Ink Protocol is a payment and reputation system for peer-to-peer transactions. It allows buyers and sellers to transact confidently with decentralized reputation and escrow on any platform.
Payments happen through the XNK (pronounced "Ink") Token, an ERC20 compatible utility token with fixed supply (500M XNK).
While Ink Protocol’s core is in the Ethereum smart contract, the entire stack includes many important participants:
The Ink Protocol smart contract [Etherscan, GitHub] and the Ethereum blockchain store all of the important information about transactions. It's where the full transaction history sits, and also where sellers' decentralized reputation is kept. Lastly, it's the home of the XNK token.
Get familiar with the Ink Protocol Smart Contract.
From the smart contract's point of view, marketplaces and payment applications play the same role—they create the transaction and act as the platform the payment takes place on. The term used in the smart contract, and the term we'll use throughout these docs will be Owner.
Building a marketplace or payment app? Learn more about Owners.
Ink transactions are flexible. They can represent simple face to face transactions where things typically go quite smoothly. They can also handle online purchases where there's more room for the unexpected.
Ink Protocol gives buyers and sellers the option to add a mediator to a transaction. In the event of a disagreement between the two parties, the mediator can step in and resolve the issue as fairly as possible. Until an outcome is decided, the buyer's payment is securely held in escrow.
Marketplaces can integrate mediation directly for a seamless user experience, and payment apps can offer it as an option to anyone using their app. Mediators are able to take fees for their services too, which opens the door for individuals and organizations to act as third-party mediators, contributing their services to the Ink Protocol ecosystem.
Integrating mediation services into your app? Want to build your own business as a mediator? Learn more about Mediation Services.
Reading Ink Protocol data from the Ethereum blockchain involves a thorough understanding of our smart contract and the underlying blockchain technology.
To make accessing Ink Protocol's data as easy as possible, we will soon be offering a RESTful API, which will allow developers to read data in a much more user-friendly manner. Separately, we will also be releasing a public blockchain explorer for Ink Protocol, much like how Etherscan functions for the Ethereum blockchain.
Because all data is public, we welcome the developer community to build similar tools and services that will help the Ink Protocol ecosystem!
Looking at the entire public history for a seller provides an all encompassing view of their selling history, however we imagine that in many situations a curated or abridged version may provide a better signal for potential buyers.
Reputation systems are always under attack from spammers, fraudsters, and other types of content abuse. While prevention isn't possible (the protocol is open for anyone to use and write to), we see an opportunity for services to take Ink Protocol's raw feedback data, detect and remove content deemed spammy or fraudulent, and present an honest, accurate representation of a seller's history.
These reputation services may be standalone or built into data APIs/explorers, and are a very important part of making Ink Protocol useful.