Factom Road Map - Draft for Review, Discussion, and Refinement

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Factom Community,

This is the first of likely multiple public discussions regarding the most recent effort to develop an initial Community Road Map to unify and bring focused direction to the Factom Protocol.

This current effort was undertaken in support of section 5.1 of the July 2020 Factom Governance Improvement Proposal. This first draft of a Factom Community Road Map aimed to synthesize a collective project vision drawn from various aspirations, agendas, projects, articles, and efforts across the community and forge them into a community-driven plan of action able to unite and align the community.

This draft includes four basic sections: an introduction, a description organized into Road Map Eras, a high-level description of projects within each Era, and a visual Road Map layout.

The purpose of this discussion is to elicit feedback to refine this draft into a community-representative road map that we can subsequently ratify and begin working towards its execution. Once the community has an initial ratified road map in place, it is expected that the community will adopt and follow an annual review and validation process similar to proceedings as described in the July 2020 Factom Governance Improvement Proposal.

The draft Community Road Map can be reviewed here:
-Google Docs: Factom Community Road Map - Draft v0.0.1
Or
-The attached PDF.

Please take the time to thoroughly read the draft document and raise any comments and questions within this forum.

Your participation is not only encouraged, but necessary to bring this effort to fruition.
 

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Overall I like it! I can imagine significant restructuring based on feedback we hopefully receive from others but it's a solid starting point for serious consideration.

One of the things that seems missing, especially near-term, is the development of open-source reference products that can easily be adapted/adopted by outside developers. I'm unsure if this needs to wait for later in ERA 2. It seems just as likely that it belongs solidly on the early end of ERA 1.

I'm especially hoping to hear kind and productive feedback from @Niels Klomp @PaulSnow @vidale (don't know his handle here) and @Pluto (that's Dundee, right?).

Again, thanks for putting in the work to get this going.
 
@vidale (don't know his handle here)
That would be me.

I've already seen the document and offered some feedback that's been implemented. Overall I'm not the best guy for this kind of thing. The descriptions work very well for me in this document, and I like the message.

I will say that I like 'SMART' goals. We can start with a general vision, formulate these 'smart' goals based on them and on what our strengths & weaknesses are, and these goals can be subdivided into individual programmes/steps (which this document divides into eras) that help reach those goals.

The goals in this document could be 'smarter', but they work. I particularly think that increasing our dev attraction is absolutely critical in the coming period (we have one core developer after November), and this roadmap touches on that already. We'll never be the single preferred blockchain for developers, but we can work to decrease the threat of other blockchain projects brain-draining us and secure reliable, on-going development.
 
Already some things may have shifted. WAX for example is going to take more to do than just clean up some obvious issues. And the return may not be what we like.

I don't see how Factom 2.0 fits in, nor limiting the token supply.

And ANOs are already DIDs, just not W3C compliant (which is a subset of DIDs, not the definition of DIDs)

Just from a quick scan. It is really good work and what we need to do.
 
Will have a look at soon, but want to be clear and concise because it only mudies discussions and does not really add much to state things like ANOs are already DIDs.

DIDs are literally defined as a W3C (the Web standardization org) spec and datamodel including schemes for Decentralized Identifiers and not Decentralized identities. Yes ANOs have unique decentralized identities that are resolvable, no they are not DIDs.
 
I don't see how Factom 2.0 fits in, nor limiting the token supply.
Paul please read the document closely - aside from Niels’ vision papers which color nearly all aspects of the draft road map - the two initiatives you reference both influence the Eras and also reverberate across multiple foci and are referenced via footnote.
I think you’ll find a lot to like.
 
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FYI - Google Docs Community Road Map daft has been modified to allow comments.

I continue to encourage you to to make comments on this forum thread as many forum posters never actually read the document and just read forum comments.
 
Will have a look at soon, but want to be clear and concise because it only mudies discussions and does not really add much to state things like ANOs are already DIDs.

DIDs are literally defined as a W3C (the Web standardization org) spec and datamodel including schemes for Decentralized Identifiers and not Decentralized identities. Yes ANOs have unique decentralized identities that are resolvable, no they are not DIDs.
Ok sure. The two are just different standards that do exactly the same thing. Only we didn't deploy a universal resolver. If DID is a standard specific term, like "ASCII", rather than a term like "character encoding", I guess you are right.

But "decentralized identifier" doesn't sound like a standard specific term. You certainly couldn't trademark it. (Too descriptive)
 
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We're seeking real feedback on this road map. So far there have been no comments on the google doc. This is our community's roadmap, let's make sure that it says what we want and reflects what we mean. Also, there are several footnotes, be sure to read the source references to better understand the ideas the narrative promotes.

I really see this as two parts: there is a narrative that should speak to 1) who we are and what we want to be as a project and 2) a list of efforts we can plan out and methodically complete that will allow us to get there.

As listed above - maybe we want to spell out full integration of DIDs into Factom as a core identity scheme - I think that can be inferred from the narrative, but maybe we should add it to the ERA ONE or ERA TWO project description list.
Paul brought up Factom 2.0 objectives - again I think many of these efforts are inferred by the narrative, but if there are specific initiatives that NEED to be added to the ERAs let's add the effort to the list and discuss it.

The next step will be a major time discussion and vote, so let's make the investment now to ensure it's what we want. Note: once ratified, the community road map likely will be reviewed and validated at least annually.
 
Thank you.

-Do you @Azn1nvas1on have thoughts on any of the road map ERA goals or contents?
-Do you think these are the right goals for Factom? If so why?
-Do you think the governance goals of stakeholder inclusivity into governance will have wide appeal? Creating and implementing a federated proof of stake (token holders) and some kind of proof of use (FCT burners) to not be easy or free. Are these good investments? Will including more standing holders just further complicate community governance and divide stakeholders?
-Similarly, what do you think of the idea of a pegged ceiling of FCT? Various numbers have been highlighted (21mil, 16mil, etc.)
-What do you think of the idea of creating some kind of award structure of reconstituted FCT as laid out in the road map?
-Are there aspects or features of other blockchain or non-blockchain projects that you feel should be integrated into the greater factom project?
 
I'd suggest moving
Project tokenomics should be changed to support community goals. A hard cap should be placed on total token generation
up in the timeline. I'd even suggest it be something you tackle immediately. Guess which day Helium announced a simple discussion on the HIP that would cap their token supply?

Screenshot 2020-11-11 at 12.59.38 PM.png


And the answer is...........

Screenshot 2020-11-11 at 1.01.19 PM.png


Considering Who is leaving Core dev soon, I'd suggest you do it QUICKLY and make the change pretty simple so he can potentially squeeze the change in. Like a simple cut to 50, 25, or even 10% of current emissions.
 
@David Chapman thanks for the review and comment.

While there is an ERA framework I anticipate there will be several initiatives ongoing in parallel at any given time - and these will surely span across ERAs.

To your other points - many of the mentioned items are already in various stages of planning or work. Tokenomics is high in that list. Lastly, WHO has plenty on his plate and is currently working important matters for the community such as our core CI and testing environment among many other things. Others will take the helm for working and implementing future matters. Cheers.
 
Like a simple cut to 50, 25, or even 10% of current emissions.
The change is simple. The consequences aren't. There'd be so much arguing from half the current ANOs that it would never pass, because they'd be surrendering (substantial) absolute FCT income. Yes, even with an argument of "do you want 10% of your FCT at 100x the value or 100% FCT at a value trending to zero?" That's the ostrich effect.

We also need something in place that ensures we don't easily change tokenomics around a second time, or a third time, to avoid similar trust damage seen in Pegnet.

@Anton Ilzheev has been pushing a hardcap proposal in the private channels, and I drafted a Doc 001 update for him to accommodate it, but there's an enormous lack of input and proper discussion (as usual). That makes any vote extremely uncertain and more likely to fail. But we'll still hold it.
 
I have been pushing hard cap proposal since August.
I think we will have a consensus about 16M FCT hard cap.

But, as WB said, the consequences is what we need to model:

1) Grant pool size will be significantly reduced over time
2) ANO rewards will be reduced over time
3) We will have an endowment, but we never discussed how its managed and for which purposes it can be allocated — the only thing we discussed is allocating 1M FCT from endowment for Tier 1 exchange, but honestly I think it's tricky and probably won't work the way we want
 
@Anton Ilzheev @WB
Thank you for your comments: Before this discussion moves too far away from the thread focus, please know a proposal is in draft that attempts to capture much of the discussions tied to the mentioned tokenomics forum threads from @PaulSnow and Anton. MTF.

Regarding the draft road map...
-Is there any feedback or recommendations for the road map narrative?
-Are we focusing on the right goals and strengths of the protocol and community (at this time)?
-Are there other things we should be adding or removing from the ERA projects?
-Does this road map capture the collective community spirit of what we want to proclaim this project will become and steer our collective effort at least for the next 12 months until its annual review/revalidation?
 
Hi Jason,
I've delayed responding because I was curious to see if anyone else here would raise the below concern. Unfortunately, no one has, which says a lot. Anyway:

The roadmap is not accompanied by any sort of budget or capital allocation documents. Obviously, we need money to pay for protocol enhancements. I'm having a lot of trouble seeing how we can actually afford all of this. For example, the document states:

"Grow a sustainable cadre of 10-30 core & community developers within 2 years"

If a Dev costs $10K a month, and we have 20 Devs, that would be $200,000/month in Dev fees. That equates to $600,000 per quarter. Obviously, this is multiples higher than what the grant round can currently accommodate. Additionally, this doesn't even include the costs of current continuous grants (Open Node, Anchor, etc.). There are other initiatives on the roadmap that make this number go even higher (e.g., potential exchange listing fees).

Maybe you've thought this through and already have a budget or financial projections. If so, can you share?

Thanks,
Matt
 
Continuation:

We need to make sure the numbers on everything "work." For example, there's talk about capping the supply. There's also talk about providing a staking reward to FCT holders. There's also talk about providing upwards of $1 million for a premium exchange listing. We also have potential roadmap costs. This all needs to be budgeted out.

Even if we have a super slimmed down roadmap, we could still run into serious issues. Example: Let's say we cap the supply. Let's say we also provide a staking reward for FCT holders. Assume the price of FCT is somewhere around $.80. Does the math on this even work? The FCT to pay stakers, exchanges, etc. has to come from somewhere. Does it come from ANOs? If so, that means ANOs are receiving even less money, which means ANOs may have to operate heavily in the red. How many ANOs are actually willing to do this? What does that mean for protocol security? Etc.

Like any business, we need to work within our budget. That budget also needs to account for "worst case scenarios," such as $.50 FCT. It really concerns me that no one is talking about the math.
 
First of all, thank you so much Jason for leading this massive effort.

I will need some more time to review it completely and provide a comprehensive feedback but here are my first comments.

1. We should clarify our common vision for our protocol. There are some elements in it but we need to specify it to create this dynamic. What is our mission? What do we want to provide the world?

2. While I understand a proper budget is needed I also recognize that we need to start by defining a general direction before. This roadmap as it stands is a step in the right direction

3. The question of the budget is very relevant of course. Due to our limited ressources we also should consider which actions can provide us the extra ressources needed to achieve our full vision. It is a difficult balance between technical improvements and marketing actions to create a positive feedback loop.
If we consider that a change in tokenomics and a rebrand could help us get these extra resources, could we achieve ERA 1 goals with our current resources?

4. IMO we should asap dedicate the grant resources to these specific protocol developments. There is a strong chance that this could give us a positive feedback from token holders and investors.
Showing that we start dedicate ressources in ONE unified and clear/announced direction is what we have not done from the beginning and I think is a (massive) part of the solution.

These are my first general considerations.
I fully support this effort to unify our governance and development. This is a consistent vision we have lacked.
 
2. While I understand a proper budget is needed I also recognize that we need to start by defining a general direction before. This roadmap as it stands is a step in the right direction
That's exactly where I was going with this :). Because we have to consider the current state of our resources and budget, I don't see too many options:

Option 1: Dedicate the majority of grant round funds to sharding buildout. The problems with this approach though are that
(A) We lack developer resources to actually accomplish this right now
(B) We've been at it since the first grant round, which was 2.5 years ago, and don't have much to show for it.
(C) This doesn't guarantee usage
(D) Will this actually impact price? I doubt it.

Option 2: Focus on getting actual usage and show the world what Factom can actually do (i.e., projects like Zoints and PegNet). Hope this brings in fresh FCT purchasers and people building on FCT, which drives the price of FCT up, thus providing us more resources.

Option 3: Muddle along our current path. Keep in mind that the teams that have clients have stated (IIRC) that clients will continue to use private Factom instances for the foreseeable future.

Option 4: Focus resources on improving our tokenomics (dependent on math). Meaning, protocol upgrades such as capping supply and implementing staking. Hope this drives up FCT price. But, it could simply be putting lipstick on a pig since we don't have any usage or successful projects built on Factom to show (for the most part).

Option 5: ANOs heavily focus on government grants (i.e., outside funding)

Note: It's possible to combine a few of these depending on the math.

To simplify (in no order):
1. We need usage
2. We need better tokenomics
3. We need resources for further buildout
4. We need better tech (sharding).
*There are obviously other issues, but those are outside of this discussion

How do we prioritize these when considering our current budget?
How do we put ourselves in the best position so we have more resources 6-9 months from now?

Other options?
 
How do we prioritize these when considering our current budget?
Okay, there are so many gears here that can be locked together, if we really want to.

My two cents, in some order:

1. Better tokenomics. Doesn't take a lot of resources to implement. We have a lot of consensus on the big ideas. Hard cap. Some sort of endowment. Great. There's Anton's proposal and another one incoming that brings all these ideas together. We can get on this pretty fast and hope it gives us breathing room.

2. Leave these three years of indecision and muddling behind us and implement a solid governance structure that focuses on more inclusivity than we have now. For some, it's an ugly, uninteresting term. But governance is where you decide how resources are spent and handled. It's where you decide how you present yourself to the world and who you want to include. VERY important.

Think of it this way. If we suddenly have more resources at our disposal, do we really want to handle them the same way we've done for the past three years? 25 different people with 25 different ideas, each going a different route. I'm not very shocked we never got sharding. Or PoS. Or anything substantial for that matter. The protocol was swimming in money early 2018 and we all know how that went. The committee + council structure we created (with very little resources!) is strongly in line with the upcoming W&M research that explains why we've been failing. Tldr; it adds far better stakeholder management and decisiveness.

3. Bolstered by this better decision-making and hopefully better availability of resources, focus on further buildout of an approved roadmap. Add even MORE stakeholders (staking! users!) while building out other roadmap items. Is sharding critical right now? Do we really want a focus on long-long term SBIR funding? I'd prefer a deep focus on DIDs and dev retention.

4. If three doesn't happen, e.g. the tokenomics changes don't have the desired effect and we continue trending to $0, a fork would be the best outcome. Take all that's good and all lessons learned, and raise new funds. I can however guarantee that attempting it under the same structure as the past few years will not only look bad, it'll end bad.

To simplify:

1. Change tokenomics for more resources
2. Change governance structure for better resource management that is in line with an approved roadmap.
3. Review roadmap items periodically against budget, feasibility, progress (that's why we mentioned bi-annual 'conferences').
4. ???
5. Profit or fork
 
Focus on getting actual usage and show the world what Factom can actually do (i.e., projects like Zoints and PegNet). Hope this brings in fresh FCT purchasers and people building on FCT, which drives the price of FCT up, thus providing us more resources.
Without usage, we're probably dead long-term. Though you can survive for a long time on speculation alone. What speculation needs is the outside world seeing that we have our house in order. That we're working. Progressing. Staying a steady course. This ecosystem, the way it's currently organized, will always devolve into conflict and apathy when the FCT price and usage are not high enough to mask those issues. That's not acceptable.
 
Some background:

1. The ANO Summit in Austin a few years ago laid out a roadmap. So, there was a plan. The problem was that the execution wasn't there. For example, if grants were executed, we'd have sharding, Zero-knowledge proofs, and a whole host of other features up and running. I'm not arguing against a roadmap 2.0, I'm just stating that we actually did have a plan, and it failed. The questions are "why did it fail?" and "How do we make sure the new roadmap doesn't fail?"

2. If I recall correctly, we had a committee or two immediately after M3. Committees even provided updates during the now-defunct monthly ANO meeting that started immediately after M3. Many committees and working groups were formed over the years. So, the proposed committee approach is more-or-less the same thing we've been doing for 3 years. It's a cliche, but "Insanity Is Doing the Same Thing Over and Over Again and Expecting Different Results." Committees are a good idea in theory, that's why we did it, but overall they were a failure for us. So, I have no idea why people think committees will somehow work this time, especially when we have 95% fewer resources and ANOs aren't making a dime (i.e., ANOs have to spend their time elsewhere to make a living, which leaves very little time for Factom-related work). Hence why I vote against anything involving committees, including Governance docs that solidify committees, but that's off-topic, so I'll stop.

Without usage, we're probably dead long-term. Though you can survive for a long time on speculation alone. What speculation needs is the outside world seeing that we have our house in order. That we're working. Progressing. Staying a steady course.
Factom has been around since 2015 and still doesn't have any usage, relatively speaking. The days of people speculating on Factom without usage are over. We need to accept that.

On that note, expecting price to spike up simply because we have a cap on token supply is very wishful thinking. Same thing with adding a huge exchange (a few people have been strongly advocating for that behind the scenes). I'm all for the cap, assuming the math works with whatever else is implemented, but we need to recognize that our issues run WAY deeper.

Also, expecting to be able to fork with the same team (ANOs), the same tech, and no usage, yet be able to raise money is a pipe dream. Sorry if that's too blunt, nothing personal.

This ecosystem, the way it's currently organized, will always devolve into conflict and apathy when the FCT price and usage are not high enough to mask those issues. That's not acceptable.
Agreed. The ANO model failed. The initial roadmap failed due to lack of execution. The Committee model largely failed. The Guide model ended-up failing also. Yet, we're trying to do some of the same things again, but expecting different results.

I have no desire to argue about "lack of a roadmap" in the past or "committees," but some context to your previous post was needed since there were some incorrect assumptions. We obviously don't want to be basing the future of the protocol on faulty assumptions. Hence why I posted.

I'm happy to now get back to the conversation about priorities, strategy, and budget.
 
Hi Jason,
I've delayed responding because I was curious to see if anyone else here would raise the below concern. Unfortunately, no one has, which says a lot. Anyway:

The roadmap is not accompanied by any sort of budget or capital allocation documents. Obviously, we need money to pay for protocol enhancements. I'm having a lot of trouble seeing how we can actually afford all of this. For example, the document states:

"Grow a sustainable cadre of 10-30 core & community developers within 2 years"

If a Dev costs $10K a month, and we have 20 Devs, that would be $200,000/month in Dev fees. That equates to $600,000 per quarter. Obviously, this is multiples higher than what the grant round can currently accommodate. Additionally, this doesn't even include the costs of current continuous grants (Open Node, Anchor, etc.). There are other initiatives on the roadmap that make this number go even higher (e.g., potential exchange listing fees).

Maybe you've thought this through and already have a budget or financial projections. If so, can you share?
Matt! Thank you for your participation.

Yes - you are totally right in that this is just a community road map (plan) and that this plan is not sufficient to explain all aspects of how it will come to be (how will we pay for this?, who will do the work? what is the best way to organize? How are we to track completion of each project?).

This is road map is just meant to to provide a mantra - a community ethos - a unity of vision - an effort we can achieve solidarity around and methodically and confidently march towards a mutually agreed upon and desired future.

Have patience and belief my friend. Once we agree on the direction we want to aim (road map), we can plan how best to leverage community resources (revised tokenomics plan - drafted) and governance documents aligning community resources (grant pool)) towards executing road map objectives.

Everything seems hard at $1/FCT, nothing seems hard at $15/FCT. Keep faith - we hope to get additional Governance Docs, a proposal for tokenomics, and other community value-adding initiatives out soon.
 
Continuation:

We need to make sure the numbers on everything "work." For example, there's talk about capping the supply. There's also talk about providing a staking reward to FCT holders. There's also talk about providing upwards of $1 million for a premium exchange listing. We also have potential roadmap costs. This all needs to be budgeted out.

Even if we have a super slimmed down roadmap, we could still run into serious issues. Example: Let's say we cap the supply. Let's say we also provide a staking reward for FCT holders. Assume the price of FCT is somewhere around $.80. Does the math on this even work? The FCT to pay stakers, exchanges, etc. has to come from somewhere. Does it come from ANOs? If so, that means ANOs are receiving even less money, which means ANOs may have to operate heavily in the red. How many ANOs are actually willing to do this? What does that mean for protocol security? Etc.

Like any business, we need to work within our budget. That budget also needs to account for "worst case scenarios," such as $.50 FCT. It really concerns me that no one is talking about the math.

The math! - yes the dreadful math - we as an ANO are certainly in the red the past couple months - it's real.
We as a project find ourselves in an inconvenient position:
We are in greater need than possibly ever before and we're in a period that our token is extremely depressed in market value. There is a major run up in crypto that we are notably absent. Our lack of exchange access/visibility has strongly contributed to us being forgotten during this bull market. FCT was probably at least $30 a token last time bitcoin was above $16k. All that being said, we can't change our predicament or the decisions of the past. We need to fearlessly fight for our survival and that means activism and rolling up our sleeves.
To survive we need to be better than average - we need to the best at what we do. To get there be need a vision we can unite behind. This road map (optimistically) tries to lay out a path we as a community can follow to allow us to collectively put our energies behind to become the optimal solution for at least one use case.
I've said it before - everything seems hard at $1/FCT, nothing seems hard at $15/FCT. This is not going to be a warm blanket - our fate as a successful project is not yet determined - and we're going to have to fight (for years!) before we can bask in the comforts or our past accomplishments.
One note: our road map is the community vision of our way forward and desired end-road. We control our road map and as reality serves us unforeseen obstacles -- we will adjust. The Governance improvement proposal suggested at least an annual validation periodicity. With people like yourself keeping the community inline with the realities of the market, and others working to build and organize, we still have a chance to become a real and commercially viable market player.
 
1. We should clarify our common vision for our protocol.

2. While I understand a proper budget is needed I also recognize that we need to start by defining a general direction before.

3. The question of the budget is very relevant of course.

4. IMO we should asap dedicate the grant resources to these specific protocol developments.
Hi Matthias -
1) I tried to address this with the Road Map Narrative outlaying our goals and focus areas -did we miss the mark? What would you change?

2 & 3) Budget - see previous comments to Matt - other efforts are underway to address budget issues. Before determining resources requirements, you first must know what you are trying to accomplish.

4) Efforts to revise and realign community resources (grant pool/Tokenomics) is already underway - MTF.

Maybe more important, does the road map address and accurately detail/portray what you think the community should be working towards to be ensure it emerges as a successful and commercially viable blockchain platform (note I expect the great majority of blockchain projects to fail to achieve this goal).
 
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