Imbrexer, Arbitration & Dashboard

Hello imbrex community,

The month of April was packed with exciting news! We completed our audit with Consensys Diligence, expanded our team, participated in a panel at the NYC Real Estate Expo, presented at BlockDev in San Francisco, and were announced as a sponsor of Inman Connect in San Francisco (July 17–20). As a result, imbrex is gaining continuous exposure in both the real estate and blockchain communities.

Since the completion of our smart contract audit, we’ve been working assiduously on front-end integration and testing to prepare for mainnet release of the imbrex alpha. Several features, including advanced Imbrexer search capabilities, arbitration front-end assemblance, and user dashboard data configurations, are all in our testing environment and will be taken to task by our passionate Quality Assurance team this week. During this time, we’ll also be working with our bank and payment processor in order to get the subscription feature ready for the main environment.

Here’s a snapshot of recent progress and the highlights of what’s up next.

Search Function: Imbrexer

The search function on the imbrex platform is one our most important features and proud accomplishments. Building an efficient search engine is non-trivial (not to mention an integral part of a global real estate listing service experience) and its complexity is magnified in the Imbrexer. The Imbrexer is a suite of technologies that includes Elasticsearch, the Interplanetary File System and the Ethereum Blockchain. This combination provides the necessary ingredients for data decentralization however it forces creative, non-traditional methods for calling specific datasets. We’ll illustrate this by comparing how search is performed in Web 2 (today’s web environment) vs Web 3 (the blockchain environment). When you search for a City, State (key-value pair) in Web 2, the application calls its back-end database (SQL, NoSQL, MySQL, etc.) for the input string “City, State”. The application’s back-end stores a dynamic database of information and the input call matches it to the key-value pair (“City, State” in this case). With imbrex, we are using the Ethereum blockchain and the Interplanetary File System, (IPFS) for open, decentralized storage, not a private database. Therefore, we have to compose rules that work just as efficiently without this preloaded source of data.

When we began testing, the team saw that when you searched for “Stamford, CT” (Stamford, Connecticut) it was pulling results from Stamford, CT but also any listing with “Stamford” and “CT” in its address field (i.e. 123 Apple Ct “Court”, Phoenix Arizona). Our Senior JavaScript/Node.js Engineer, Brock, designed a method for the Imbrexer that reads the address from right to left. The Imbrexer parses each word and populates the results according to a custom set of rules. The second rule (the first being read the address from right to left) is for the Imbrexer to recognize “Stamford CT” as one search term and then populate all listings in “Stamford CT” (Stamford, Connecticut). After the Imbrexer has produced all listings in Stamford, Connecticut the Imbrexer will populate all listings in “Connecticut”. After populating all listings in the state of Connecticut, the Imbrexer populates all listings with Stamford in the address field. This trilateral relationship is maintained by the Imbrexer staying in constant communication with Ethereum and IPFS whereas in Web 2 the calls take a more bilateral route from the frontend application to a private backend database.

Arbitration User Interface

The Arbitration Process is an important imbrex feature that incentivizes users to scrub the database, keeping it up-to-date. Data quality is a problem emblematic of centralized, company-owed databases. User sovereignty over their data is one of the most personally impactful promises and revolutionary achievements of Web 3 technology. It’s a radical change, and you might say, that it’s the north star of the imbrex vision. That said, change is hard. Even really, really good change. Not only is it not easy to navigate, it’s also not easy to discern.

Our approach was to design arbitration for the user least familiar with blockchain technology. Imbrex users should be able to flag listings, vote on flagged listings and redeem rewards just as easily as playing a Web 2 game online. A big ask! But we’re making progress daily. The team designed the Arbitration page to seamlessly guide users through the voting process. To start, the user can pre-purchase Ethereum transactions using fiat through imbrex’s Subscription Model. Next, the user can enter a listings arbitration page to view evidence from the Lister and Flagger that validate their claim. Last, the user can vote with intuitive popups and track the process from their user Dashboard. Brock created an evidence module and Piyush, our Senior Solidity Engineer, set up the Flagger/Listor reputation API calls that pull reputation information from the Listing Rewards Contract. These functions assist voters by providing insightful data about the counterparties disputing the data quality of a listing. Last, we added a tracking instrument so that users can observe the arbitration process from end to end, and know their status every step of the way. Brock is working on the final phases, including pulling the Flaggers and Listors’ avatars, their respective reputation ratings and evidence each may have uploaded to imbrex to make their case for voters to view.

Imbrex User Dashboard

Our Senior Software Engineers, James and Edouard, are working on a key component to the success of our tracking instrument, the user Dashboard. In order to pull data from the Arbitration Process (countdown clocks, reward redemption, voting metrics), we had to update the ImbrexAPI, a set of endpoints that retrieves user data from the Listing Rewards Contract.

We’ll finalize these features this week and deploy them into our testing environment. We’ll also tackle several administrative tasks: finalizing setup with our payment processor for the Subscription Model, relaying comments back to our legal team on user policies, and setting up our user support environment. Once achieved and we are confident in testing, we’ll start implementing MainNet migration procedures.

We will be attending Inman Connect shortly after launch. Edouard will be presenting on our data model and the rest of the team will be demoing the product in its live environment. Additionally, Lauren, our Head of Marketing, and Kyle, our User Specialist, are working on the imbrex Ambassador Program, where, in our inherently P2P ecosystem, the community will be taking active roles in education, user onboarding, and industry collaboration. Details on the program will be released prior to the Inman Conference in July.

To spread knowledge, our Community Liaison, Ryan, and Lauren will be conducting a bi-weekly podcast. It will explore blockchain technology and its potential impact on the real estate industry. We are excited to begin using different content media in our marketing strategy and to connect with the real estate and blockchain communities. More details will follow in the next blog post.

We couldn’t be more excited for what’s to come throughout the Spring and Summer. Please stay tuned!