RewardChain's Resignation as ANO

Previous Updates

Alistair McLeay

RewardChain
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ORIGINAL PLEDGES START
-----------------------------------
-DEVELOPMENT

--Utilize Factom to establish immutable audit trails for a token sale

--Use blockchain technology to build SaaS applications for enterprise customers

--Build software applications using Factom, such as a Factom Node Manager

-OTHER

--Contribute high value, ongoing development and marketing initiatives to the Protocol

--Set an example of a professional, effective, genuine team running Auth Node(s), with an
intention of encouraging and supporting a high standard of performance for Auth
Node(s) right from the start of M3

--Provide consistent stability to the protocol in every way possible through the running of
our Authority Server(s)

--Exhibit a high level of transparency

--Engage in open and effective communication with the Factom community, other Auth
Node(s) and all parties relevant to the Protocol

--Build a successful long-term company running Auth Node(s), ultimately with a large
number of full-time employees delivering both development and marketing efforts to the
Protocol

--Do all we can to provide greater than 99.99% uptime for our Auth Node(s)

--Provide 24/7 availability to deal with server issues, responding in under 1 hour to any
unexpected server issue; with a goal to always respond in under 5 minutes.

--Remain functional and further the Protocol, regardless of the price of FCT and BTC

--Keep the community and Standing Parties up to date with our contributions and progress

--Publish development roadmaps for each new project

- PLEDGED EFFICIENCY

2 nodes: 35%
1 node: 35%
-----------------------------------
ORIGINAL PLEDGES END
-----------------------------------

Alistair McLeay

RewardChain
RewardChain has been busy, and continues to be busy working on furthering Factom. We continue to be excited by the future of the protocol long-term, despite the recent issues with the network and the depressed FCT price. We wish to be an ANO for 10+ years and are continuing on our plan to put ourselves in a strong position to do so.

I figure the best way to detail where we are at is to go through our pledges point-by-point. I'd like to start by mentioning that our ambitions have had to be significantly reeled in with the FCT price coming down so much since our application (we applied in the first round when the price was substantially higher than the second round of applications). We are still doing the best we can justify with the current price - but unfortunately this is far less than we'd like to do. It was our full intention to hire a development team and be building scalable enterprise applications using Factom. With our monthly revenue dropping around 8X, we simply cannot do a lot of what we wanted.

We have also changed our strategy a lot since applying - it is in the nature of a startup to constantly be re-evaluating priorities and we will always be focussed on making the biggest positive impact to the protocol that we can. If our most valuable way of contributing changes over time, of course we will adapt accordingly.

-DEVELOPMENT

--Utilize Factom to establish immutable audit trails for a token sale

After doing serious due diligence with our lawyers and national regulators we decided the regulatory uncertainty for this initiative was not worth it. We decided this soon after being accepted as ANO's, and we are confident it is in the best interest of Factom.

--Use blockchain technology to build SaaS applications for enterprise customers

We are working on this. We are very excited to say we have been hard at work building a legal-tech web app that will serve enterprise customers along with small businesses and creative producers. We know the community will really like what we have built. We have partnered with one of the best technology-focussed law firms in the world on this project, and will be officially releasing our beta in the next 14 days, through our partner's communication channels. I don't want to spoil the surprise yet. I will say that a week or two after the release of our beta web app, we will then be releasing another web app that will be our first vertical application build on top of our core web app - displaying a real-world use case of it - and I cannot wait to share that too!

--Build software applications using Factom, such as a Factom Node Manager

We have built a Factom Node Manager, which we used for our own nodes for a couple of months. After playing around with TFA's Discord Bot, we decided it was great and we stopped developing our own version — as it became largely redundant. We now use the TFA Bot and it works brilliantly - props to TFA!

We have built several applications using Factom on top of the web apps mentioned above, that will be released soon. These include www.immutableinsult.com. This was a hit with the community as a PoC of Factom, but we decided it was too narrow and 'silly' and shut it down.

We then built www.confessionchain.com which is still live. We'd like to get more adoption of ConfessionChain, but we have been focussing most of our efforts lately on the new web apps we are near to launching. Our new web apps are much more valuable and could drive some serious usage on the mainnet. In fact, we are concerned about the ability of the mainnet to handle our apps usage, and our partner's are too - sharding can't come soon enough (and a more stable network)!

We built an explorer which is used by ConfessionChain which displays pending transactions. Once again, TFA beat us to the punch and released a new explorer including pending transactions before we had a version ready to be released to the community. Lessons learnt here - engage with development to make sure we aren't doubling up :)

-OTHER

--Contribute high value, ongoing development and marketing initiatives to the Protocol

As above, I believe we have delivered ongoing development initiatives, and continue to do so. In terms of marketing, we absolutely intended to do work on marketing the protocol when we applied. After the price slide we have has to question where we can add the most value and we strongly believe this is in application development, rather than marketing. There is a lot of marketing being undertaken by other ANO's, and we believe that at the end of the day it is the utility of the protocol that will make or break everything we are all working so hard for here. Don't get me wrong—I think marketing is super important and I commend all ANO's working on it—but I believe we need more development driving utility desperately; and we can bring the most value focussing our limited technical and non-technical resources on this area.

--Set an example of a professional, effective, genuine team running Auth Node(s), with an
intention of encouraging and supporting a high standard of performance for Auth
Node(s) right from the start of M3


We believe we have lived up to this pledge 100%. We have been active and engaged during network stalls and other issues, and have always had at least two systems administrator on call to ensure we can deal with issues immediately (or at the minimum very quickly).

--Provide consistent stability to the protocol in every way possible through the running of
our Authority Server(s)


Same as above. We believe providing as much stability as possible is critical to the future success of the protocol, particularly as we have been enterprising with our Partner's and working through their concerns around network stability. We have had to build a system with a bunch of error trapping and redundancy built in to deal with the network having extensive periods of downtime (like we saw recently).

We pushed an initiative to have the recording of Bitcoin anchor's automatically audited—as we have found more than one instance of missing anchors from factomd. We would have build this auditing had the FCT price not dropped so low, but with our current ANO revenue we haven't been able to justify the development resources to make this happen. It is still on our roadmap and is something we really think Factom needs. It is just a matter of resourcing for us. It really is a problem for enterprise applications not consistently having anchors recorded in factomd—we provide certificates to our users when we enter their data into Factom—which include the anchors. If we cannot get the anchors from factomd we cannot provide the full certificates.

--Exhibit a high level of transparency

I believe we have lived up to this, and we certainly plan to continue to do so. Any and all questions are always welcome.

--Engage in open and effective communication with the Factom community, other Auth
Node(s) and all parties relevant to the Protocol


I also believe we have stuck to this. I hope other parties agree :)

--Build a successful long-term company running Auth Node(s), ultimately with a large
number of full-time employees delivering both development and marketing efforts to the
Protocol


This is still 100% our intention—but we have put this dream on hold until the FCT price recovers. We still have the founding team working hard. We have had to scale our efforts back from full-time due to the FCT price, and we have not been able to hire the team we expected to when we wrote the above pledge. Software Engineers are really expensive, particularly those that are good enough to work on Factom-related apps. We would absolutely love to bring on more engineers to expand our development scope. It's just a matter of being able to justify it with the FCT price (we also need to manage risk when dealing with employees and with the current FCT price and trend I do not feel comfortable asking great engineers to take a lowered salary for equity in this endeavour—I am still very bullish on Factom—but as CEO I have to be real with the risks—I'm sure everyone can relate to the feeling that this year has not played our quite as we hoped).

--Do all we can to provide greater than 99.99% uptime for our Auth Node(s)

The original systems we described to achieve this are still in place and I believe we have had some of the most stable and consistent Auth Nodes.

--Provide 24/7 availability to deal with server issues, responding in under 1 hour to any
unexpected server issue; with a goal to always respond in under 5 minutes.


This is also going well. We have a history of being very responsive and I believe we have been able to hit our 5 minute goal for anything that requires our immediate reaction/attention.

--Remain functional and further the Protocol, regardless of the price of FCT and BTC

We have done what needs to be done to make this happen—including raising a round of debt to keep our development efforts going, and so we could work full-time on the protocol for two months before we were on-boarded/receiving any revenue.

--Keep the community and Standing Parties up to date with our contributions and progress

See below for our general thinking on this. We are concerned about building value for the protocol—especially with such a depressed FCT price and so many issues with stability, scalability, and lack of usage. We acknowledge that accountability is super important, and we still intend to do quarterly progress updates.

--Publish development roadmaps for each new project

We have decided that the time required to do this vs just moving fast and building valuable software to further the protocol and get real meaningful usage on the mainnet, is not worth it at this stage. When the FCT price recovers and we have a bigger operation we will reconsider publishing dev roadmaps but due to our limited resources we believe our time is better focussed on delivering results, rather than worrying about the overhead of publishing our roadmaps. These change all the time, and updating and explaining ourselves is a distraction. Most importantly, we believe the software we build, contributions we make, and EC usage we provide, will speak for themselves as we release them.

- PLEDGED EFFICIENCY

2 nodes: 35%
1 node: 35%


We have kept our pledged efficiency unchanged.

As a final note: thank you for putting this process together. We believe accountability is really important if Factom is to succeed (which requires a strong group of dedicated ANO's).

Alistair McLeay

RewardChain
The RewardChain team would like to announce a transition to an infrastructure ANO and an increase in our efficiency to 60%, which will be implemented within 72 hours of this posting.

We have not made this decision lightly. We believe it is currently in the best interest of the protocol to allocate the extra FCT to the grant pool for software development and marketing initiatives — particularly core development.

The infrastructure part of our role has always been our #1 priority. Our servers have had 100% uptime excluding Factom network outages and bugs in Factomd. We have consistently and promptly updated our servers, and have dealt with all server issues using the TFA monitoring bot within minutes, 24/7. We are very confident in our ability to perform at an exceptional level as an Infrastructure ANO.

In Q4 we did a full audit of all the Bitcoin anchors since the start of Factom, both in Bitcoin and in Factomd, and found some anchors missing in Factomd which were subsequently added. By the end of this quarter (within the next 2 weeks) we will have the auditing code polished, with monitoring added, and will open-source it so other members of the community can run their own third-party audits. It is something we believe is highly valuable and significant for the protocol's stability and security looking forward.

This quarter we have also been working on a project called StegaFile. StegaFile was being developed as a web-app and API allowing users to encrypt messages of any arbitrary data type inside images using steganography. Tying Factom to a steganography-based application allows for digitally scarce coupons/prizes to be embedded in digital images online, and cryptographically (and publicly) verifiable digital identities to sign hidden messages.

After playing around with numerous use-cases for this idea, and exploring potential partnerships, we have made the tough decision to cease our efforts on bringing a real-world use-case of StegaFile to life, for now. We are still maintaining www.factomauthorize.com and the associated API.

We still believe StegaFile has real potential to disrupt areas such as online marketing and messaging, and we think projects like these are absolutely critical for the community as a whole to work on. We do however believe that core development and key marketing initiatives should take a higher priority for now. The last grant round was well oversubscribed and high quality initiatives that are fundamentally important missed out on funding.

In summary; we believe that right now we can add the most value to the protocol by allocating more funds to the grant pool (by increasing our efficiency), and stepping back into an infrastructure role.

Thanks for taking the time to read this update.

Alistair McLeay

RewardChain
Over the last few months, the RewardChain team has been initiating a new project that we are really excited about.

We have been following Pegnet closely since its launch. We became extremely excited about its potential early on for micropayments on the web. It has the necessary combination of an extremely low fixed cost per transaction, a bundle of stablecoins, growing liquidity, an epic development community, meaningful decentralization—and significant scalability. A lot of blockchains claim huge tx/s numbers but they are always compromising on security/decentralization. At RewardChain we believe Pegnet's is amazing because it allows you to send 5c to someone in your local unit of account and medium of exchange e.g. pUSD—with a relatively affordable transaction fee, on a meaningfully decentralized network.

We have begun building a proof-of-concept of a system that can enable online content to be monetized via micropayments rather than ads or subscriptions—in-browser. We believe Pegnet enables this kind of system to become ubiquitous in the future of the web, and not only this, but it enables it to be open, borderless and neutral just like the web itself. There is a long road ahead in terms of Pegnet's development, liquidity, security, and scalability before this can become a reality. There also needs to be a company that can leverage Pegnet's stablecoins and make them so easy to interact with that the mainstream can use them daily. We are hoping to be that company through our new brand—thirdweb.

We are currently working on building a proof-of-concept and validating the market with a centralized solution. Using decentralized money comes with many user-experience challenges such as key management, liquidity issues, and of course getting in and out of the cryptocurrency ecosystem. These things are slowly improving, and will continue to improve over time. We believe that finding product-market fit first, and then introducing decentralized money second, is the most effective way to reaching mainstream adoption.

Pegnet has a real chance of being the stablecoin layer of payments on the web, and this is incredibly exciting. We are exploring how we can make this happen along with the amazing Pegnet community already building invaluable tools like Kambani. We believe the best thing we can do is build an in-browser micropayments product that gets mainstream usage, rapid growth, and then implements Pegnet to enable global, borderless, neutral 5c payments for online content.

We are still in the very early days of this project and are currently in stealth mode. I'm looking forward to sharing more as we make progress and can share more details. We still don't know exactly what this is going to look like but we are confident we have a good shot at bringing significant usage to Pegnet over time—maybe even so much usage we start to hit the current tx capacity of Factom. This is an ambitious project and will take time to validate and get traction—it’s such a new model for monetizing content online and will therefore come with a lot of scepticism. Despite this, we are confident it has real potential to bring significant usage to Pegnet, and therefore Factom.

We are still operating at 60% efficiency, and are currently funding our development efforts outside of ANO revenue. It is no secret that FCT prices over the last six months have been difficult for all ANO’s to contend with, and we are proud to be contributing 60% of our FCT payout to the grant pool.

We have engaged with all voting on Factomize, have been responsive to server updates and issues, and have been engaged in Discord and on Factomize—checking in and catching up on things daily.

Finally, at RewardChain we support anything that will increase Factom’s odds of success. Therefore we support the increased expectations we are seeing of ANO’s recently. For this protocol to be the data layer of the web as it has the potential to be, we absolutely need high quality ANO’s leading the charge—regardless of the FCT price. In this spirit, I will be posting quarterly updates from now on.

We have been here in the Factom community for a long time, since well before M3. We are hardcore believers in this protocol, and that has only become stronger lately with Pegnet’s development.

Thanks everyone,
Alistair McLeay
CEO of RewardChain

Alistair McLeay

RewardChain
General Update

The RewardChain team is currently all under a form of lockdown, as most ANO's will be. The last month has been difficult for us in a number of ways, as we are sure it has for other ANO's too. While the current global crisis presents its challenges, we would like to assure the community we are still able to continue BAU in filling our responsibilities as a high-efficiency ANO. Our team's ability to fulfil our roles is not affected.

Project Updates

We are continuing work on our anchor auditing bot. We also continue to work on Thirdweb, and are currently in conversations with a number of publishers. There has been a huge growth in readership of digital media, while simultaneously there has been a global cliff-dive of advertising revenue. Publishers need a sustainable monetization model now, more than ever. Our conversations are very encouraging and we have high ambitions for what we can accomplish in Q2. Momentum is building. Watch this space!

Nodes

We continue to maintain our servers and respond to any network issues promptly. We continue to run 2 servers. COVID-19 does not jeopardize our ability to continue to operate our servers to the high level expected of all ANO's.

Governance and Community

We have increased our engagement in important discussions on Factomize, Discord, and Reddit in Q1. We have continued to vote on all ANO votes on Factomize as they come up.

We decided to vote in support of our latest ANO Candidate, BlockVenture, as we have initially assessed that they would be a valuable addition to the Auth Set.

We have also decided to vote in support of all existing ANO's for Q2, given the extreme and unprecedented times we are facing globally with COVID-19. We believe it is absolutely critical we show solidarity in these trying times and also believe all ANO's have the best interests of the Protocol in mind. We stand by our fellow ANO's as we move through an increasingly difficult period for most people and businesses globally, and we hope to emerge stronger than ever as a community when things eventually turn for the better.

Efficiency

We continue to operate at our 60% efficiency with two servers.

Grants

RewardChain does not have any grants currently.

Closing

We hope everyone from the community is doing okay during this crisis. It is affecting millions of people's health, employment, and security. Now is the time to come together and show support for each other. If anyone would like to contact the RewardChain team for any reason please feel free to reach out to me directly here, on Discord, or via email at alistair@rewardchain.co.

Take care everyone,
Alistair McLeay
CEO & Co-Founder
RewardChain

Alistair McLeay

RewardChain
Dear Factom Community,

Over the last quarter, we have continued to:

  • Ensure close to 100% uptime of our two servers
  • Ensured we have a sysadmin available to respond to any issues 24/7
  • Kept up with the required governance review and voting

We continue to maintain our 60% efficiency.

Thanks all,
Alistair McLeay
RewardChain CEO
alistair@rewardchain.co
Current Update: RewardChain's Resignation as ANO

Alistair McLeay

RewardChain
Dear Factom Community,

RewardChain is resigning as an ANO, effective immediately.

The FCT price has reached a point where we can no longer afford to keep our servers running at our efficiency level of 60%. We could lower our efficiency and continue to operate as an infrastructure ANO, but it is apparent this is not what the community wants ANO’s to do. As such, we have decided to resign. We will be turning our servers off in the next 48 hours.

We have been on an incredible journey with Factom. We have gotten to know countless people in the community online throughout the years, and have been lucky enough to meet many of you in person too.

To those who are still here fighting to turn this ship around, we wish you all the best. As for us at RewardChain, our time has come to say goodbye, for now.

We hope to be able to work with some of the great engineers and business people we’ve met here in the future.

All the best,
Alistair McLeay
RewardChain CEO & Co-Founder
 
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