we want to increase use cases for XWallet. In fact, our XWallet update is one of the most frequent in the market. Within 5 months, we have over 10 updates on iOS and Google Play. This does not include soft update which happens every several days. In my view, the effort is very tremendous.
* **Is there any plan to add Swap option within XWallet so that people can trade the coins within XWallet?**
Zac: Yes, there’s such plan and in fact there is an upcoming feature that people will be able to use coins in XWallet to exchange into other things. The exact form and format have not been reviewed. We hope to share more when we have concrete example. But what you suggested is what we are planning for months ago.
* **When will XPOS and XWallet have fiat on ramps?**
Zac: This is a good question. It’s not only involved with regulatory compliance but also involved the technical part. This is also something we are planning for months. Once approved, hopefully we are able to support fiat currency on ramps and off ramps on XWallet.
* **How is the internal organization doing? Currently how many employees work for Pundi? Currently how many job positions are open?**
Zac: Pundi X has grown tremendously. We are now having over seven offices around the globe. I’m sitting in the Singapore office. We have office in Jakarta, Taiwan, Tokyo, Shenzhen, São Paulo and London. These are the places we have physical offices and house approximately 100 full time employees of Pundi X.
The positions open from Pundi X are legal associate in Singapore and other offices. We are looking for more R&D people, especially in Taiwan. We are looking at marketing and PR people in different parts of the world. And we are looking for POS distributors. As a POS distributor, you will work with our business development team and also our technical team to roll out many XPOS which you have a network to control in your local market.
* **Would you consider removing the KYC to allow u.s. holder to stake and be rewarded?**
Zac: We would love to have more users, including US. However, our compliance and legal advisors have not allowed us to accept US holders to stake and be rewarded.
I’m sorry to say that but this is after serious consideration to make such a decision. In fact, it is a very hard decision because we have healthy user base in the US.
will continue to monitor the situation in the different markets and be compliant. There are also ways to be rewarded when using XWallet service without KYC. We are looking into to explore more on this and launch new features. Hopefully we are able to bring the beta version for you to test this week or next. **On XPhone*\
* **Where are we on pre-sale announcement of Xphone? It was highlights of Q2 goal. If we are getting delay, that’s ok. But at least community will have some clarification why it’s getting late and when approximately it coming?**
Zac: Pre-sale order will start this month. It’s likely the end of July. Pre-sale will take place in different channel including the official website and XWallet. Apart of our own channel, the pre-sale will go live on a 3rd party channel. People will be able to pre-order crypto either in crypto or in fiat.
* **Can you discuss in AMA, is participants can pay with Crypto or Credit/debit card or in both ways?**
Zac: As a crypto company, we prefer payment in crypto, but fiat, Visa, MasterCard, and other traditional payment methods will be accepted on different pre-order channels. Stay tuned for pre-order which will happen in late July.
* **Will the Xphone be open to purchase in all regions of the world?**
Zac: Yes, pre-orders will be able to be done on-line, and products will be shipped from our offices to users in different parts of the world.
* **Will the blockchain mode on the Xphone be operable during the testnet or will this function not work until mainnet?**
Zac: XWallet and XPhone are the first channel and avenue for Function X testnet, so once the testnet is operateble, we will start to engage certain services on XWallet and XPhone into Function X testnet, and ultimately into mainnet. Slowly but surely.
* **Does Xphone have hard protective cover,extra Sim slot, also is it enhanced with ip68 water rating?**
Zac: XPhone will not be waterproof, so please do not submerge XPhone into water. XPhone will definitely be eavesdrop-proof because we’re using a blockchain mode, only you and you control your own conversation.
* **Which country accept the Xphone?** * **Will I also be able to use the SIM-card?** * **The blockchain modus will work in every country (what in the absense of nodes)?** * **Will the XPhone I buy now support updates in the future?**
Zac: People from any country will be able to buy XPhone on-line. You will be able to use a SIM for we have built a SIM slot. Wherever you are, the XPhone can be turned on to become a node.
Will XPhone support future updates? Yes, of course. Just like the XPOS, we support silent update. It will be like how we support XPOS, many updates. The updates will always be supported on XPhone. **On Function X*\
* **When is the detail white paper coming for FunctionX? Why the team is very resistive to have well documented white paper? We need scientific approach and well documentation on FunctionX to have developers to be more involved.**
Zac: Yes, developer involvement is a key criterion of the growth of Function X. We have done 2 things, one is that we have set up Function X Foundation which is led by David Ben Kay and will involve third party adviser and board members. Second, we have set up a developer relations team led by one of our own members as well. This team will work on creating developer documents, developer demos and sample, so that excellent developers can tap into working with Function X resources.
The first version of developer documentation is ready in English and Chinese. We are still polishing up the documents and hopefully to release them soon.
We are also working with third party developers, and are engaging at least 2 third party developer companies, so that we can help create their services on Function X and also XWallet.
We are hoping to showcase a smooth and usable service to the audience, we think this is the key criterion of the Function X growth.
Thank you for this suggestion. We need to update more often on github developer documentation as well.
As for the white paper, we did not have one per se because Function X did not do an ICO. But we will continue to update our white paper and include not only technical details, but also details on the chain and how we can get more developers and users so that the future hardware will be added as a node and you will be rewarded financially, at least through our ecosystem genesis fund. Please stay tuned and there are a lot of things going on in the company. Each and one of us is working hard.
* **Why does the FX ecosystem need a decentralized OS?**
Zac: The mantra of Function X is decentralization and having private control of your data. A full private control of your data comes with a decentralized system not just in transmission of your data, but with the operating system built fully for decentralization , which includes a transmission protocol replacing http. The apps uploaded into Function X will be decentralized as well as the data that is stored on the app, which means that how BitCoin or crypto assets are verified on different nodes will also be part of the way we store data and content.
The decentralized OS is key to fulfilling a decentralized environment for a more private and free usage.
* **What about FX are you most excited about?**
Zac: We are actually creating a shift of how people view of blockchain and how decentralization is not just about transacting commercial commodity, but also data, including your identity, are all decentralized. That is what we are most excited about.
The only way for us to achieve this is to have developer support, for we need the developers to build on the foundation we have to offer those exciting services.
* **We understand that developing a new blockchain is time consuming. As a community we are in a dark space to understand where exactly the development of FX right now.**
Zac: We are working hard on creating the testnet and eventually the mainnet. For the latest updates of Function X, what I can encourage you to do is to go on and subscribe to the Function X telegram group where discussions are made. We have formed the Function X Foundation and created the developer relations team, so that the Function X progress will go smoother and with more partnership from outside, whether it’s developers, third party companies, teleco, etc.
* **When FX goes live on the mainnet, will FX coin be used to stake and earn NPXS? how will staking work on that new mainnet?**
Zac: The NPXS/NPXSXEM staking will last till March 9, 2020 as announced. What we are committed is to create more use cases. For FX tokens, the use cases will be focusing on the Function X Chain and the use cases on Function X that include DApp on Function X and different hardware/software services.
* **When fx testnet will be available?**
Zac: First I would like to thank you for your constant support. In Q3, we plan to open Function X testnet so that we will be migrating and creating certain use cases that can be used on Function X testnet, starting with our own XWallet. Which means, the XWallet will migrate some features into Function X testnet, and slowly followed by our other Pundi X products, including XPhones, XPASS, Open Platform and Function X own developer related products from third parties.
On May 6th, 2017, Bitcoin hit an all-time high in transactions processed on the network in a single day: it moved 375,000 transactions which accounted for a nominal output of about $2.5b. Average fees on the Bitcoin network had climbed over a dollar for the first time a couple days prior. And they kept climbing: by early June average fees hit an eye-watering $5.66. This was quite unprecedented. In the three-year period from Jan. 1 2014 to Jan. 1 2017, per-transaction fees had never exceeded 31 cents on a weekly average. And the hits kept coming. Before 2017 was over, average fees would top out at $48 on a weekly basis. When the crypto-recession set in, transaction count collapsed and fees crept back below $1.
During the most feverish days of the Bitcoin run-up, when normal users found themselves with balances that would cost more to send than they were worth, cries for batching — the aggregation of many outputs into a single transaction — grew louder than ever. David Harding had written a blog post on the cost-savings of batching at the end of August and it was reposted to the Bitcoin subreddit on a daily basis.
The idea was simple: for entities sending many transactions at once, clustering outputs into a single transaction was more space- (and cost-) efficient, because each transaction has a fixed data overhead. David found that if you combined 10 payments into one transaction, rather than sending them individually, you could save 75% of the block space. Essentially, batching is one way to pack as many transactions as possible into the finite block space available on Bitcoin.
When fees started climbing in mid-2017, users began to scrutinize the behavior of heavy users of the Bitcoin blockchain, to determine whether they were using block space efficiently. By and large, they were not — and an informal lobbying campaign began, in which these major users — principally exchanges — were asked to start batching transactions and be good stewards of the scarce block space at their disposal. Some exchanges had been batching for years, others relented and implemented it. The question faded from view after Bitcoin’s price collapsed in Q1 2018 from roughly $19,000 to $6000, and transaction load — and hence average fee — dropped off.
But we remained curious. A common refrain, during the collapse in on-chain usage, was that transaction count was an obfuscated method of apprehending actual usage. The idea was that transactions could encode an arbitrarily large (within reason) number of payments, and so if batching had become more and more prevalent, those payments were still occurring, just under a regime of fewer transactions.
Some sites popped up to report outputs and payments per day rather than transactions, seemingly bristling at the coverage of declining transaction count. However, no one conducted an analysis of the changing relationship between transaction count and outputs or payments. We took it upon ourselves to find out.
Table Of Contents:
Introduction to batching
Bonus content: UTXO consolidation
- Introduction to batching
Bitcoin uses a UTXO model, which stands for Unspent Transaction Output. In comparison, Ripple and Ethereum use an account/balance model. In bitcoin, a user has no balances, only UTXOs that they control. If they want to transfer money to someone else, their wallet selects one or more UTXOs as inputs that in sum need to add up to the amount they want to transfer. The desired amount then goes to the recipient, which is called the output, and the difference goes back to the sender, which is called change output. Each output can carry a virtually unlimited amount of value in the form of satoshis. A satoshi is a unit representing a one-hundred-millionth of a Bitcoin. This is very similar to a physical wallet full of different denominations of bills. If you’re buying a snack for $2.50 and only have a $5, you don’t hand the cashier half of your 5 dollar bill — you give him the 5 and receive some change instead.
Unknown to some, there is no hardcoded limit to the number of transactions that can fit in a block. Instead, each transaction has a certain size in megabytes and constitutes an economic incentive for miners to include it in their block. Because miners have limited space of 2 MB to sell to transactors, larger transactions (in size, not bitcoin!) will need to pay higher fees to be included. Additionally, each transaction can have a virtually unlimited number of inputs or outputs — the record stands at transactions with 20,000 inputs and 13,107 outputs.
So each transaction has at least one input and at one output, but often more, as well as some additional boilerplate stuff. Most of that space is taken up by the input (often 60% or more, because of the signature that proves they really belong to the sender), while the output(s) account for 15–30%. In order to keep transactions as small as possible and save fees, Bitcoin users have two major choices:
Use as few inputs as possible. In order to minimize inputs, you can periodically send your smaller UTXOs to yourself in times when fees are very low, getting one large UTXO back. That is called UTXO consolidation or consolidating your inputs.
Users who frequently make transfers (especially within the same block) can include an almost unlimited amount of outputs (to different people!) in the same transaction. That is called transaction batching. A typical single output transaction takes up 230 bytes, while a two output transaction only takes up 260 bytes, instead of 460 if you were to send them individually.
This is something that many casual commentators overlook when comparing Bitcoin with other payment systems — a Bitcoin transaction can aggregate thousands of individual economic transfers! It’s important to recognize this, as it is the source of a great deal of misunderstanding and mistaken analysis.
We’ve never encountered a common definition of a batched transaction — so for the purposes of this study we define it in the loosest possible sense: a transaction with three or more outputs. Commonly, batching is understood as an activity undertaken primarily by mining pools or exchanges who can trade off immediacy for efficiency. It is rare that a normal bitcoin user would have cause to batch, and indeed most wallets make it difficult to impossible to construct batched transactions. For everyday purposes, normal bitcoiners will likely not go to the additional effort of batching transactions.
We set the threshold at three for simplicity’s sake — a normal unbatched transaction will have one transactional output and one change output — but the typical major batched transaction from an exchange will have dozens if not hundreds of outputs. For this reason we are careful to provide data on various different batch sizes, so we could determine the prevalence of three-output transactions and colossal, 100-output ones.
We find it helpful to think of a Bitcoin transaction as a mail truck full of boxes. Each truck (transaction) contains boxes (outputs), each of contains some number of letters (satoshis). So when you’re looking at transaction count as a measure of the performance and economic throughput of the Bitcoin network, it’s a bit like counting mail trucks to discern how many letters are being sent on a given day, even though the number of letters can vary wildly. The truck analogy also makes it clear why many see Bitcoin as a settlement layer in the future — just as mail trucks aren’t dispatched until they’re full, some envision that the same will ultimately be the case for Bitcoin.
- A timeline
So what actually happened in the last six months? Let’s look at some data. Daily transactions on the Bitcoin network rose steadily until about May 2017, when average fees hit about $4. This precipitated the first collapse in usage. Then began a series of feedback loops over the next six months in which transaction load grew, fees grew to match, and transactions dropped off. This cycle repeated itself five times over the latter half of 2017.
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The solid red line in the above chart is fees in BTC terms (not USD) and the shaded red area is daily transaction count. You can see the cycle of transaction load precipitating higher fees which in turn cause a reduction in usage. It repeats itself five or six times before the detente in spring 2018. The most notable period was the December-January fee crisis, but fees were actually fairly typical in BTC terms — the rising BTC price in USD however meant that USD fees hit extreme figures.
In mid-November when fees hit double digits in USD terms, users began a concerted campaign to convince exchanges to be better stewards of block space. Both Segwit and batching were held up as meaningful approaches to maximize the compression of Bitcoin transactions into the finite block space available. Data on when exchanges began batching is sparse, but we collected information where it was available into a chart summarizing when exchanges began batching.
Batching adoption at selected exchanges
We’re ignoring Segwit adoption by exchanges in this analysis; as far as batching is concerned, the campaign to get exchanges to batch appears to have persuaded Bitfinex, Binance, and Shapeshift to batch. Coinbase/GDAX have stated their intention to begin batching, although they haven’t managed to integrate it yet. As far as we can tell, Gemini hasn’t mentioned batching, although we have some mixed evidence that they may have begun recently. If you know about the status of batching on Gemini or other major exchanges please get in touch.
So some exchanges have been batching all along, and some have never bothered at all. Did the subset of exchanges who flipped the switch materially affect the prevalence of batched transactions? Let’s find out.
3.1 How common is batching?
We measured the prevalence of batching in three different ways, by transaction count, by output value and by output count.
Batching accounts for roughly 12% of all transactions, 40% of all outputs, and 30–60% of all raw BTC output value. Not bad.
3.2 Have batched transactions become more common over time?
From the chart in 3.1, we can already see a small, but steady uptrend in all three metrics, but we want to dig a little deeper. So we first looked at the relationship of payments (all outputs that actually pay someone, so total outputs minus change outputs) and transactions.
More at transactionfee.info/charts
The first thing that becomes obvious is that the popular narrative — that the drop in transactions was caused by an increase in batching — is not the case; payments dropped by roughly the same proportion as well.
Dividing payment count by transaction count gives us some insight into the relationship between the two.
In our analysis we want to zoom into the time frame between November 2017 and today, and we can see that payments per transactions have actually been rallying, from 1.5 payments per transaction in early 2017 to almost two today.
3.3 What are popular batch sizes?
In this next part, we will look at batch sizes to see which are most popular. To determine which transactions were batched, we downloaded a dataset of all transactions on the Bitcoin network between November 2017 and May 2018from Blockchair.
We picked that period because the fee crisis really got started in mid-November, and with it, the demands for exchanges to batch. So we wanted to capture the effect of exchanges starting to batch. Naturally a bigger sample would have been more instructive, but we were constrained in our resources, so we began with the six month sample.
We grouped transactions into “batched” and “unbatched” groups with batched transactions being those with three or more outputs.
We then divided batched transactions into roughly equal groups on the basis of how much total output in BTC they had accounted for in the six-month period. We didn’t select the batch sizes manually — we picked batch sizes that would split the sample into equal parts on the basis of transaction value. Here’s what we ended up with:
All of the batch buckets have just about the same fraction of total BTC output over the period, but they account for radically different transaction and output counts over the period. Notice that there were only 183,108 “extra large” batches (with 41 or more outputs) in the six-month period, but between them there were 23m outputs and 30m BTC worth of value transmitted.
Note that output value in this context refers to the raw or unadjusted figure — it would have been prohibitively difficult for us to adjust output for change or mixers, so we’re using the “naive” estimate.
Let’s look at how many transactions various batch sizes accounted for in the sample period:
Batched transactions steadily increased relative to unbatched ones, although the biggest fraction is the small batch with between 3 and 5 outputs. The story for output counts is a bit more illuminating. Even though batched transactions are a relatively small fraction of overall transaction count, they contain a meaningful number of overall outputs. Let’s see how it breaks down:
Lastly, let’s look at output value. Here we see that batched transactions represent a significant fraction of value transmitted on Bitcoin.
As we can see, even though batched transactions make up an average of only 12% of all transactions, they move between 30%-60% of all Bitcoins, at peak times even 70%. We think this is quite remarkable. Keep in mind, however that the ‘total output’ figure has not been altered to account for change outputs, mixers, or self-churn; that is, it is the raw and unadjusted figure. The total output value is therefore not an ideal approximation of economic volume on the Bitcoin network.
3.4 Has transaction count become an unreliable measure of Bitcoin’s usage because of batching?
Yes. We strongly encourage any analysts, investors, journalists, and developers to look past mere transaction count from now on. The default measure of Bitcoin’s performance should be “payments per day” rather than transaction count. This also makes Bitcoin more comparable with other UTXO chains. They generally have significantly variable payments-per-transaction ratios, so just using payments standardizes that. (Stay tuned: Coinmetrics will be rolling out tools to facilitate this very soon.)
More generally, we think that the economic value transmitted on the network is its most fundamental characteristic. Both the naive and the adjusted figures deserve to be considered. Adjusting raw output value is still more art than science, and best practices are still being developed. Again, Coinmetrics is actively developing open-source tools to make these adjustments available.
We started by revisiting the past year in Bitcoin and showed that while the mempool was congested, the community started looking for ways to use the blockspace more efficiently. Attention quickly fell on batching, the practice of combining multiple outputs into a single transaction, for heavy users. We showed how batching works on a technical level and when different exchanges started implementing the technique.
Today, around 12% of all transactions on the Bitcoin network are batched, and these account for about 40% of all outputs and between 30–60% of all transactional value. The fact such that a small set of transactions carries so much economic weight makes us hopeful that Bitcoin still has a lot of room to scale on the base layer, especially if usage trends continue.
Lastly, it’s worth noting that the increase in batching on the Bitcoin network may not be entirely due to deliberate action by exchanges, but rather a function of its recessionary behavior in the last few months. Since batching is generally done by large industrial players like exchanges, mixers, payment processors, and mining pools, and unbatched transactions are generally made by normal individuals, the batched/unbatched ratio is also a strong proxy for how much average users are using Bitcoin. Since the collapse in price, it is quite possible that individual usage of Bitcoin decreased while “industrial” usage remained strong. This is speculation, but one explanation for what happened.
Alternatively, the industrial players appear to be taking their role as stewards of the scarce block space more seriously. This is a significant boon to the network, and a nontrivial development in its history. If a culture of parsimony can be encouraged, Bitcoin will be able to compress more data into its block space and everyday users will continue to be able to run nodes for the foreseeable future. We view this as a very positive development. Members of the Bitcoin community that lobbied exchanges to add support for Segwit and batching should be proud of themselves.
- Bonus content: UTXO consolidation
Remember that we said that a second way to systematically save transaction fees in the Bitcoin network was to consolidate your UTXOs when fees were low? Looking at the relationship between input count and output count allows us to spot such consolidation phases quite well.
Typically, inputs and outputs move together. When the network is stressed, they decouple. If you look at the above chart carefully, you’ll notice that when transactions are elevated (and block space is at a premium), outputs outpace inputs — look at the gaps in May and December 2017. However, prolonged activity always results in fragmented UTXO sets and wallets full of dust, which need to be consolidated. For this, users often wait until pressure on the network has decreased and fees are lower. Thus, after transactions decrease, inputs become more common than outputs. You can see this clearly in February/March 2017.
Here we’ve taken the ratio of inputs to outputs (which have been smoothed on a trailing 7 day basis). When the ratio is higher, there are more inputs than outputs on that day, and vice versa. You can clearly see the spam attack in summer 2015 in which thousands (possibly millions) of outputs were created and then consolidated. Once the ratio spikes upwards, that’s consolidation. The spike in February 2018 after the six weeks of high fees in December 2017 was the most pronounced sigh of relief in Bitcoin’s history; the largest ever departure from the in/out ratio norm. There were a huge number of UTXOs to be consolidated.
It’s also interesting to note where inputs and outputs cluster. Here we have histograms of transactions with large numbers of inputs or outputs. Unsurprisingly, round numbers are common which shows that exchanges don’t publish a transaction every, say, two minutes, but instead wait for 100 or 200 outputs to queue up and then publish their transaction. Curiously, 200-input transactions were more popular than 100-input transactions in the period.
We ran into more curiosities when researching this piece, but we’ll leave those for another time.
Future work on batching might focus on:
Determining batched transactions as a portion of (adjusted) economic rather than raw volume
Looking at the behavior of specific exchanges with regards to batching
Investigating how much space and fees could be saved if major exchanges were batching transactions
Lastly, we encourage everyone to run their transactions through the service at transactionfee.info
to assess the efficiency of their transactions and determine whether exchanges are being good stewards of the block space.
Antoine Le Calvez has created a series of live-updated charts to track batching and batch sizes, which you can find here.
We’d like to thank 0xB10C for their generous assistance with datasets and advice, the people at Blockchair for providing the core datasets, and David A. Harding for writing the initial piece and answering our questions.
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