Factom Bridge

Hello again from Factom Bridge. We applied in round one with much of the same spirit. We wish to create tools to make the Factom Blockchain available to environments that may not be able to now. Currently, we are looking at adding a bridge to mesh networks or secured networks that may not have direct access to the internet where Factom lives. Hosting ANO servers will allow us to dedicate servers and funds to this end without external influences taking precedence. The largest change between round 1 and 2 of the ANO selection process is the addition of an enterprise level Network/Security/Server deployment and automation resource as part of our team.
 
Hello Matt,
1. We aren't currently looking at Grant work. That does not mean that it could never happen, but at this time, ANO payouts would be funding development costs. The reason Factom Bridge was formed is to grow the availability of the Factom Blockchain. We have a number of tasks that fall into the 'We have no business reason for this, but it would be cool if Factom could..." In our first case the '...' is 'be accessed from an open garden mesh implementation or substratum mesh network without them hitting the internet.' This project has been falling off the end of our priorities list as it falls into the interesting but optional and unfunded category. Being an ANO moves project to 'has funds and is in our best interest to address' category. This directly effects the testnet servers as our current servers were reallocated.

2. I will address efficiency first. With two servers we are returning half to the grant pool. When ANOs start moving to single servers instead of the current 2, We have noted 30% returned to the grant pool (70% kept). This is really wiggle room. We do not know today what some of the commitments we may have to support when the Authority Server is moved to a new ANO. As for time, I won't speak for our other team members, but I have 10-15(+) hours a week that I will direct to this. While it isn't my primary employment (I work at Factom, Inc) It does directly improve my value to the company. Things we work on will also not be items that conflict with Factom, Inc, but also other ANOs. This isn't a competition. If we think a magic bean counter would be good for the protocol and someone else is working on one, we can consider it covered and do something else. That will require some community transparency into what we are working on or considering. We also consider tools we make to be open sourced and easily licensed.
 
Thank you for applying. A few questions I am asking all applicants,
  1. How many person-hours per week do you expect your team to devote to this ecosystem?
  2. How will these hours be distributed among your members?
  3. How will this be distributed among your ANO activities (open source project dev, proprietary project dev, protocol level technical involvement, governance involvement, marketing/promotion … )?
  4. Can you give a list of demonstrable metrics that the community could use say 6 months or a year from now if you are selected in this application to evaluate your ANO?
 
Hi Matt - how far can nodes be spread out and still effectively spread the network? Could the nodes be moving - For example placed in vehicles within a closed environment?
Hi Bobby,
Which nodes? Do you mean inside a mesh network or are you talking about something else?

If you mean mesh, that would depend on the network for what the bridge would look like. The bridge may be a server with a foot in both networks, a client that talks to one or a relay service. If it is a highly mobile mesh network, it would be difficult to drop a persistent server in the middle of it.

<this is the edit>
I suppose it could be in a van.
<end edit>
 
Yes the mesh network.

Apologies it's curiosity for an application. You could drop a fixed server in a car park, and have the cars rigged with nodes allowing them to send data back to Factom when needed?

This is all done with radio signals if I read that correctly. Radio signals can travel large distances - theoretically how big could the car park be?
 
Bobby,
Are you basing this on the ANO application or a different conversation? It is interesting but I think you have made a leap somewhere that I am not seeing. Or, it just occurred to me that this is something that you are considering. In that case, one piece of that network would have to be able to bridge to the internet. One phone with a data plan may do it. This is really dependent on the mesh network implementation you are wanting to use. What I am proposing isn't a mesh network, just a way to move data from your network to the Factom blockchain that lives on the internet.

Now that we are thinking on these terms... It wouldn't have to be a straight connection. It could be over SMS. There are even network over HAM radio projects out there. That is the kind of abstract thing I was referring to when I said relay. This is the kind of thing I would like to have the ANO funding for. I have no commercial reason to attach this to a HAM radio, but it would be interesting and I may have to buy a ham radio, which isn't going to happen on its own. (Wives only put up with so much...:) ). SMS would happen first and I can already think of a couple ways to leverage that for a mobile network.
 
Thank you for applying. A few questions I am asking all applicants,
  1. How many person-hours per week do you expect your team to devote to this ecosystem?
  2. How will these hours be distributed among your members?
  3. How will this be distributed among your ANO activities (open source project dev, proprietary project dev, protocol level technical involvement, governance involvement, marketing/promotion … )?
  4. Can you give a list of demonstrable metrics that the community could use say 6 months or a year from now if you are selected in this application to evaluate your ANO?
Hello Julian,

1. We are currently looking at between 30 and 40 hours a week between the three of us. That may be lower than some other candidates, but you will notice in question #3 that most of those hours are going to be directed towards open source development and governance. Those hours will be higher as server code updates require.
2. As of today, our hour's distribution is in the neighborhood of 60% matt, 25% Harlan and 15% Ethan. These are loose numbers and they are expected to change as we get involved with specific open source tasks.
3. Our purpose for applying to be an ANO is primarily to fund expenses we will run into while developing open source tools for Factom Blockchain access. That being the case, a majority of our time will be devoted to open source project development. Active participation in the discord community as it relates to governance in the guide and ANO communities will dovetail with this development as it will at least partially effect what projects we are working on. Marketing may receive some collateral time, but we do not currently have plans to run an organized marketing project. Core protocol development is not impossible, but we aren't currently budgeting time for it. Proprietary code development is not impossible, but we aren't currently budgeting time for it and do not, as of today, have plans in that direction. The above time/effort estimates are ignoring the support of our Authority servers and infrastructure. As we all know, that can vary greatly.
4. Due to the nature of our application, demonstration of our contributions to the environment should be geared towards the release of open source projects, participation in the community discord and server uptime in relation to all of the other ANOs. Since metrics are typically numbers, I would go with projects released, support tasks and possibly lines of code. (Lines of code seems to be a popular measure for non programmers). Server uptime is an easy number to calculate. In the community, the number of active participants that are familiar with us and have interacted with us. As a softer measure, if we are well known in the community and responsive to open source project requests, we should be counted as successful.
 
Hi @factom_matt! Could you share a little bit about how your team plans to handle conflicts of interest between Factom Inc and Factom Bridge given your current employment with Factom Inc? Are you planning to work at/on Factom Bridge full-time if awarded an ANO?

Thanks,
- Madison
 
Hi @factom_matt! Could you share a little bit about how your team plans to handle conflicts of interest between Factom Inc and Factom Bridge given your current employment with Factom Inc? Are you planning to work at/on Factom Bridge full-time if awarded an ANO?

Thanks,
- Madison
Hello Madison,
Thank you for this question. It is an issue, but I do not consider it a problem. I touched on the solution in my reply to MattO above. If someone else is working on a project, I will consider that covered and not work on it. This is a team effort. In Factom's case specifically, if I am asked not to work on something because Factom, Inc is working it, I will consider it covered and not work on it. Even if I have my Factom Employee hat on and I am doing the work myself. You can do a million things with the Factom Protocol. Staying out of areas that Factom, Inc is working will not be difficult. Working on open source projects as an ANO does not require me to make everything I write public. What I have said is that we will be open about the open source projects we are working on in the community.

I am not planning on leaving Factom, Inc. if we are awarded ANO status.
 
Hello Madison,
Thank you for this question. It is an issue, but I do not consider it a problem. I touched on the solution in my reply to MattO above. If someone else is working on a project, I will consider that covered and not work on it. This is a team effort. In Factom's case specifically, if I am asked not to work on something because Factom, Inc is working it, I will consider it covered and not work on it. Even if I have my Factom Employee hat on and I am doing the work myself. You can do a million things with the Factom Protocol. Staying out of areas that Factom, Inc is working will not be difficult. Working on open source projects as an ANO does not require me to make everything I write public. What I have said is that we will be open about the open source projects we are working on in the community.

I am not planning on leaving Factom, Inc. if we are awarded ANO status.
Thanks for the info @factom_matt! Firstly, we'd like to clarify that we don't have any objection to inter-ANO collaboration. Indeed, one of the admirable qualities of Factom is that it's built around this sort of collaboration and is designed to prevent one party having too much power.

But all of that collaboration should happen in the community discussion channels, and we'd imagine that you have industry-standard agreements with Factom Inc that limit your ability to discuss information used to make decisions or suggestions. In addition, being an employee of another ANO or Guide establishes a hierarchical relationship that allows the employing ANO or Guide to unduly influence or pressure the employee ANO. What we're curious about is how you plan to clearly separate Factom Bridge from Factom Inc and deal with any potential conflicts of interest when it comes to furthering the Protocol as a whole. What happens when Factom Bridge and Factom Inc disagree on a decision, or you can only justify a decision by violating an agreement with your employer? These are the sort of concerns which arise when relationships like this one exist, and we'd like to learn a little bit more about the approach you're taking to prevent it.

We're positive Factom Inc is a good actor. That said, on a personal level, I know I'd be hard pressed to go directly against my employer in a public venue if I had to.

Thanks,
- Madison
 
Thanks for the info @factom_matt! Firstly, we'd like to clarify that we don't have any objection to inter-ANO collaboration. Indeed, one of the admirable qualities of Factom is that it's built around this sort of collaboration and is designed to prevent one party having too much power.

But all of that collaboration should happen in the community discussion channels, and we'd imagine that you have industry-standard agreements with Factom Inc that limit your ability to discuss information used to make decisions or suggestions. In addition, being an employee of another ANO or Guide establishes a hierarchical relationship that allows the employing ANO or Guide to unduly influence or pressure the employee ANO. What we're curious about is how you plan to clearly separate Factom Bridge from Factom Inc and deal with any potential conflicts of interest when it comes to furthering the Protocol as a whole. What happens when Factom Bridge and Factom Inc disagree on a decision, or you can only justify a decision by violating an agreement with your employer? These are the sort of concerns which arise when relationships like this one exist, and we'd like to learn a little bit more about the approach you're taking to prevent it.

We're positive Factom Inc is a good actor. That said, on a personal level, I know I'd be hard pressed to go directly against my employer in a public venue if I had to.

Thanks,
- Madison
Madison,
I thought I had covered it with my employee hat comment in the last message, but conflicts are possible. I have no intention of going against my employer's (Factom, Inc) wishes. My working with other ANOs on a project or not is a courtesy. In Factom Inc's case, it is more than a courtesy. I consider all of the code that I write for Factom to be proprietary code unless I have received permission to share it. If another ANO asked for help with something that they considered proprietary, that wouldn't be open source either. And I would help. Building the community around the Factom Protocol is a team effort. I would also not be going into detail publicly about what I am doing for them. Being transparent about what I am working of as Factom Bridge is not the same thing as detailing what and why I am not working on something. Whether that is because of Factom, Inc, another ANO or even just a philosophical reason of why I like or don't like something. One of the metrics I mentioned above (Julianft) is how to measure our value as an ANO. Primarily, that will be what I share as open source.


The above being said, apart from wanting to be an ANO since before I started working here, a major reason we are applying to be an ANO is to fund development on things that Factom, Inc is NOT doing. I get to work on things that Factom IS doing at work.

As for having an undue influence of one ANO over another, this is less of an issue today than it was when there were only 11 ANOs. Assuming that Factom, Inc could control Factom Bridge on some ANO voting item, we are talking about the difference between 3 and 6% of the voting, and less in the future. That is also what recusal is for.
 
Hi and thanks for applying!

You wrote above: our purpose for applying to be an ANO is primarily to fund expenses we will run into while developing open source tools for Factom Blockchain access.

Quint1)
Would you be able and interested to also fund this kind of development via a grant at a later stage?

Quint2)
What is the minimum FCT price point you would be able to:
Operate the nodes in the way you described above?

Quint3)
What is the minimum FCT price point you would be able to:
Operate the nodes in the way you described above, and also proceed with the development of your main project?
 
Hi @factom_matt

I find myself reading and re-reading your application and supporting documents, and I'm having a really hard time conceiving of what you're specifically trying to accomplish from a "furthering the protocol" standpoint.

For those of us that are less technically inclined, such as myself, could you please elaborate on what you mean by building out Mesh integrations? I understand in a general way that you intend to build out a sort of bridge that connects the Factom protocol to a variety of use cases and that the networks interacting with the blockchain do not have to leave their mesh environment.... which sounds great, but I don't necessarily understand, with specificity, what kind of examples you're conjuring up as the ultimate effect (that furthers the protocol) of the development work you intend to perform.

tl;dr - Can you please ELI5 on exactly what sort of development you plan to do, ideally providing an example or two of something you can envision your development work producing?
 
Hi and thanks for applying!

You wrote above: our purpose for applying to be an ANO is primarily to fund expenses we will run into while developing open source tools for Factom Blockchain access.

Quint1)
Would you be able and interested to also fund this kind of development via a grant at a later stage?

Quint2)
What is the minimum FCT price point you would be able to:
Operate the nodes in the way you described above?

Quint3)
What is the minimum FCT price point you would be able to:
Operate the nodes in the way you described above, and also proceed with the development of your main project?
Hello Quintilian,
Quint1 -
This is probably the most problematic for me personally. At the point that I would be applying for Grant funds, I would be working in competition with Factom, Inc. That is my opinion without asking for Factom's (my employer's) opinion. If I am being paid for working on grant work, I should be doing it for them. Second, a grant is an effectively an employment contract. Maybe not directly, but effectively. I don't need the conflict on my time. So, I personally will not be proposing grant work while I work at Factom, Inc. IF Ethan or Harlan came up with something they thought was a good Grant Proposal, I would not stop them from proposing it. This would be after clearing it with Factom Inc, and I would not be doing more than advising. This would also have to be overly transparent. With the current sponsor program that you guys have going (good idea, by the way) a grant could be possible. But as of now, we have no plans on grant work. Short answer, able: sure / interested: no .

Quint2 -
Data center pricing has us breaking even at about $1.60 per Factoid. Assuming there was no other revenue source available to any of us, that would be the price we would need. At $1.60, we would most likely be 'selling' them to ourselves and paying those expenses out of pocket instead of putting them on the market.

Quint3 -
Working on our main project is generally programming time. Bringing up additional servers are one time costs. If we are running at break even or worse, new purchases will probably be put on hold. This would be after the original onboarding outlays. If we already have staging hardware this still would cause a hold up for development, just deployment. Generally, what we are proposing is not an additional hardware deployment, so this should not be an issue.
 
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Hi @factom_matt

I find myself reading and re-reading your application and supporting documents, and I'm having a really hard time conceiving of what you're specifically trying to accomplish from a "furthering the protocol" standpoint.

For those of us that are less technically inclined, such as myself, could you please elaborate on what you mean by building out Mesh integrations? I understand in a general way that you intend to build out a sort of bridge that connects the Factom protocol to a variety of use cases and that the networks interacting with the blockchain do not have to leave their mesh environment.... which sounds great, but I don't necessarily understand, with specificity, what kind of examples you're conjuring up as the ultimate effect (that furthers the protocol) of the development work you intend to perform.

tl;dr - Can you please ELI5 on exactly what sort of development you plan to do, ideally providing an example or two of something you can envision your development work producing?
Hello Sanfranseahawk,
Here are two scenarios of what we are proposing today. This does not mean we can't grow our scope in the future.
First, Open Garden has moved into the crypto realm and is about to run on OG tokens so the environment for them has changed in the last few months. Open Garden is the group that developed FireChat. FireChat is the application that was used in Egypt and Hong Kong when the government shut down the internet to stop everyone from showing the world what was going on. With the FireChat mesh network, the government couldn't stop it. The connections just daisy chained until they found the internet. When I was reading about that it occurred to me that a Factom Node would have been useful for provenance or just as a messaging system that doesn't have to expose your location.
Previously, OG was attempting to sell the functionality to create ad-hoc networks between devices with a proprietary SDK. That is a very loose description of what they were doing, but it appeared to be targeted at businesses. The functionality would be similar to the above. A deployable, secure network that can still leverage Factom without having to poke extra holes in the network or host a Factom follower.
The second scenario also relates to what I believe you are asking with the 'building out mesh integrations' part of your question. We have no intention of deploying another projects mesh network across the city of Austin or any other city using ANO funds. It is not an ethical issue, but we are trying to grow Factom, not some other mesh project. If there is a persistent mesh network running somewhere, it may be interesting to physically put a follower on that network. That may be a server or a server and a handful of devices to extend a mesh a couple hundred feet to the server. That is what we consider supporting or integrating with a mesh network.
The difference between the two scenarios is how much actual real-world interaction we have. Is it an ap on someone's device that we know nothing about or a server that one of us actually plugged in.
How does this build the protocol? There is no business case for providing provenance to protestors. As far as I know, there is no pot of money sitting around for a project like this. A few years from now the grant pool may have cleared all of the more important items off the list and get to something like this, but it really shouldn't be on top of the list right now. But, I would like to read an article someday that says these horrible things happened and the only reason we know the truth it is because ... Factom.
 
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