Airfox Engineering Update: June 2018


May was a rather busy month, as many team members were traveling to various events and countries. However, the engineering team has been working tirelessly on development behind the scenes. Last week, I answered questions from the community in our Telegram channel, and I wanted to send a special thanks to our community member Alex for being prepared with many great questions. I also want to thank Billy for putting a transcript of the chat on Reddit.

Our mission is to provide critical financial services to the unbanked, and we want to include our great community in doing so. Your feedback is very much appreciated. Please take the time to rate the app on the Google Play. This is valuable as we move closer towards exiting beta.

Airfox app news

We’re making continuous improvements to the app. Last month, we released two updates to the app including:

  • Lots of fixes related to the UI/UX for phone top-up and to better support low-end Android devices
  • Request money by QR code, so users can easily take payments using the app
  • Adding additional information to the transactions in the history, especially important for Boletos
  • Numerous bug fixes and performance optimizations across all devices

You can find the release notes in Portuguese and in English.

Usability testing in Brazil

A quarter of the team was in Brazil for two weeks. Much of what they were doing included usability tests with our target audiences. They meet with people who have been using the app for a month and people who had never heard of it before. Members of the team from product, engineering, and marketing conducted these tests, and now we have loads of feedback.

What’s next?

We took the feedback from Brazil and wrote many user stories. We are in the process of prioritizing what the engineering team will work in our next two week sprint (which starts Monday). Most importantly, we need to finish “metro card top-up,” so that app users will be able to use AirTokens and the app to purchase public transportation fares.

Other important work to be done before we can exit beta and open the app to more people:

  • Emailing receipts to users for successfully paid Boletos
  • Integrating vendor APIs to add more purchasing options within the app
  • Ways to withdraw account balance
  • Payments and deposits using credit card and/or debit cards
  • Adding more banks to transfer into the wallet
  • Creating a new UI for loan applications that highlights the tiers users progress through as they build their trustworthiness score on the platform
The updated tiers in the app. As people us the app, they will increase their trustworthiness rating in the app opening up larger loan amounts.

Android app permissions

In response to the great feedback from the community, we took a look at the Android permissions our app was asking for. Some we still needed, and some we didn’t so we moved them.

  • We removed download files without notification, enable or disable app components, and reorder running apps permissions. We don’t need them as they are legacy from old software we built.
  • Modify or delete the contents of your USB storage is a very common permission, and many third party libraries need it. It’s how you can use additional space for your app. For example, our ad-tech to watch videos uses USB space for caching, and removing it could have unintended side effects.
  • We are keeping read calendar events permission because we can use it to determine how “structured” someone’s day is as an alternative signal for credit scoring. We will scrutinize this permission later once we determine it is useful for trustworthiness scoring.

Please continue to share your feedback and questions with the team.

Growing the team

I’m currently hiring two software engineers in Boston. If you know anyone, please have them send their resumes to

Interested in learning more about AirToken by Airfox?

Read this great Reddit post outlining a very large number of publications and information about the AirToken platform. I look forward to another month building a great platform, and thank you for reading!

James Seibel, Airfox CTO

James Seibel is CTO at Airfox — a blockchain-based fintech startup bringing financial services to the unbanked and financially underserved in emerging markets.

James is formerly a Software Architect at Lola Travel (founded by Kayak co-founder), Head of Engineering at Apperian (acquired by Arxan Technologies), MS and BA in Computer Science from Boston University. James has architected and developed a range of technologies, including mobile app hardening using algorithms to rewrite compiled application binaries to automatically add crypto for US and German governments. James is a blockchain engineer and Ethereum contract author.



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Accelerate financial inclusion in emerging markets using technology built with trust and inclusion.