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

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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).
1) agree - ERA three and other ongoing efforts to improve Factom's next gen protocol -- remember it's all hands on deck - we need everyone looking for and convincing those on the fence to use the protocol. MTF - but efforts are underway to align incentives of all stakeholder to focus on this end - usage. More than just trying to store thing on the blockchain, this road map tries to focus use case focus so we can find GBs/day that make sense from a business point of view to lock up in Factom.

2-3) proposal aligned to road map revising project tokonomas forthcoming.
4) agreed - ERA 1-2
 
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?"
As you will recall after the ANO Summit, we had a couple stalls that uncovered a pretty big issue, then got buried in a huge backlog of work that had to be (or was) shoved to the side, then became a massive headache to re-apply. The development grant required us to work off the priority list, and keeping the protocol running trumped things like sharding. (I don't recall a grant to deliver zero-knowledge proofs, but maybe so?)

So yeah, the roadmap got blown out of the water.

Now the protocol is really stable. Just because we hit a landmine doesn't mean we have to. And also software development is tough.

So do we have the budget?

Limiting the token supply is pretty straight forward (involves adding up some numbers in a hash table to determine the current supply, and some math to compute the payout, then replacing a constant). The change is what passes as a soft fork (since nodes that don't update will just have to download the payout blocks every four hours).

Issuing tokens to support exchanges isn't much harder than our grant code. Same soft fork nature applies, and the math requires no change to the token limiting code.

We have to figure out how to use our own protocol for enterprise, but also for applications that we can build that other protocols can't. And this roadmap is a pretty reasonable stab at what we want to do, and given where we are.
 
Thanks for putting this together @Jason Gregoire I like where the proposal is at and I think the roadmap makes sense. It's an aggressive timeline but that's good. IMO order of operations needs to be:

1) Supply Cap - I'd prefer 21M vice 16M. 21M is a well known number which I think is important for messaging.
2) Establish the Steering Committee - In retrospect, I think removing the guides was a mistake and this is the way of getting back on track, specifically to enable people to be focused on the types of things Jason did by himself but empowered by the community.
3) Continue to Plan and Refine the Roadmap above - There are plenty of questions certainly regarding feasibility but its 75% of the way to being good and we've got enough to get started.

Let's push this through, get a hard cap and steering committee established, and continue planning as we go.
 
Here's some data from Delhi Digital, which is one of the premium research services in the industry. Their institutional package costs $500/month. Clients include prominent firms such as Ark (they manage billions in publicly ETFs. They are probably most famous for their extremely bullish Tesla call they made years ago).

Anyway, they put together a public report with eToro. Some good data nuggets in here.

Delphi Digital.png


Screen Shot 2020-11-13 at 9.37.31 AM.png


We seem to be making the assumption that FCT price is somehow going to make a huge rebound when we change our tokenomics. While I support these changes, I think we should really be more conservative with just how much the needle is going to move. Expecting price jumps of 500-1000% would be an enormous outlier.

Food for thought as we consider the roadmap, budget, strategy, core objectives, etc.
 
We seem to be making the assumption that FCT price is somehow going to make a huge rebound when we change our tokenomics. While I support these changes, I think we should really be more conservative with just how much the needle is going to move. Expecting price jumps of 500-1000% would be an enormous outlier.

Food for thought as we consider the roadmap, budget, strategy, core objectives, etc.
Key word in your assertion is "seem". I'm not aware of anyone who has said we will get a huge surge in price by addressing the tokenomics.

We have to take each step we can to push the features of our protocol to provide incentives and build traction. This happens to be a smaller step of many we can take.
 
Here's some data from Delhi Digital, which is one of the premium research services in the industry. Their institutional package costs $500/month. Clients include prominent firms such as Ark (they manage billions in publicly ETFs. They are probably most famous for their extremely bullish Tesla call they made years ago).

Anyway, they put together a public report with eToro. Some good data nuggets in here.

View attachment 2792

View attachment 2793

We seem to be making the assumption that FCT price is somehow going to make a huge rebound when we change our tokenomics. While I support these changes, I think we should really be more conservative with just how much the needle is going to move. Expecting price jumps of 500-1000% would be an enormous outlier.

Food for thought as we consider the roadmap, budget, strategy, core objectives, etc.
Looks like we just need to get some illicit activity going. /s
 
Jason, I also want to say thank you for your effort. I think it is safe to say that regardless of differences in opinion, the community appreciate all of the work you have put in.

One thing that struck me is that the sequencing in the roadmap and the connection to the ERAs are not always clear. I do recognize that it would take a lot of time to expand with a section that explains why hardware wallets should go before assets explorers and how that feeds into fulfilling the goals of ERA 1.

Another and more important point that also feeds into the discussion in this thread: There is very little about how we will attract someone who will actually build something on Factom. We talk a lot about which features to build in the protocol, how to get more developers and how to change the tokenomics. We also lament about the lack of exchange listings and crypto speculator's interest. However, we rarely discuss how we get someone with a bright idea to put a mortgage on their house and build something with Factom. What are the chances that someone who has a problem to solve will pick Factom as their tool?

Here is a couple of ideas for what such an outreach could look like:
  • Hackathon(s) with prize money from the grant pool
  • Educational materials for budding developers ("What is Factom" on a more technical level)
  • A catalogue of developed concepts where Factom would shine, but free for everyone to use
  • Seed funding for anyone with ideas
  • Marketing activities focused on startup ecosystems
If we had a bunch of companies with some kind of traction in their respective markets - regardless of usage they would bring - chances are some of them could become ANOs or chip in with development resources in some form or another. A group of companies that makes money of Factom technology but not from token sales is a safety net the protocol needs.
 
  • Hackathon(s) with prize money from the grant pool
  • Educational materials for budding developers ("What is Factom" on a more technical level)
  • A catalogue of developed concepts where Factom would shine, but free for everyone to use
  • Seed funding for anyone with ideas
  • Marketing activities focused on startup ecosystems
Developer documentation is in the roadmap. Seed funding is pretty much the grant pool, or heck, at a decent FCT price, so is being an ANO.

The grant pool is pivotal to the kind of attraction needed. I mention this in the latest Doc 001 rework: "Further involvement with the Factom Protocol is stimulated by attracting and retaining talent through the grant system (4.3)"

That hinges on two things:

1. Actually getting exposure for the grant pool, which we're very bad at, so we need a proper outreach committee with non-ANO membership, ergo, the new committee system.
2. FCT price stabilizing or improving, so the grant pool is still worth something.
 
I wouldn’t say developer documentation and “What is Factom” at a more technical level is the same thing. In my mind the former is more like “here is why it is great to build on Factom” and the latter is “this is the command you need to retrieve the current block height”

It might have been mentioned in the Doc001 rework. That doesn’t change that we have not spoke a lot about attracting new companies in this community in general (and I know you have brought it forward regularly).
 
The change is simple. The consequences aren't.
Certainly. I'd also suggest that without increased usage and substantial inflation reduction in the short term, the consequences are simple. The Factom Protocol will die.

Sometimes you give the patient the life saving medication that has a long list of potential side effects because the alternative is worse.

As an outsider who hasn't purchased any FCT in a long, long time, I can tell you that potential usage via Zoints and drastically reduced inflation makes FCT interesting to me again.
 
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Sometimes you give the patient the life saving medication that has a long list of potential side effects because the alternative is worse.
Problem is we do not know if the life saving medication will have the desired effect. Imagine the inflation is cut to 10% of what it is today and as a consequence price rises with 50%. Holders would gain, ANOs would lose out. Are we then in a much better position than today?
 
Jason, I also want to say thank you for your effort. I think it is safe to say that regardless of differences in opinion, the community appreciate all of the work you have put in.

One thing that struck me is that the sequencing in the roadmap and the connection to the ERAs are not always clear. I do recognize that it would take a lot of time to expand with a section that explains why hardware wallets should go before assets explorers and how that feeds into fulfilling the goals of ERA 1.

Another and more important point that also feeds into the discussion in this thread: There is very little about how we will attract someone who will actually build something on Factom. We talk a lot about which features to build in the protocol, how to get more developers and how to change the tokenomics. We also lament about the lack of exchange listings and crypto speculator's interest. However, we rarely discuss how we get someone with a bright idea to put a mortgage on their house and build something with Factom. What are the chances that someone who has a problem to solve will pick Factom as their tool?

Here is a couple of ideas for what such an outreach could look like:
  • Hackathon(s) with prize money from the grant pool
  • Educational materials for budding developers ("What is Factom" on a more technical level)
  • A catalogue of developed concepts where Factom would shine, but free for everyone to use
  • Seed funding for anyone with ideas
  • Marketing activities focused on startup ecosystems
If we had a bunch of companies with some kind of traction in their respective markets - regardless of usage they would bring - chances are some of them could become ANOs or chip in with development resources in some form or another. A group of companies that makes money of Factom technology but not from token sales is a safety net the protocol needs.
So ERAs are meant to reflect related objectives and less so chronology across a wide range of community projects.

Remember too - as was highlighted in the Governance Improvement Proposal (GIP) - this draft road map is a high level overview of the greater project vision and major requirements identified to make that vision manifest. That's really it.

According to the detailed framework in the GIP, it then would fall to the committees to examine these road map major requirements and prioritize and in some cases break down further their requirements into smaller projects. The committees would then nominate select projects for grant eligibility. Committees are also charged with grant execution oversight. Teams applying for these eligible grants then provide detailed grant applications based on the budget and requirements laid out by the committees.
 
Notice: For expectation management - I intend to close this discussion thread to further comments on 22NOV.
That will have provided 25 days for the community to review, discuss, and leave comments on the draft road map.
At that time we'll review and make warranted refinements. The current goal is to bring a road map for community review and ratification in December.

Note: As mentioned in the above thread, I anticipate we will bring other related draft proposals to the community for discussions in the coming weeks that may provide more insight into some of the ideas and driving forces discussed here.
 
Problem is we do not know if the life saving medication will have the desired effect. Imagine the inflation is cut to 10% of what it is today and as a consequence price rises with 50%. Holders would gain, ANOs would lose out. Are we then in a much better position than today?
Yes.

Unless your ANOs are all just dumping their FCT. In which case, my answer is still yes.
 
So ERAs are meant to reflect related objectives and less so chronology across a wide range of community projects.
Fair point. Maybe the ERAs should be removed from the infographic then, as they make each ERA seem to last for one year.
The reasoning behind the sequencing is still difficult for me to understand. Is the driving principle what we believe will attract the most developer interest, the most speculators, what is easiest to build or something else? I am sure some good thinking has gone into it, I just wonder what it is - is there a set of overarching principles that have been used?

I still do believe that we are a little thin on the outreach side :)
 
Fair point. Maybe the ERAs should be removed from the infographic then, as they make each ERA seem to last for one year.
The reasoning behind the sequencing is still difficult for me to understand. Is the driving principle what we believe will attract the most developer interest, the most speculators, what is easiest to build or something else? I am sure some good thinking has gone into it, I just wonder what it is - is there a set of overarching principles that have been used?

I still do believe that we are a little thin on the outreach side :)

The idea is to bound ERAs in some period of time - I agree projects will not be addressed sequentially, and many things will happen concurrently - hopefully in good coordination. Something not explicitly highlighted is that (as per the Factom Governance Improvement Proposal) Standing Committees will be charged with prioritizing road map project prioritization. Based on the project and industry environmentals at the time, committees will prioritize and nominate which road map projects will become eligible grants - without a requirement to abide by a specific chronology or ERA construct. This will give the community beneficial flexibility to optimally develop in a way that makes the most sense as assumptions and reality change over time.
The good news is that many of ERA 1 and some of ERA 2 initiatives are already underway. Outreach will be critical - but we didn’t want to be too prescriptive at this point when so little is known as to the what, how, when, and how much - be assured the outreach committee will be busy.

As an aside, thank you for ready the proposal. I'm still very interested in actual content feedback - this is the 50th post in this thread and I've received very little feedback.

This is a road map - it is attempting to capture the will of the community and succeed at the impossible task of predicting the future market outcome based on decisions of what we should focus our talent and resources towards in trying to be one of the few viable commercial blockchain solutions. In what effort do we at least have a chance of producing more value for customers than all other alternative solutions? Is that as a decentralized and scalable data layer? That is what the road map proposes - is that what we want to bet the existence and fate of the project on?

This is a road map - it sets a proposed course on a potentially one-way trip to a destination we as a project want to arrive to. Instead of a bottom up analysis of the strengths and weaknesses of the protocol, or discussion the relative advantages we have compared to current market 3rd party data layer competitors, or even analyzing the market suitability and financial opportunity that forming the project as a data layer solution may have, the vast majority have bore-sighted on tokens and how much gas money we have at the moment - which unfortunately misses the forest for the trees.
 
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Here's some feedback on roadmap.

Top priorities (in mostly descending order):

1. Infra: Tools, libraries, documentation, and other infra that make it as simple as possible for outside developers to utilize Factom
2. Reference apps & Layer 2 protocols: Based on point 1 that prove Factom's utility for key use cases and provide fully formed starting points for devs to fork and customize
3. Outreach - Focus on developers and target markets first, crypto traders second
3. Tokenomics/Governance - sort out hard caps and other key changes to the token to ensure the sustainability of the project. Sort out governance structure including expanding stakeholder set, committee structure, ANO elections/demotions etc. for more functional collaboration
4. Technical 2.0 - Lock in a roadmap to exponential capacity and shortened block times. Total rewrite? Build on Substrate or Cosmos? Sort it out. Get it going.

#4 isn't the least important, but it will take the longest and isn't valuable unless we sort out 1-3.
 
The idea is to bound ERAs in some period of time - I agree projects will not be addressed sequentially, and many things will happen concurrently - hopefully in good coordination. Something not explicitly highlighted is that (as per the Factom Governance Improvement Proposal) Standing Committees will be charged with prioritizing road map project prioritization. Based on the project and industry environmentals at the time, committees will prioritize and nominate which road map projects will become eligible grants - without a requirement to abide by a specific chronology or ERA construct. This will give the community beneficial flexibility to optimally develop in a way that makes the most sense as assumptions and reality change over time.
If the committees can pick apart the road map and reshuffle it as they see fit, wont that drastically reduce the value of having a roadmap?


Outreach will be critical - but we didn’t want to be too prescriptive at this point when so little is known as to the what, how, when, and how much - be assured the outreach committee will be busy.
The roadmap has two years of activities in it I think it should be fine to be prescriptive on the outreach part as well :)

As an aside, thank you for ready the proposal. I'm still very interested in actual content feedback - this is the 50th post in this thread and I've received very little feedback.
I added some comments in the Google Doc now.

This is a road map - it is attempting to capture the will of the community and succeed at the impossible task of predicting the future market outcome based on decisions of what we should focus our talent and resources towards in trying to be one of the few viable commercial blockchain solutions. In what effort do we at least have a chance of producing more value for customers than all other alternative solutions? Is that as a decentralized and scalable data layer? That is what the road map proposes - is that what we want to bet the existence and fate of the project on?

This is a road map - it sets a proposed course on a potentially one-way trip to a destination we as a project want to arrive to. Instead of a bottom up analysis of the strengths and weaknesses of the protocol, or discussion the relative advantages we have compared to current market 3rd party data layer competitors, or even analyzing the market suitability and financial opportunity that forming the project as a data layer solution may have, the vast majority have bore-sighted on tokens and how much gas money we have at the moment - which unfortunately misses the forest for the trees.
If I should summarize my thoughts about the roadmap in one sentence: We should focus more on driving commercial value than on development project, governance or token holders.
Your effort is very much appreciated. Herding cats is hard.
 
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