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Cover image for Donation Stream — Grant Report #1
Donation Stream

Donation Stream — Grant Report #1

Mike Huggins
A software engineer at Jaguar Land Rover. Lucky enough to win one of the mid-level grants with Donation Stream.
・6 min read

Project Update

Welcome to Donation Stream! A real time streaming platform to bring creators in the physical world together with donors who attend their locations (think about us as allowing donations to museums or art galleries that are free to enter).

Hello 👋

Wow what a rush, first the surprise and delight of being awarded a mid-level grant by the Grant For Web team, followed by the trepidation of knowing we had to come up with the goods! Then came realism - trying to understand the Interledger protocols, navigate a global pandemic and carefully begin to progress towards an MVP using Xumm...it has been an interesting time since we officially began the project on the 1st of November 2020.

Pictures paint a thousand words so here is a small selection of our nascent user interface featuring some very happy grant winners (Mike and Luke)! Some of it is on the site and some is still in development.

Dashboard Streams
Landing Page
Landing Page 2
Donation form
Donation Stream team

The journey so far...

We are 12 weeks into our project and it can best be broken into two 6 week phases.

Phase 1 - All things Interledger

The first 6 weeks we spent grappling with the nuances of Interledger and online web monetisation documentation. We built a limited connector, used SPSP to connect a sender and receiver and pass payment details, utilised a STREAM via a BTP connection, then at some point...it felt a bit too complex. The time taken to build out a suitable Interledger solution would have used a large chunk of our project time and the rest of the project would have suffered as a result.

Post MVP we thought it would be a really nice feature for users to be able to add different wallets and for us to take the pressure of storing cryptographic secrets(😅). Using the rust Interledger connector in containers to stream payments(which we currently have working locally but not deployed), we even discussed keeping everything just on the Interledger testnet and running a pseudo streaming system. In the end we deemed that unnecessary. Again for an MVP that needs to be slick and feel good to retail users and charities, we were over-engineering our product.

Phase 2 - The Pivot

The next 6 weeks were very different. Being aware of Xumm and the Xumm api it struck us that with the number of users who have downloaded the app and already store their payment details within Xumm, we could send XRP payments via streams from our webapp. A side note here is that given we are UK based, any action from the SEC is not applicable in the UK(our regulations for cryptocurrencies are very clear).

Xumm is an ideal system to allow us to build out our application, make it slick in terms of a working MVP and add other payment solutions in the future. Albeit Xumm is used more as a way of settling a total receipt than streaming in the truest sense.

From this start point we built out an application in Next.js and tailwindcss. The gui can create accounts, change account details, store public xrp account details, send donations using a users unique donate url, show a dashboard of streams sent and received, process transactions using serverless functions and verify transactions on the XRP ledger. Not to mention dark mode support in the pipeline! After just 6 weeks of development we are very pleased with the overall 'look' and now have a JIRA board full of exciting new features to implement.

Progress on objectives

Overall objective

Provide charities, free museums, art galleries and other organisations an alternative revenue stream in an increasingly cashless society

We are on track to provide the MVP to support our overall objective. We have reached out to some charities but have not contacted any major museums in the Manchester area, partly because we know they aren't open at the moment(given the pandemic!) and partly because we would like to show them a slick system for receiving streaming payments. We want to be in a position to spring into action the moment they are but we need to close the gap with our product first. In addition they will need support with setting up web monetisation on their sites(getting a payment pointer and updating the head script etc), which we are not quite yet in a position to provide.

Key activities

Front end GUI/Back end services - it is happening and changing on a daily basis, indeed 382 commits right now! We are using Firebase/Firestore for users, auth, databases and serverless functions.
Integrations with existing XRP payment service providers(Xumm, Coil, Uphold etc) - We have our site web monetised using our Uphold payment pointer for coil subscribers and our main payment method is now via Xumm
Integration with on-site partner - all physical locations are closed in the UK and we would like to be able to show a slick product. As soon as we our comfortable with our output we will start to approach Manchester Museums prior to them opening.
Increased social media activity in the web monetisation sphere - We always said at the half way point would begin our social media activity, Twitter, XRPChat, Web monetisation forum etc. This will be uplifted shortly (having said that we are geeky devs and so will have to try to appear normal!😆)

Communications and marketing

If we are honest with ourselves we are both devs who love to build things but we know that this project needs us to be more than that, much more!

It was always our plan to begin engaging with a wider audience from month 4 onwards - via Twitter, Reddit, Xrp Chat, Coil blogs - to build interest in the specific community.

To begin with, this will be a regionally focused and real world project with broader reach, we need to find a way to make it accessible and fun....any ideas then please help!

In terms of marketing budget, it is all reserved for on-boarding partners and conducting a social media plan.

If we get really desperate in drumming up attention then we will just have Luke do a 24 hour sing a long for charity!

What’s next?

The remainder of our time (3 months) will be spent making a slick user experience and adding new features. Alongside this we aim to bring onboard a physical location partner, show them the web monetisation future of their business and drum up an army of streamers/users to make any events a success.

We need to think about beta users in the near future both in terms of donees and donors to trial out our system and help find bugs.

We are really excited by the prospect of working with a museum, art gallery or charity to refine our product and demo where we have got to so far. We will also highlight where we are planning on going. We're keen to impress but know it is going to be an intense few months.

The fly in the ointment to all this of course is that our product was always connecting the physical with the virtual i.e someone attending a museum and donation streaming payments. At the moment Covid-19 is preventing this but with a fantastic vaccination programme well underway in the UK, we hope for a window of opportunity towards the end of our project.
If the situation starts to look bleak then we will have to pivot our plan again....

What community support would benefit your project?

We would really benefit from someone helping us on the social media side of life. If we can't find people in the community then we will likely look to employ someone on a freelance basis to come up with a solid and reliable plan to draw engagement for us in the right areas.

Goodbye 👋

Thank you for taking the time to read and we hope to speak to you soon.

Discussion (4)

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drsm79 profile image
Simon Metson

Cool stuff! I was thinking about something like this for folk attending gigs (remember those?) - payments could stream while you’re watching a band directly to the band or something...
Keen to see where you guys end up.

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lukebrobbs profile image
Luke

Good idea Simon! There are definitely some interesting real-world use cases for this, feels like we are just skimming the surface at the moment.

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chrislarry profile image
Chris Lawrence

We are always here to help amplify social. We obviously can't be a team member but might be useful in the short ter, just let us know!

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mikeh profile image
Mike Huggins Author

That is great thanks Chris, lovely to have an offer of help. We are going to head into the bunker and strategise this one then will definitely make use of your offer!