We are close enough that we haven’t wanted to say definitively that it would not happen in Q4. We’ve also sworn off giving dates for things - but since we did already make that estimation and the quarter is just a few weeks from being over, we’ll confirm that we will not hit the Q4 target. The Q3/Q4 comments were given as best estimates based on the information available at the time. We’re not trying to blow this question off, but even after thinking it through, there wasn’t any one thing that caused us to miss Q3/Q4. The team is working hard and we’re making good progress. Those who follow our GitHub know that commits are being made almost daily. The answer is that we simply underestimated the time it would take to get to external testnet.
Since AMA #1 there’s been some confusion around partnered merchants and opting in to the OMG Network. Our response in AMA #7 was meant to clarify, so we’ll expand from there. To sum up what’s been said so far: while we will not force existing Omise customers to integrate, we will encourage and support merchants who wish to participate in opt-in integration with the OMG network. We have begun engaging our existing partners about the use of the eWallet Suite and the OMG network.
We should distinguish between partner merchants who want to actually build out an eWallet using the OMG eWallet suite, and those who might simply choose to enable a plugin within the Omise gateway. Currently, Omise Payment Gateway supports cards as well as alternative payment methods such as Alipay and bank transfer; payments via the OMG Network could be added as an alternative payment method for end users with an OMG connected wallet.
There’s been some speculation that Omise is avoiding moving merchants over because they don’t want to lose on processing fees, which is simply not true. The cost of running transactions over OMG Network vs dealing with banks or credit cards is drastically lower for Omise too - Omise could drop their service fees on those transactions by half and still make a good profit. It's just a new technology, and introducing it comes with new uncertainties and new processes, and we want to be realistic about that. But we'll be promoting the benefits of OMG to existing Omise merchants, and supporting them to integrate OMG Network payments in every way we can.
If we weren't willing to spend money to make money, we wouldn't be putting all this time and resources into a product that we're giving away for free - remember that OmiseGO isn't charging anybody for using the eWallet or the OMG Network (except tx fees as validators). We don't have any disincentive to convince people to switch. In fact, OmiseGO’s revenue model includes staking, which depends on network volume to be profitable. OmiseGO's business development team is dedicated to bringing that business in, from Omise and elsewhere, for the good of both the network and the company.
We do want to be clear, it will be a gradual shift. We don’t want to rush things and shoehorn in a solution that causes more problems than it solves for a given customer because the features they need aren’t ready yet. That’s just bad customer service, and it’s bad for adoption if people’s first experience is a negative one. As we build more functionality into the network and the user base grows, more merchants will find it useful and convenient to integrate OMG into their existing processes.
Barring a War of the Worlds scenario in which our duty to humanity compels us to redirect our resources toward fighting hostile aliens, we have no reason to believe that we won’t be able to carry on developing through 2019 and beyond.
The challenge actually lies in licensing rather than any technical difficulties. The OMG Network in PoA will be able to process fiat backed tokens, which anyone with the proper licensing can issue, either on Ethereum or seamlessly from within the eWallet. Since you are essentially representing fiat with ERC20 tokens, you'll be able to trade between digitized fiat and crypto by the same mechanisms as if you were trading crypto to crypto - again, subject to licensing and regulatory compliance.
When it comes to banks that are using closed systems (as most still are), interacting with those accounts will still mean abiding by the terms and conditions of the bank. Providers can use the eWallet local ledger to store balances, or a bank can store the fiat balances and have the eWallet replicate those values. This differs from using a stablecoin such as Tether or Dai in that providers are able to issue and burn tokens natively (rather than buying them on a market) in order to represent balances within their own system.
Worldwide availability of fiat will rely on a network of cash in/cash out providers who are licensed in their particular jurisdictions. We’re most active in our own region (Southeast Asia) but also seeking to onboard cash in/out partners from other areas of the globe.
Making our infrastructure "future-ready" means building it in such a way that we will be able to quickly iterate by easily deploying new versions of the software. When we said small targets we were talking more about the functionality and iterative capability that was needed - as far as throughput, our goal was just to get as many people playing the game at one time as we could in order to load test the network in real time.
In terms of metrics and objectives, we'll be constantly evaluating as we see usage come onto the system. This is a large part of what the public testnet is for! The goal is to bring volume onto the network while the money (and therefore the risk) isn’t real yet, in order to figure out how it performs and where we need to tune the dials.
At this point setting metrics is guesswork, and we aren’t putting out numbers for the same reason we aren’t sharing target dates (in a nutshell, it’s clear to us now that people will base investment decisions on every forecast and we don’t want to play a part in that). Once the testnet is up and running, we’ll be able to do that analysis and have those conversations out in the open based on actual, known numbers.