Request is an open, decentralized network that enables users to create, pay, and store requests for payment, with plans to create a database for billions of invoices and receipts that could simplify or automate accounting, auditing, tax, and expense report procedures. Founded by Christopher Lassuyt and Etienne Tatur, Request participated in 2017’s YCombinator and went on to raise 100,000 ETH later that year in a token sale. Many in Request’s team have previous experience developing payments and blockchain related projects such as The Blockchain Network, Neomy, and MoneyTis .
The Request network is a layer built on top of Ethereum. The network allows users to create invoices and request payments, with such requests alerting payees to needed payments, and with all invoice data encrypted and stored on InterPlanetary File System (IPFS). Using Request, Alice could request that Bob repay a dinner IOU, with Bob’s Transferwise app alerting him to the requested payment, allowing Bob to directly repay Alice, and enabling each to make the receipt accessible to their companies for expense or tax purposes. The network detects payments associated with an invoice using a built-in payment processor. No payment information, like credit card or account number, is shared between parties—requests are payable in ETH, BTC, any ERC-20 token or fiat. For converting requested currencies, Request is developing a built-in payment processor capable of handling cryptocurrency payment, and interfaces for third-party payment processors integration.
While the basic request system was originally envisioned as having no third-party service fee—a key differentiator from competitors like Stripe, Paypal, Square or Ayden—the network has since adopted a fixed fee per payment batch borne by gateways. More complex payment requests are made possible by an extension layer, which enables options like VATs, downpayments, installments, escrow, cross-currency, and repayment. Use of such extensions is expected to have fees of around 0.1% to 0.5% of a transaction. Request’s long term vision sees companies sharing access to their Request network stored invoices with third-party accounting, auditing, and tax services to simplify the involved tasks, potentially providing savings for such processes through automation and error reduction.
The Request Network token, REQ, is an ERC20 token required to use the network and, eventually, to participate in its governance—proposed governance features include a voting system and a member restricted chat system. When using the network, the participants will need to pay a network fee in REQ to create a request, with the used REQ burned. A burning mechanism is used to both promote deflation and reduce spam—because request data is encrypted, actors could spam unnecessary data stored by network nodes, and fees are intended to disincentivize this behavior.
Version 2 of the request protocol introduced changes to the fee system, making usage fees relative to data size, and adding a minimum 0.10 USD fee per network update. In response to community concerns with how fee changes might affect competitiveness with payment processers like Paypal, Request responded:
“A request will cost far less than $0.1. The fix batch fee will not be borne by the end users but will be covered by gateways, with one being operated by us. Today, merchants are already willing to pay more than 10 times this amount to work with payment processing companies.”
Request’s initial token supply was 1,000,000,000 REQ. The project raised 100,000 ETH from 14,467 participating approved registrants, completing the sale in three days. Request reports that its top contributors came from China, South Korea, Russia, France, and Canada, and that 135 nationalities participated.