ANO Application

Current Update: ANO Application
This is the initial application for Innovative Secured Connection (ISC) and they will use this area for updating the Standing Parties regarding their contributions to the Factom ecosystem. The following are their answers to the application questions:

Provide an overview of your entity or company.
ISC works in the transportation industry to deliver verifiable data to stakeholders that may not have access at present.

Bios for your workers who will be working on Factom
Name: Matthew Whittington

Name: Jim Luciano

Is your company currently incorporated?

If you are incorporated, what is your legal structure. e.g. Inc, LLC, etc?
Delaware LLC

If you are not incorporated, when do you plan to do so and what legal structure will you use?
In Process

Are any shareholders with a 10% or higher stake in any way involved with an existing Authority Node Operator. If so, please state who and describe the relationship.
Matt Whittington worked at Factom, Inc from 2015-2019

Explain what proactive approach you will take to manage the financial aspects of your business
Funding to move from POC to pilot is expected to close in the next week. Funding for the required servers is a small step up from what we are already going to be maintaining.

What is your motivation for becoming an ANO?
Factom entries are part of our process. Because of this, the health of the Factom network is a going concern. Being an ANO gives us official standing with an integral part of our system. Being an ANO also gives us access to Factoids that we can convert into Entry Credits. FCT availability is occasionally spotty in US markets and we would like to be confident in our access to them.

What vision do you have of the future of Factom?
We believe in the original vision of the Factom Blockchain for a public, low-cost, censorship-resistant, store of proof that was the ethos as early as Milestone 1 of the Factom Blockchain.

What is your commitment to the Factom protocol; what have you brought to the table already?
Our process is bringing transaction volume to the blockchain as well as another real project built upon it. We will also be a responsive ANO at a time when a few are losing confidence. We are not currently planning on Core or Grant work, we will be active in the discord, forum, and governance activities.

What is your future commitment to the Factom protocol; what will you bring in the future?
When our business expands to need them, we plan on pushing and funding beneficial FIPs. It has been a while since we have seen a pause in the blockchain, we would like to see a less fragile restart and update process. We would also like to contribute to a sharding implementation.

Are you running servers on Testnet?

If you are running servers on Testnet, approximately when did this start?

How many servers do you plan to run on Testnet?

For mainnet server 1, what country will the server be located in, what city, and what data center or VPS provider/region will you utilize?
Some of our business services are Microsoft-based, so we are currently planning on Azure South Central and North Central Virtual servers. We are not married to this. If the US ANOs are already Azure heavy, we can change that determination to contribute to Factom stability.

For mainnet server 2, what country will the server be located in, what city, and what data center or VPS provider/region will you utilize?
Some of our business services are Microsoft-based, so we are currently planning on Azure South Central and North Central Virtual servers. We are not married to this. If the US ANOs are already Azure heavy, we can change that determination to contribute to Factom stability.

Are your mainnet servers currently online?

Confirm that, if elected ANO, your servers will adhere to the minimum specifications (level 1) described in Doc 202.

Do you intend to surpass the minimum specifications (level 1) listed in Doc 202? If yes, describe the specifications of your servers in detail.
We are looking at 8 processors, 32 GB Ram, and 64GB drives. These are a little over the minimums but look acceptable.

Who on your team are able to admin the servers?
Matt Whittington will be the primary administrator for the time being. As our company expands, others may take on that role.

How many combined years of experience do you have of running production servers?

Describe production servers you have managed.
10 is a loose estimate.
2018-2020 - Recycling points network comprised of the company website, API servers, database servers, and multiple devices acting as collection and advertising hubs.
2014 digital currency exchange
The late 90s to 2012 multiple production-grade systems responsible for tens of millions in revenue.
These were not 'modern cloud-based enterprise networks', but running a handful of ANO and follower servers is not either.

Have you run any servers for any other protocol, if so, which?
Occasional nodes for other blockchain projects, but nothing at enterprise scale.

Have you run follower nodes outside of the Authority Set on testnet?

How will the team administer the Authority Nodes?

How would you handle an unscheduled restart of an Authority Node?
There are two types of unscheduled restarts. The first is an unplanned outage. In that case, we will go to the discord server and notify the other ANOs of the situation. We will then ensure that bringing them back up is in a safe manner for the network that will not disrupt elections. The second is a 'planned' unscheduled restart. In this case, we will use discord to notify the other ANOs and ensure that a restart will not conflict with any other ANOs. We understand that elections can be fragile sometimes.

How are you going to make sure your Authority Nodes operate securely?
Authority nodes should only be open to access for Factom specific connections. System software will be kept up to date to avoid known system vulnerabilities. Limited access via ssh will be used to access the servers. Federated or Audit servers will not be exposed for transactional uses. Followers will be maintained for that.

How are you going to make sure you respond quickly to unscheduled downtime?
Downtime response will be based around the discord server. There will be internal and external monitoring of the Factom services on our concerned machine(s). Any notification from them will cause a visit to the Discord server to see if coordination is needed for a response. Technical staff will be added as we move through our pilot rollout.

Could you describe how you would see your ideal Authority Node infrastructure?
Ideally, for each Authority Server, there will be one or more followers. The Authority node is locked down while the followers act as the outside interface and possible failover servers for the Authority node. As followers, they should have an up-to-date blockchain on hand to be able to quickly switch roles. At one time, guard servers were planned, but I do not think they were implemented.

What is the planned availability of the maintenance team?
Matthew Whittington is primary. On-call 24x7
Jim Luciano is backup for Matthews's unavailability, either planned or unplanned. BOTH should be notified of issues as they happen with Matthew being the one expected to respond.

What efficiency will you operate at?
Have @mboender @Alex @Matthias Fortin @Paul B. @Jason Gregoire @Saul Schwartzbach @Miguel Proulx and @Nolan Bauer seen this post? :) You are the ANOs that are yet to give an initial vote.

Also I did not forget TFA, I just wrote them directly on their Discord :)
Hi Hinamatsuri,
Yes we have seen it and we are temporising while the Director/Niels is performing his analysis of the current state of the protocol and defining the next protocol priorities.
In the past we have had applicants who reduce their promised efficiency shortly following their promotion to the authority set, which can leave a bitter taste for other ANOs. I understand that circumstances change and unforeseen reductions in efficiency can be required. However, I wonder if are you able to pledge to maintain your 50% efficiency for a minimum period of time? If so, what minimum period do you think would be fair?
Hello Alex,
I can easily say a year, but that is only because you are asking for something specific. One of the primary purposes of applying is that we want Factoids to burn for entry credits. I know I could personally contact someone in discord and do a private transaction, but ideally, we would just have them. At the current price, we can make 2.5 million (ish) entries a month with a 50% efficiency. At the point we are burning that many, the subject may come up in conversation. But, at that point, we also have a NEED for the blockchain to be up and are going to want to start making PIP / Grant suggestions. It will be in our best interest to be contributing to the grant pools.
Hey, yes I have seen this post. To be frank I don't have a strong inclination in either direction. Nothing personal but we have had quite many ANO applications of people saying they will build something and incorporate, which didn't realize in all cases. Hence I will also wait for some insight from the Factom Director.
Hi Matt and welcome,

I think it is great that your focus is on usage. I wish you all the best with aggressively driving usage, it is exactly what we need.

Just a quick question from me. There are a few inconsistencies in your application above, such as "

"How will the team administer the Authority Nodes?"
to which you have answered - No.

"Are you running servers on Testnet?"
to which you have answered - No

"If you are running servers on Testnet, approximately when did this start?"
to which you have answered - 2021-03-31

"How many servers do you plan to run on Testnet?"
to which you have answered - 0

Finally you state that you are setting up as a LLC and that this is in progress- is it still in progress?
Strange. I will have to revisit that questionnaire. We are aiming for 1 testnet server.

We haven't brought up our Authority servers yet. These servers are to be run out of operating funds. Those funds are finally becoming available, but we decided not to bring the servers up until the money was available instead of the possibility of money. If this company fails for some reason, I would expect standing to be removed. Removing standing is easier and with less risk to the network as an administrative function than as a technical one. That test server date was when I expected the server to be acquired and activated.