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Session Lab Update: New beginnings

Welcome to the first ever edition of the Session Lab Update
04 December 2023Admin

Grab yourself a seat, fetch a blanket, maybe even brew a cup of cocoa. Just get yourself nice and comfy. This is the first edition in a long line of Session Lab Updates, and it’s a long one. 

Right now, Session is motoring towards 1,000,000 active users, with our goal to smash the one milly mark and then go up, up, and away in 2024 on the back of some big product improvements which are on the horizon. After years of hard problems, hard development, and hard work — I believe 2024 is the year it all comes together for Session. 💪

Session Token Swap Program 🔄

We are running a program to reward the people who have made Session possible thus far—the Oxen community—and secure the transition across to Session Token.

A total of 60,000,000 Session Tokens are available in the program through the Service Node Bonus and the Oxen Coin Claims. The vast majority of liquid Session Tokens at launch will come from this program, so this is what you’re looking for if you want liquid tokens at TGE.

I’m sure you’re wondering ‘so what tokens are locked up, and for how long?’ Well, we are working on collating the most current info we have about token lockups, and we will be sharing that with y’all this week. While you’re awaiting details, keep in mind: most of the 💧liquid tokens💦 on day 1 will come from the Swap Program. 

Put on your lab coat: Session Token Tokenomics 101 🥼

Session Token proposes an entirely new tokenomic system. This system has been designed to best support Session, maintain the overall security of the network via better rewards, and be better utilised for functions within Session itself. Some very preliminary tokenomic concepts were shared in ORC-8, but there’s a lot more going on under the hood. 

Session Token has a maximum supply of 240,000,000 tokens. However, due to lockups and other conditions, the circulating supply at TGE will be significantly lower.

Although there can never be more than 240 million tokens circulating, there can be less. 

As just one example of how some tokens are not circulating, let’s take a closer look at the Token Reward Pool

The Active Staker Reward Pool

The Active Staker Reward Pool will receive a genesis provision of 40,000,000 Session Tokens to bootstrap the network and secure node rewards going forward. These tokens are not in supply on day 1, but will be emitted over time as node rewards.

The Active Staker Reward Pool captures tokens from Session monetisation (Session Pro, namespace system, enterprise) and transfers them into incentives for people who are actively staking to a Session Node. Tokens in the pool are time-locked in a smart contract and released at a planned rate of 14% per year. To provide more frequent rewards, this rate is recalculated every 24 hours and to determine an applicable network reward for a given day. 

(Token Reward Pool)*0.151 / 365 = Daily Network Reward

At the proposed rate, the day 1 reward would be ~16,547.95 Session Tokens, shared between however many full nodes there are in the network.

The dynamic nature of the Token Reward Pool allows tokens to be rewarded to node operators alongside a capped supply model. If the rate of pool in-flow exceeds the rate of pool out-flow, tokens are being net removed from the circulating supply while active stakers are still receiving rewards. 

Even if in-flow remains at zero, it will take decades before all of these tokens leave the Active Staker Reward Pool. So, although 240 million is the ‘maximum supply’ (and there can never be more than this), in practice the circulating supply will likely always be significantly less. The Token Reward Pool will be an important mechanism through which the utility of Session Token within Session (such as Session Pro) translates into incentives for active stakers who secure and operate the network. 

This is just one example of tokens which will be locked on day 1. Other tokens which will be locked up include the tokens from the strategic sale. Keep an eye out for more info about the tokenomics in upcoming updates.

Transition Time: Dev Progress on the network transition 🌱

Our developers are working hard on the new EVM smart contracts which will be used for the Session Network. These smart contracts will allow users to stake Session tokens from an EVM Layer  2, accumulate rewards, unstake nodes, and allow the network to punish non-performant Session nodes. 

We’ve built the prototypes for these contracts over the last few months, and now we’re now reviewing them to ensure they’re production level code. This is the final stage before they're sent off to third parties for auditing. The reviews we’re doing now will ensure that the code is tested and readable so the auditors can focus on any non-trivial issues they may find.

There is also some work to be done on the Oxen workchain. Changes are ongoing right now to ensure Service Nodes can witness and react to events on the EVM L2. For example, when new nodes appear on the EVM chain, this needs to be witnessed and reflected on the workchain for nodes to become active on the network.. This stuff requires a fair bit of modification to the Oxen Core C++ code. 

Overall, testing is getting close to completion now, and we will look to get the ball rolling with audits in the new year. 

Work on Session getting close to the pay-off ⛏️

The team is currently slogging away on disappearing messages and Groups. After some consideration, we’ve decided to make some significant architectural changes to disappearing messages in 1-1 conversations. These changes are going to make the implementation much less complex and much more reliable in real-world scenarios, with disappearing messages in 1-1 conversations now allowing both users to have separate disappearing message timers instead of sharing one timer for the whole conversation. This has the added benefit of giving individual users sole control over when their messages disappear in a given conversation. 

On Groups, all teams have successfully gone through at least one round of QA for Chunk 1, which implements group creation and messaging, with just some minor bugs coming up — but nothing big demanding architectural changes. Those teams are now in deep work on Chunk 2, which implements group invites and user management (adding and removing members, leaving groups, etc.) — where they’ve either finished work awaiting QA or they are getting close to completion. 

Lokinet getting connected 🔗

This month the team made big progress on network connectivity, with only a few minor things preventing the test network from undergoing full scale testing. They’re now working on sharing of router contacts, ensuring nodes are appropriately queried to ensure no nodes are segmented off the network by other malicious nodes.

Dot Com 💻

Now that we have put in the hard yards with Session Token brand building, we can apply it all in things like the website. The Session Token website will be one of the most important assets we have as a project. Our landing page needs to be able to convert both people familiar with Session as a more generalised web3 audience who want to learn about Session Token. 

Session Website Landing Page Flow on Whiteboard
This month Josh, Cam, and Alex sat down to hash out the layout of the website. Session Token has unique advantages in the space: it has one of the most used apps in the entire industry. Session is real, it is useful, and it is already popular with web3 audiences. The website can leverage Session’s success and brand recognition to strengthen its conversion. Our website’s landing page should take people on a journey that makes sure they understand Session, understand why it’s useful, and prime them to get involved with the project. 

When we were building the flow, we were just using some copy stand-ins that got the basic message and feeling across. But once the landing page flow started to take shape, we started workshopping and testing that copy to find what felt the most impactful. 

Hero Copy Sneak Preview

Then, when we started to integrate the sections we had built with the visual designs and feel of Session, the website started coming together. We are now working on building out more fully-fledged designs that have that Session Token look and feel.

Here’s an early version of what a landing page might look like: 

Sneak Preview of Session Token Website

This isn’t final yet (in fact, the copy has already changed),  but I’m excited to see what y’all think of the look and feel. We will look to finalise the full web designs by the end of ‘23, and start working with web devs to bring this baby into the world next year. 

Preparing for launch: Official Discord 🎮

During November, we built the foundation for the new ✨official✨ Session Token Discord. Discord has a lot of fun tools to play with, and we have explored a bunch of them in the lead-up. There are some very cool and based web3 integrations available, so we’re excited to explore those possibilities alongside the community.

There are still some things we want to discuss with the community. Some of the platforms, like Zealy and Guild, look really similar to our eyes — so it’ll be good to start a discussion about the community’s ideas and preferences. We definitely want community members to be able to earn rewards and special ranks based on their contributions and on-chain activity, so we’ll be integrating either one of these platforms or something else similar. 

In other news, the first new member of the Session Token Discord is Session Bot. Look how cute he is 🥹
Session Bot
Session Bot will be used to help out with auto-moderation in the community, as well as adding some AI-powered flavour to the chats. The name ‘Session Bot’ isn’t locked in just yet, so we invite you to suggest the best name we can think of for this important community member.

We have already built out a lot of the style and feel of the Discord, but we want it to be a fun and inviting place for everyone in the community to hang out — so we’ll be open to suggestions from the community on other ways to make the server feel like home. 

We have got all our ducks in a row for the initial launch, but we want to put some more information about Session Token into the world before it drops, so keep an eye out for the Discord launch in the next couple of weeks.

Session TV finding its feet 📺

A while ago we relaunched the YouTube channel as the new and improved Session TV. The new channel is intended to have a much broader appeal than before, to make better use of our video production chops and spread the message of Session far and wide. 

We’ve found in the past that content the algo deems as repetitive, like numbered videos in a series, tend to get down ranked by the platform and reach fewer people. Even if the content is high quality and valuable, it just doesn’t get pushed to enough people. 

Cam and the team felt that a new editorial and stylistic direction for the YouTube channel would ultimately give it the opportunity to develop into a strong brand pillar that can increase Session and Session Token’s brand awareness and introduce new people to our project.

Although we’ve been frantically progressing things with the Session Token brand, we are still seeing really positive signs from this direction on the channel. 

Looking at our most recent video, Best Browsers for Privacy in 2023, we can see it immediately outperforming other content on the channel in pretty much every metric available. 

New YouTube Video Snapshot of Stats

The video is being seen by more people, watched for longer, and clicked on more. The impression click-through rate for the video is currently sitting at 8.1%, which is higher than average for our channel and pushing into the upper range CTR on YouTube. This is important because it proves that the video is achieving what it is supposed to: effectively catching the interest of a broader range of people. 

As we keep pushing out more content, we will expect to see these numbers continue trending positively and resulting in the growth of the channel. 

Thanks for tuning in for this first edition of the Session Lab Update. This is the first chapter of many — and I hope you’re just as excited as I am for the road ahead. I can’t wait to share more with you soon. 

Let’s send it. 🤝

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