[Sphereon BV] Niels Klomp

This is my application for the position
My professional background

I have been doing software development for almost 20 years now. Most of that time has been in Technical Director/CTO positions. Products ranging from Healthcare software, SMB server and Voice over IP solutions at a time that wasn't really common. High-Availability Infrastructures and networks, Online Backup Software, Enterprise Content Management and with Sphereon Content Services, Blockchain and Self Sovereign Identity software with a focus on document/file centric solutions.
For more details I will defer to LinkedIn. Obviously one can also ask me questions ;)

I came into contact with blockchain and Factom roughly 5 years ago. We made the world's first integration of Sharepoint and blockchain at the time. Way ahead of our times looking back at that now. At that point we decided to create our own Java integration and not rely on the rudimentary Java classes that were available. That mainly had to do with the quality. At the time I also did a short code review on factomd itself, which revealed quite a lot of issues in the codebase. We decided to go ahead however, because we really liked the data centric approach of Factom together with the 0.1 dollarcent per anchor, meaning stable prices.
I have been a Factom Protocol Guide for 2 years. The first year has been pretty successful. I have mixed feelings about the 2nd year. I still believe it to be a failure that the standing parties removed the guides. The guides as a whole weren't performing. For myself I also regard that term as a failure in the end, especially since we have been unable to add additional standing party types. First of all governance only has/will never be the thing that would make me happy. Second the guides had no clear roles and mandates. Although, time permitting, doing a pretty decent job at it, obviously I am an entrepreneur, director and Technical person first. That is also my strength. The position for Resource Director is much closer to those these areas.

I regard a term of 9 or 12 months for this position suiting me. Very much as an interim manager/term to get the ball for the protocol rolling again. In that term making sure we have something to handover to a next person/entity in a state that doesn't need interim management anymore and which despite crypto price swings should be in a steady state for further growth. Obviously I would use/bring my network into this as well.

Approach
I will shamelessly copy-paste what I wrote before, without changes in the next post

Remuneration
I will seek roughly 7,500 dollars a month, denominated at a fixed FCT price determined upfront and with a discount applied. On top of that a bonus of 25%, with requirements/targets we have to define together. The reason is that I want to align incentives for the protocol and me/Sphereon. Although 7,500 dollars is a lot of money, obviously it doesn't pay my full salary. The money would be mainly used to fill in the gap by a senior developer as well as my salary in Sphereon which would be the result of work for the protocol and less availability in Sphereon. I am willing to take the risk in price to a certain extent of course. Even if the 7,500 dollars is hit in the FCT price I would not be making money compared to today. So I better make sure the price of FCT gets above the 35% discount gap mentioned below.

I would be seeking a denomination in FCT at current exchange rate for the 7,500 dollars, but then for 65% of the amount of FCT in total. Reason is that I want the risk but also the upside in there. As explained even at 100% of the total amount of FCT to make 7,500 dollars, I wouldn't be making money. From a commercial perspective that still is a bad deal for Sphereon. I am totally okay to have an upside cap on the FCT price as well. Making more than 15K dollars for a non full-time function also doesn't make sense at this time (even if the price would allow it).

If you have any questions or remarks please do not hesitate to ask me




PS: The legal entity could be(come) Centis BV, Centis IT Group BV, Blockchain Innovation Foundation, Systems of Trust BV, BConsolidated BV or Sphereon BV. If elected we would have to discuss with our legal advisor given the uncharted territory and potential legal issues/claims. Obviously I cannot put a legal entity with employees at risk for potential claims because of the uncharted territory. For the application the eventual entity doesn't really matter in daily operations.
 
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First of all I would reach out to all ANOs and interested parties (also non ANOs and ex ANOs that we know off) and have short individual meetings with the parties that are willing to cooperate/meet. This is to both explain what I will be doing in the short and medium term, but more importantly to get input from those parties and to see what they really want, and what they can provide in terms of resources, products and/or clients for the protocol. I will create a high level report out of that anonymizing and/or omitting any details where necessary and obviously approved by these parties.

What I would do in parallel is to hash out the strategy for the protocol together with Maarten and our COO, that you all don’t know who is also called Maarten. He has been COO/CIO for a top 100 company in the Netherlands for the last 8 years, where he was responsible in his group for several hundreds of millions in turnover, with over a billion for the entire company every year (for @WB : Anwb reizen). He holds a Cum Laude MBA Master from Nyenrode Business University with a thesis in Blockchain and its adoption in the Netherlands, so I guess he is qualified for the job 😉

This would result in an internal and external analysis, a SWOT matrix, together with confrontation matrix, a Product Portfolio Analysis (where it makes sense and based on the input from the ANO meetings, probably using a BCG Matrix and/or Osterwalder Value Proposition model). This will result in a Business Model Canvas for the protocol, which basically is the single piece of “paper” we can use to validate almost every important future decision against. This process takes roughly 4 weeks, with first results in 2 weeks. Obviously the outcome will be shared with ANOs and the wider community, during which feedback will be incorporated



Then we would determine what is missing to create the most amount of value in the shortest amount of time, whilst at the same time seeing where we as a protocol can align interests in terms of product and resources. This would also mean that a party like Sphereon would align their strategic direction to an extent with the protocol, bringing some existing products and/or ideas to the protocol (open-source). One thing is for sure. There would be at least one highly visible 2nd layer application of the protocol (blockchain for good makes sense) in there for which the protocol would become known/famous and for which we know we can execute because the tech to make that work is roughly there and together with all stakeholders (that is ANOs, (external) developers, community members, universities we are in contact with, partners and relationships). I get people would be afraid that it becomes a Sphereon show. It simply will not, because we would definitely invest in the protocol going down this route, doing all out in the open and we value any and all party that would like to help in execution in whatever form. It would also not make sense to do anything remotely like that. ANOs are in charge at the end of the day, very much like a board.



From the analysis outcome you will get vision, strategy and plans to execute. The latter includes the roadmap and, financial, marketing and resource plans, hence why I have constantly said we are doing things in the wrong order. It would include a tokenomics proposal that is in line with the vision and strategy and provides (crypto)investors enough body and confidence it will become a success. It would also include feedback cycles to incentivize both adoption and interest in the token and that limits the inflation. Good ideas from current proposal will obviously be brought into that proposal. It would also contain a rebrand proposal that is in line with the direction we set out. The above, together with the Rosetta work and the ETH wrapped tokens allows us an easier entry into Exchanges and (re)start discussions with them. Timeline for this phase is roughly 2 months.



The plans would include a change to our current grant system. Bringing the system in line with what serves the protocol best, holding the plans against the strategy, vision and roadmap. Anybody can subscribe to and help with the execution. Probably we will want a system in place where we all leave a certain percentage open for novel projects and/or startups a bit similar to what we have now, but the biggest chunk will be protocols and specifications first for all interested parties to work on. The important part of the system is, that the parties, existing and new, that are willing to put in work (development, marketing, outreach, governance) will find a place in the system.



Maybe a big elephant in the room, but in all of these plans there will also be the future role of ANOs, our inflation and current average efficiency of 30%. Although not the direct mandate of the proposed role, it simply is not something you can ignore in the overall strategy for the future of the protocol. It ties in too many aspects not to address it (inflation, value for money, primary role, infighting, execution).



With the resources becoming available and the inversion of the grantpool towards common goals, we will see more collaboration (very much like the Sphereon business model btw) with known people/parties, but also with new parties. This phase will take 6 months, during which also the sourcing of people will happen.
Although maybe too early to discuss as we need feedback from all of the above, I do want to mention that this phase in my plans would also form the start of the formation of a non-profit foundation, to hold/manage part of the tokens that would become available, and to give the protocol a proper entity and leadership structure. This is where something resembling the council approach can be formed, with the exception that it has a leader/director. Not something in the middle from what I read with the council approach.



Obviously the Director is not doing everything all by him/herself. It doesn’t make sense to do everything as one person. It will be a combination of rallying the troops, using resources and relationships that are already available as well as getting new people/parties on board. Getting something of the ground needs a bit of luck, but more importantly it needs a vision, strategy, alignment, persistence, resources and leadership. In order to achieve that we basically start at the opposite end of what we have now and move to something in the middle. Something that is proven and maximizes our chances of success. But at all times with ANOs having the eventual say, just not in every single decision. I would be accountable to ANOs and would seek the go ahead and approval where needed, but certainly not on every small matter. Simply like a board I would be accountable, provide updates and ANOs could sent me home at any time. I am confident that I can turn the protocol around in 2021 together with the help of all that are willing.
 
One thing is for sure. There would be at least one highly visible 2nd layer application of the protocol (blockchain for good makes sense) in there for which the protocol would become known/famous

Hi Niels - thanks for the application. As you have made an effort to specifically highlight this part, can you please provide some more information about it?

What are the solutions in mind, and what resources would be needed?
 
Sorry for the long posts. I want to provide a bit of background first in this post before continuing to really answering your question in the next post.

The visible application is something we have to collectively decide upon with people that want to put in the work. It will probably also be driven to a certain extent by the outcomes of the first phases described above. The problem with the protocol is that it sells we can do everything with data. Everybody knows the saying "Jack of all trades, master of none" I guess.

If we do data why don't we have very clear use cases and products for the protol? Why don't we have lower level stuff like:
  • Schema's and validation built in
  • Private chains and/or authorization
  • Indexing of data
  • External blob/file storage integration
  • Private/public and/or Permissioned/Permissionless integration of Factom networks
  • Specs and reference implementations/libraries for interoperability across certain use cases
  • Making signatures first class citizens in the data layer, as almost every implementation on top needs them and has to reinvent the wheel
We expect everyone to use protocol but figure out themselves what to do with the protocol without providing real examples. I find it interesting that even people in our community have a hard time figuring out products or use cases themselves or who don't get much further than only the standard Proof of Existence (not saying that doesn't have merit to be clear) with files. For me it boils down to a combination of a lack of imagination and deep knowledge of the technology.

I think nobody can blame people if we don't provide examples. If people in our community cannot even come with proper use cases and ideas, why do we expect external parties to figure it out by themselves and come running to us?

We are working mostly in silos, mostly in small 1, 2 or maybe 3 person teams. Most of it commercial and with a lot of overlap, and some feel competition. I already explained before that it really doesn't make sense to have something like 4 or more different DID implementations, since DIDs are already an abstraction layer where you access Identities through the universal resolver and registrar APIs. You really only need one of these to make it work, yet we have multiple parties working on the tech. Sphereon is part of the Decentralized Identity Foundation and already provided the registrar and driver. It simply is a waste or resources we could direct at more collaboratively defined goals using the tech instead of creating it.

For this to change we need to come up or work out 2nd layer use case, example product ideas, and specifications. We need to align core development with 2nd layer applications, so they can reinforce each other. It means ensuring we come up with specs, deliverables and requests for proposals first, instead of everyone working in their own island and then submitting a grant proposal that suits them. Then we need to work together on developing these low level 2nd layer libraries, specs and APIs. That is exactly how Sphereon works with all kinds of partners. We work with you for Off-Blocks, digital signatures and identities on blockchain in accelerators/infra calls like the European Self Sovereign Identity Framework (Business call), Japan accelerator program. We work with Konkuk University in South Korea, a Dutch non-profit and schools for educational credentials like diploma's and competencies. We work with 2 external partners on providing digital identities to special investigators. We work with several partners on providing company passports to Dutch companies on different ledgers. I can go on about more projects we do. Point is that we believe in co-creation, as it brings collective networks together, it brings knowledge together and it allows to focus on what is really needed for different stakeholders.

I want something similar for the protocol to happen. To setup clear use cases, set up specifications for these use cases and setup reference libraries/implementations, whilst at the same time aligning these 2nd layer use cases with core development. It is rather odd we have already identified the need for ECDSA (Ethereum) signature/key support something like 2 years ago for different use cases on FAT/Factom, yet we still don't have it. These are things we need to act on. We can have multiple parties sort of competing with each other on commercial products (I don't regard it as that, I know some do), but instead of waiting and hoping that if some entity becomes successful and than also return the favor to the protocol, it makes more sense to ensure the fundamentals are worked on together, so people can create better products and products that can work together or reinforce each other.


Although not wanting to make this political, as I am not even a fan of the person, but "let's put the protocol first!"
 
In order to create visibility and improve our reputation we need to become more relevant. We (Sphereon, including myself) believe that this can best be done through actual use cases with a great story and high impact. This could be done by developing and launching some impactful applications for instance. Below are just some examples and obviously we need to come up with something together. I am just listing 3 below as for each of these use cases I and Sphereon already has the network to make inroads into making it highly likely to work for instance. These are not projects that need to be driven by Sphereon at all, it simply needs to happen collaboratively, out in the open as open-source, with contributions from everyone willing to put in work (obviously we would need to provide remunerations).


3 examples we could do in co-creation with highly visible organizations, the community and external developers:
  1. Tokenization for National Health Insurance Systems
  1. Education and Accreditation for Healthcare Providers
  1. Immutable Evidence of Human Rights Abuses

This idea reaches back to the earlier years of the protocol when Factom was able to team with highly visible and reputable organizations, such as DHS and the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation (although a dud, the Honduras Land registry).

The big difference with then is that we now actually have a lot of the required open-source technology needed to create great applications and make them work!

The below text is mostly @mboender 's work. That also highlights that if I would be elected director, the management team of Sphereon would also chime in and we would better align Sphereon with the protocol. These are just some examples, obviously it needs to be aligned with the outcome of the strategy, vision and resulting plans.

Besides these 3 examples, one could also think about social media proofs, inbound/outbound e-mail proofs in mailservers, digital mailroom audit trails, website proofs, authentication/authorization/capabilities, workflow and smart contract solutions to name a few.


Tokenization for National Health Insurance Systems in Low-and Middle-income Countries

All eyes are on the COVID-19 pandemic virus. However, among specialists there is consensus that Antimicrobial Resistance (AMR) poses a far bigger threat to humans and animals than a new virus. Drug-resistant microorganisms already account for an estimated 700,000 deaths a year globally, a figure that could rapidly increase to 10 million deaths each year if no action is taken.

AMR is mainly the result of inappropriate prescription and use of antibiotics, caused by various perverse drivers, such as greed, poverty, and poor knowledge.

Sphereon is part of AMR Global (amr-global.org), a public-private partnership that brings together experts in various fields in the fight against AMR. One of the spearhead policies in AMR Global is Better Antimicrobial Stewardship.

One of the sub-projects is creating a Tokenization module for National Health Insurance Systems (NHIS), enabling the issuing, exchange and settlement of medicine or other treatments. Such as system is expected to solve several problems:
  • Lower the administrative burdens of healthcare payers (governments, insurers) and healthcare providers

  • Payments for actual use, rather than funding up-front.

  • Patients do not have to pay the healthcare provider

  • Healthcare providers can be paid immediately (trusted transaction for actual use, no verification necessary).

  • Enable incentives for patients to complete a treatment

  • Enable incentives for healthcare providers to follow best practices in treatments
  • Real-time data collection and monitoring: hotspots, trends, JIT supply-chain, etc.·  


In this use case that are three parties:
  1. the healthcare payer, a government agency or insurer that will pay for the treatment
  2. the healthcare provider, the doctor or nurse that will provide the treatment, and who will need to be paid
  3. the patient that will need to receive the treatment

Current procedures to manage and administer this differ very much from country to country, and even from payer to payer and provider to provider. And almost always are paper- and labor intensive and messy.

Using FAT tokenization, we can greatly improve this. The Healthcare Payer can issue various digital tokens, each with their own rules, for example:

Tokens testing, diagnostics and treatment, for example for Tuberculosis 

  • The patient would receive such a token in their digital wallet, which can be on a phone or a card, once every year

  • The token would have a validity of, f.i. one or two years

  • Using the token would also entitle them to a bonus token or tokens for an extra benefit, f.i. to a free meal for two

  • When the patient visits the healthcare provider, he “pays” with this token, which gets transferred to the wallet of the healthcare provider

  • And the patient automatically receives the bonus tokens for the meals

  • When the patient visits the cafeteria of the healthcare provider, he “pays” with this token for the meals, which gets transferred to the wallet of the person, NGO or other that runs the cafeteria and provides the meal.


This greatly reduces the administrative burden for the payer and gets the provider paid quickly. It reduces fraud and enforces rules and can incentivize parties.

The healthcare provider can also arrange with a donor to pay for the treatment based on real use. So, no payment of grants upfront, based on estimations, but on actual data that can be trusted.


Partners

Through AMR Global we have a very strong international network for realization and implementation. They will contribute knowledge and experience, but also funding for the project.

AMR Global/WHO/NCOH/AIGHD/KNVC/KWR

KNCV Tuberculosis Foundation was established in 1903 and works in over 20 countries in Africa, Asia and Eastern Europe.

The Amsterdam Institute for Global Health and Development (AIGHD) is an international research and education institute that works to develop sustainable solutions to major health problems. AIGHD was initiated as a partnership between the Amsterdam University Medical Centers (AUMC), the University of Amsterdam (UvA) and the Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam (VU).


Education and Accreditation for Healthcare Providers in Low- and Middle-income Countries

Most highly developed countries have a strong system for education and regulating medical personnel, such as nurses, doctors, specialists, etc. With accredited educational institutes and curricula, registers, medical boards, to provide and monitor the quality of care given by these professionals.

Unfortunately, many low- and middle-income countries (LMICs) do not have the same level for such systems, often even lagging far behind.

National and international donor organizations and NGOs are looking at ways to improve this through methods and systems for remote learning and education.

Medical schools and universities have built a lot of online courses and created protocols for education of medical professionals. They are willing – and actively exploring this together with AMR Global – how they can provide these materials to students and professionals in LMICs to improve the level of knowledge in these countries.


Factom Educational Badges application

Sphereon is also developing a solution to issue, manage and verify so-called educational badges and verifiable credentials. This solution can be used by trusted parties, like a university, NGO or government to issue a “digital badge” as a form of accreditation to the person or entity that qualified for such an accreditation. The holder can then proof that they hold a certain accreditation and the entity that receives this digital badge can automatically verify that the accreditation has not been tampered with and was issued by the trusted party.

We believe this is a great basis for use in healthcare in LIMCs to start a robust accreditation system as a fraction of the costs of the centralized systems that are considered today.

We would work with more or less the same partners as the previous application and use the same method to have the community come together and make this happen.

Sphereon is working in the next European Self Sovereign Identity Framework call to bridge the gap between different Verifiable Credentials systems like the W3C/DIF standards based solutions and the Hyperledger Aries/Soverign projects, by creating integration libraries for so called Presentation Exchanges, as well as creating bridges between the products. That means in the future SSI systems can start working together to verify credentials from holder wallets across different technologies, making a project like this immediately future proof.



Immutable Evidence of Human Rights Abuses

Another highly visible and high-impact application we’re considering is an application that would enable investigators, as well as the common public, to record and publish evidence of human rights and other abuses in such a manner that they can be proven, beyond any doubt, to have taken place at a certain place and certain time and are authentic.

We’ve already been in contact with Amnesty International and the International Criminal Court (ICC), who have shown an interest, but lack funding at this time.

If we as a community would adopt this project and make it into a product, they are interested to pick this up. We’re sure this will also create quite a bit of visibility and interest in the Factom technologies. It is something that is already very close to the core of the protocol.
 
Some questions from my end. Some of this may overlap with answers you've already given.

1. What have you learned in the past two years, specifically when it comes to communication with the Factom protocol, and how do you apply those lessons to your role as a Director?

2. $7500 a month may not be the salary you’re pulling at Sphereon, but it all comes down to how much time you’re investing. Are you reducing your hours at Sphereon for this? How many hours are you intending to allocate to this role?

3. I appreciate the business analysis tools (swot, bcg matrix), but can you give us a vision of what you intend Factom to look like in twelve months? What's the growth you want to see? If a random retail investor had to sum up Factom in twelve months, what would you hope he or she would say? In twelve months, what would you want consensus in /r/cryptocurrency to be?

4. Following up on the above, do you foresee some of your resource management focusing around directly appealing to retail crypto investors? This has been our achilles heel for years. Ultimately, Factom will play second fiddle to projects that target similar use cases but are way ahead in retail appeal, because it is simply much easier for them to attract capital and interest (e.g. Civic for identities/VCs).

5. This was not part of the first election procedure for a Director, so I'll ask it here. Could you list all of your perceived, potential and actual conflicts of interest in your capacity as a Director? Relations/investments with ANOs, other roles, etc.

6. You distanced yourself from the protocol for much of last year. Do you foresee any hypothetical events that would cause you to prematurely end your term?
 
Some questions from my end. Some of this may overlap with answers you've already given.

1. What have you learned in the past two years, specifically when it comes to communication with the Factom protocol, and how do you apply those lessons to your role as a Director?
Probably not the answer you want to hear here. But what I have learned in the past two years is that too many cooks in the kitchen is a bad idea. What I have also learned and already knew for quite some time given I have been involved in the past in the biggest tech community in the Netherlands, is that written communication is always harder than personal communication. For that I will be doing more online voice and video meetings with stakeholders. In the first few months I will probably hold a monthly session to inform people about progress and answer any questions they have. Probably also having an open session every week for people to ask me any questions. Moving into a bi-monthly cadence afterwards.
However I also know I am not the easiest person. That has to do with all kinds of things, but also with the fact I am simply used to calling the shots in a technical and business environment. I am not here to be friends with everybody. If you believe that will change I have to disappoint you.

2. $7500 a month may not be the salary you’re pulling at Sphereon, but it all comes down to how much time you’re investing. Are you reducing your hours at Sphereon for this? How many hours are you intending to allocate to this role?
I will be doing roughly 20 hours a week. As should probably be clear we have a very experienced Management Team at Sphereon with a lot of international experience as well as dealing with big organizations. The Management Team will also step in at times to help me and thus us out. Yes I will be reducing my hour at Sphereon temporary for this. This will be filled with by the combination of our new CEO as well as a senior developer.

3. I appreciate the business analysis tools (swot, bcg matrix), but can you give us a vision of what you intend Factom to look like in twelve months? What's the growth you want to see? If a random retail investor had to sum up Factom in twelve months, what would you hope he or she would say? In twelve months, what would you want consensus in /r/cryptocurrency to be?
With regards to the growth that has so many dimensions and variables it would be unwise to set too many flagpoles at this time.
The tools mentioned are there for a reason. Instead of going with our gut only it should provide us with some clear insights in what to do and more importantly on what not to do. As there never are guarantees for success you take an approach that is proven to maximize your chances.

To answer your question. What I want is that we see new parties entering the protocol development wise, that we see public projects running on the protocol, that we see accademia, startups and companies interested in using the protocol. That we see a listing on at least one reputable exchange because we have got our story straight. In the end the consensus the retail investor as well as /r/cryptocurrency consensus should be that how they could have missed Factom having this much potential as they have regarded it as an antique and irrelevant project with too many promises not being held up. The decentralized nature of all our efforts, have also made all the different progresses very opaque. That simply needs alignement and direction to bring all these islands together into one story. They should firmly believe that the tokenomics will work in their favor and is heavily aligned with them investing at that point.

4. Following up on the above, do you foresee some of your resource management focusing around directly appealing to retail crypto investors? This has been our achilles heel for years. Ultimately, Factom will play second fiddle to projects that target similar use cases but are way ahead in retail appeal, because it is simply much easier for them to attract capital and interest (e.g. Civic for identities/VCs).
If you take Civic as an example for VCs you are probably underestimating the inroads a company like Sphereon has in for instance the EU, INATBA, The Netherlands, Dutch Blockchain Coalition etcetera. We are working on projects and frameworks in both national and international settings with actual law makers. I personally don't believe in identity only tokens/networks, given that part can be replaced in the future, with for instance something like DIFs KERI. You also need audit/trace capabilities, authorization and data. That is where Factom can shine. Identities in the future will not be a single ledger. We are for instance in the European Self Sovereign Identity framework responsible for making sure that al these different VC solutions can talk to each other. Besides that mainly issuers and verifiers are the intended paying audience, not the consumer/user. Except the general crypto investor hasn't connected these dots yet.

But what these project do very good, and what we have been doing very badly, is pick specific use cases, like for instance one of Factom's direct competitors LTO Network focusing on Business identities. I wouldn't be a good director if I wouldn't come up with a plan together with others to ensure we would become appealing to retail investors. However I don't want to jump the gun here. I have several ideas, but I really want to do the analysis first in order to not be too biased.

5. This was not part of the first election procedure for a Director, so I'll ask it here. Could you list all of your perceived, potential and actual conflicts of interest in your capacity as a Director? Relations/investments with ANOs, other roles, etc.
Obviously I am directly related to Blockchain Innovation Foundation and Sphereon, no surprises there. Sphereon is both a shareholder in and developer of Off-Blocks, which in turn has relations to Colin and Federate This in this protocol. That's it.

For full disclosure:
We have worked as a subcontractor through Off-Blocks with Factom Inc and we have good contacts with DBGrow and Layertech about potential collaborations/projects. We have provided some help (unpaid) in the past to entities like TFA and GO Immutable for their projects and/or our prospects.

6. You distanced yourself from the protocol for much of last year. Do you foresee any hypothetical events that would cause you to prematurely end your term?
Do you have a few hours :p
Obviously the classical health, family issues, that you do not always have control over.
Then there is the possibility it becomes a failure, either by my doing or outside of my control. Currently the price seems to be increasing, but I warn people to not get too excited too soon. Simply look at the downwards slope of the price for more than a year. Obviously we will come with a plan, that would include changes to tokenomics. That should be appealing, but if the price of the token is down the drain, you cannot magically mint all kinds of tokens and think that everyone would see the value in that. At current prices we are already working on a shoestring budget for what we want to achieve. So that is of obvious concern.
I don't even have to go down the "what if Bitrex delist us" I guess.

Lastly there is the potential that ANOs will feal threatened, That could result in blocking any movement, or simply remove me from the position. Although I also feel that there will be an interesting dynamic with the position. Because the consequences of removing the director from an interim position for the protocol would be quite bad, especially from the optics department.

These are just a few of the many possibilities. But to end on a positive note, obviously I have thought this through and am aware of a lot of things that could go wrong. I decided to run despite of that, because I am rather confident I can change the protocol around together with the help of everybody.
 
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Good question.

It is something we have to define collaboratively, but if you ask me and that is what I will be proposing we will have a mint event. But that has to tie into the vision, strategy and plans. It should not be some random amount of token. It should be an amount of tokens with a vesting scheme, tied into certain events. Which takes into account the bull and bear market cycles. It shouldn't be an amount of tokens that would allow the protocol to continue without any changes in case of a bearish cycle, because then it will be perceived as just grabbing money at the expense of token holders. So it has to be a fine balance. A balance that allows us to still achieve our goals if the market turns bearish again (it will at one point), but which also means we will have to adjust our objectives slightly. A schema that allows the protocol to flourish and anyone involved in it together with it. That takes into account burns in case we do flourish to ensure investors are willing to invest as they will not be bombarded with token sales. It needs to tie directly in to the tokenomics plan we come up with that should incentivize entering now both as user of the protocol as well as holders. We need to incentivice new companies/integrators and projects developing on the protocol, as we should have money for development, outreach, marketing, listings

The current 10% inflation might not be that problematic if you just take into account many years of holding, but in all honesty that is just not how any token holder would look at it. A lot of tokenholders are not investing for 10 years. But even if they did the additional inflation on top of the 100% an investor started with still is 160%. The problem is that it continues at this rate, without any events and/or performance associated to it people will find the risks of all that inflation simply to big.

We should have a plan for the next 4-5 years. If we haven't made it work by then, everybody should draw their own conclusions. The plan needs to reflect that. We should be aware of that we want more people to get in asap. Compared to a traditional business we are in a bit of an unique situation at this point. Making the visions, strategy and execution plans is something you typically do. Then you raise the money for that execution. We can control that amount of money within boundaries however.

The above is also why I really have been a broken record about the order of things. We shouldn't be doing a roadmap without strategy/vision and execution plans first. We certainly shouldn't be doing an almost once in a lifetime big tokenomics change without knowing what the tokens would be used for.
 
The above is also why I really have been a broken record about the order of things. We shouldn't be doing a roadmap without strategy/vision and execution plans first. We certainly shouldn't be doing an almost once in a lifetime big tokenomics change without knowing what the tokens would be used for.
Hi Niels,

Thank you for applying for the position of Factom's first Director. It will take an individual with broad capabilities to fill this role properly and you make a good case. However this is not the first opportunity to do the things that you describe. Other than the "too many cooks in the kitchen analogy" which I understand and agree with, can you please explain why now is the right time to apply some of the disciplines you describe and why you could not have introduced and championed these disciplines at any time in the past?
 
Hi Mike,

I am going to split up two of your sentences, because I feel I need to in order to make the case clearer.

However this is not the first opportunity to do the things that you describe.
I really believe it is. And it ties into the next item. We really haven't had people with actual mandates, except for guides. And that mandate was constricted to governance only. Given our approach to involving everyone on every decision, regardless of their expertise we have never created the atmosphere for people to really step up in their areas of expertise. The working groups/committees to some extent could have filled that role, but even there it becomes problematic if you do not give people real mandates. I have never stepped up in the core committee for instance, because I never would be able to really take the reigns into restructuring things. People will always perceive others as threats when your approach is that everyone should be equals in all matters.

Other than the "too many cooks in the kitchen analogy" which I understand and agree with, can you please explain why now is the right time to apply some of the disciplines you describe and why you could not have introduced and championed these disciplines at any time in the past?
I believe with the last vote the consensus was finally achieved that we really need an interim management approach to get the protocol back on its feet. That means you need someone that is not afraid to make decisions. Decisions that certainly will not please every single person. Some decisions that might not pan out or even simply fail. I am not afraid of making those decisions, as I have learned personally and professionally over the years, that making bad decisions is part of life. You learn from them and hopefully next time make a different decision, if you are in control of course. Making a bad decision is almost always better than making no decision at all. We have been plagued by indecisiveness for way too long.

I will make some day to day decisions by myself, others I will propose to the standing parties. At all times they will be informed through the council and where applicable me. But it will be based on coherent plans. It will be a game of give and take and not everyone will agree all the time. Everyone should be aware that in our previous approach the same thing happened except magnified. Most people were not happy at all, as we lacked clear direction and did not put the protocol first at all times. The people that did try to step up in the past basically burned out because of it. I can name quite a few people, and the same simply would have repeated again and again.

The fact we now decided to bring a council together with a director that will have an interim position next 9-12 months, basically acknowledges we are finally ready for change. Which gets me excited to show we really can turn the ship around.
 
Hi Mike,
The fact we now decided to bring a council together with a director that will have an interim position next 9-12 months, basically acknowledges we are finally ready for change. Which gets me excited to show we really can turn the ship around.
Hi Niels,

Thank you for this. Whilst it would have been great to get more of this done some time ago, because it is is very overdue, I think that you are correct that the time is right now to actually be able to do something. It has taken a while for us to realize the importance of clear leadership and accountability. That is not a criticism it is a fact, one borne of the challenges of trying to make a decentralized organisation work. I therefore share your excitement that we can start to "turn the ship round". It is a process that still needs to capitalize on the wide array of skills and experience there is in this community. Therefore one of the big challenges will be to work with all the various parties in order to make this happen and capitalise on both strong underpinnings and the great developments and initiatives that are around us. Keeping people informed and aligning these efforts is going to be the secret.
 
Probably not the answer you want to hear here. But what I have learned in the past two years is that too many cooks in the kitchen is a bad idea. What I have also learned and already knew for quite some time given I have been involved in the past in the biggest tech community in the Netherlands, is that written communication is always harder than personal communication. For that I will be doing more online voice and video meetings with stakeholders. In the first few months I will probably hold a monthly session to inform people about progress and answer any questions they have.
Let me clarify where I'm coming from. The Director has a lot of overlap with the current grant system, but the scope is bigger. Instead of you being accountable for your own grants and its progress, you will be responsible for and coordinating the efforts of multiple parties, with far more resources.

So what I'm really asking is how we prevent past situations where the grants you represented suffered from communication issues and how you intend to rectify this in a Director role. It has very little to do with too many cooks in the kitchen. These same issues can plague a council-director relationship where either funds stop getting released or one side gets bullied into submission.

Here's one example:
https://forum.factomprotocol.org/threads/bif-007-identity-did-and-signing-fips.2073/page-2

I will say that:
In the first few months I will probably hold a monthly session to inform people about progress and answer any questions they have.
Is a good first step. But leave out 'in the first few months' and 'probably' - otherwise it sounds like a very soft commitment.

Sphereon is both a shareholder in and developer of Off-Blocks, which in turn has relations to Colin and Federate This in this protocol. That's it.
While it sets a bad precedent, I have a feeling the majority may accept this for an interim term out of necessity, but for the future I wouldn't be comfortable with a Director having financial ties to multiple ANOs that are supposed to oversee the role. In any case, I'd expect them to abstain during important votes (election, removal). Do you agree?

Continuing on this, will you still act on BIF's behalf when it comes to responding to standing votes?
 
Let me clarify where I'm coming from. The Director has a lot of overlap with the current grant system, but the scope is bigger. Instead of you being accountable for your own grants and its progress, you will be responsible for and coordinating the efforts of multiple parties, with far more resources.

So what I'm really asking is how we prevent past situations where the grants you represented suffered from communication issues and how you intend to rectify this in a Director role. It has very little to do with too many cooks in the kitchen. These same issues can plague a council-director relationship where either funds stop getting released or one side gets bullied into submission.

Here's one example:
https://forum.factomprotocol.org/threads/bif-007-identity-did-and-signing-fips.2073/page-2
Accountable being the operative word here. I think we have big difference in what personal accountability vs organizational accountability is. As director I would be directly accountable, meaning I will ensure that you have clear deliverables and contracts in paper.

An organization makes their own decisions and provides their own accountability. It is different roles. Something quite easily to get a grip on tbh.

Is a good first step. But leave out 'in the first few months' and 'probably' - otherwise it sounds like a very soft commitment.
The probably was with regards to the intervals and not that I would hold them or not.

While it sets a bad precedent, I have a feeling the majority may accept this for an interim term out of necessity, but for the future I wouldn't be comfortable with a Director having financial ties to multiple ANOs that are supposed to oversee the role. In any case, I'd expect them to abstain during important votes (election, removal). Do you agree?
That is how the business world works. I rather have somebody with a vested interest in making something a success. It evens works the other way around. Whenever a decision around on of these entities has to be made I would be very much on my toes.

I know it is hard for some people, but different roles have different approaches and opinions, simply as part of their responsibilities. BIF is a legal entity, as is Off-Blocks, as is their ANO. These legal entities make their own decisions. I think the fact that Sphereon is a shareholder in Off-Blocks, whilst you have me seen disagreeing with Colin in here quite a lot is a testament to that. You either believe I am open about conflicts of interest and will act with the protocol first in mind as a director, or you don't. If you don't, then simply don't vote for me, because it would be a loosing game regardless.

Continuing on this, will you still act on BIF's behalf when it comes to responding to standing votes?
BIF acts on its own. Everytime we have a discussion you seem to think I am a sole decision maker in BIF. That is simply not the case. In BIF there is a majority voting rule that is even anchored into the notary registered documents. I take different roles and being a legal representative rather serious, so to me it seems like you are trying to pick at something where there really is nothing to pick at. To be clear, not adhering to these things, means you can be personally responsible instead of the legal entity as a whole in legal matters. I take that very seriously.

Again if people don't believe that as a director I would put the protocol first in that capacity, then don't vote for me.
 
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An organization makes their own decisions and provides their own accountability. It is different roles. Something quite easily to get a grip on tbh.
Can you expand if / how you tried to influence Sphereon's decision-making about grant reporting? Where does Sphereon's policy differ from your personal policy in a Director role?

That is how the business world works.
I don't really care about who argues with who and how much. This is about optics and not setting dangerous precedents for the future. Does Factom have a Director? Yes. Who oversees that Director? ANOs. Does the Director have financial ties with multiple ANOs? Yes.

I'm not sure if "that's how business works" will sway public opinion anywhere outside our little bubble. We've had ANOs abstaining from votes before due to perceived conflicts. Some of the first Guide/ANO elections come to mind. Generally that's a good thing.

So again, would you support that any parties with direct financial ties to the Director abstain from voting?

BIF acts on its own. Everytime we have a discussion you seem to think I am a sole decision maker in BIF.
This isn't about legal accountability. This is about how one role may influence how other parties interact with your other roles (and entities associated therewith). The more roles you assume, the more likely that is. And you have a lot. This whole switcheroo (it's not my problem, it's yours for not recognizing different roles!) is therefore irrelevant. It's about the dynamics we're promoting and allowing.

Will you continue to respond on BIF's behalf (after reaching majority within) to standing votes? Just yes or no will do.
 
Can you expand if / how you tried to influence Sphereon's decision-making about grant reporting? Where does Sphereon's policy differ from your personal policy in a Director role?
You can ask @Sebastian @mboender whether I have internally brought up the subject on different occasions or not.

Where the difference lies is rather simple. As a director I would be doing negotiations and put stuf on paper in order to make sure what is agreed upon is met, otherwise I wouldn't be doing a good job of it. Sphereon has its own commercial and client responsibilities.

Let's take the hypothetical here. If I in my role as protocol director would be having Sphereon deliver something on paper, you can bet your ass I would from my role as director make sure to pursue the legal entity Sphereon for that delivery and would hold back funds and/or any future payments/projects until the matter is resolved.

I don't really care about who argues with who and how much. This is about optics and not setting dangerous precedents for the future. Does Factom have a Director? Yes. Who oversees that Director? ANOs. Does the Director have financial ties with multiple ANOs? Yes.

I'm not sure if "that's how business works" will sway public opinion anywhere outside our little bubble. We've had ANOs abstaining from votes before due to perceived conflicts. Some of the first Guide/ANO elections come to mind. Generally that's a good thing.

So again, would you support that any parties with direct financial ties to the Director abstain from voting?
First of all first there is the Council overseeing on behalf of the ANOs. You have the exact same problem there.What is being ignored is that I would be extra cautious and transparent about it. It is something that is there. If we really feel this strong about it, we can remove all ANOs, because they all get paid by the protocol and have a delegation.

So no, I would not be against it, as that means a lot of ANOs would also need to abstain on other votes for different reasons. The assumption seems to be that entities would always vote in favor of what would suit me best, is simply not true.

It the elephant in the room is that BIF should not be allowed to vote on any removal of the director if I would be elected, fine get it in there. I would have to abstain from BIF myself anyway, because it would involve myself in another capacity. Leaving the vote up to Sebastian and Maarten. If people feel that the risk of them voting in favor of me when a removal vote would be held is too big, I am sure that could be resolved on paper.

If you feel that on all other matters these entities should not be allowed to vote, then it make it rather unfair. It would even probably result in most entities not allowing to vote anymore, because I will keep relationships with all entities putting in work.

This isn't about legal accountability. This is about how one role may influence how other parties interact with your other roles (and entities associated therewith). The more roles you assume, the more likely that is. And you have a lot. This whole switcheroo (it's not my problem, it's yours for not recognizing different roles!) is therefore irrelevant. It's about the dynamics we're promoting and allowing.

Will you continue to respond on BIF's behalf (after reaching majority within) to standing votes? Just yes or no will do.
As I have tried to explain these roles are there and it is something to deal with. Would it be ideal if we had somebody with no ties? Maybe. On the other hand, is it bad to have somebody at the helm that has a vested interest and is very transparent about that? I would say no.

To the later. Yes, but I will leave most communication to Sebas and Maarten, because people get easily confused about the different roles. If I would be acting on behalf of BIF or Sphereon instead of as Director, I would certainly make that very clear in written and verbal communications.
 
Thank you for your application Niels.

I will seek roughly 7,500 dollars a month, denominated at a fixed FCT price determined upfront and with a discount applied. On top of that a bonus of 25%, with requirements/targets we have to define together. The reason is that I want to align incentives for the protocol and me/Sphereon. Although 7,500 dollars is a lot of money, obviously it doesn't pay my full salary. The money would be mainly used to fill in the gap by a senior developer as well as my salary in Sphereon which would be the result of work for the protocol and less availability in Sphereon. I am willing to take the risk in price to a certain extent of course. Even if the 7,500 dollars is hit in the FCT price I would not be making money compared to today. So I better make sure the price of FCT gets above the 35% discount gap mentioned below.
Correct me if I calculated wrong:

7,500 USD with 35% discount gap means using $0.65/FCT when real FCT price is $1 ($1.3/FCT when real FCT price $2, etc.).
So it equals to approx. 7,500 / 0.65 = ~11,538 USD per month for part time work (you committed 1/2 FTE).
On top of that you seek for 25% bonus, so total amount is $14,422 per month, which is rounded 15K for a non full-time function, which doesn't make sense at this time.

Making more than 15K dollars for a non full-time function also doesn't make sense at this time (even if the price would allow it).
 
Hello Niels.

Clay, Who, and Luap worked hard to make trash code reasonably stable and add some TPS to the network. As far as I know, none of them are working on the code in any meaningful way. I've seen proposals that others start to take up that slack. As we both know, all developers are not created equal. The Factom codebase is still a mess and it will take a good developer months to figure it out. As such, there may be an understandable desire to bring back some people who are familiar with the codebase but don't write the best code which could result in the network taking a step backwards. This creates risk for outside entities like my own that hope to utilize the protocol.

What steps would you take to ensure that only quality, well tested code makes its way to production?
 
I had convos with some developers in community, we discussed the idea of moving tokens on the protocol level (L1).

L2 solutions is not really popular (even L2 of popular L1’s like Ethereum), and in our case Factom is not popular as L1 itself, so FAT as L2 is not popular at all.

In my opinion tokens balances and transactions should be operated on L1, like in Ethereum. Ethereum has tokens on L1 and it’s pretty straightforward for anyone to create own tokens, which leads new developers into Eth (not only this of course, but it's also important).

I think it’s not too late for Factom to do it. We can use some existing FAT standards and algorithms and implement them on L1, expand Factom libs and factomd APIs.

What do you think about this direction of development for Factom?
 
Hello Niels.

Clay, Who, and Luap worked hard to make trash code reasonably stable and add some TPS to the network. As far as I know, none of them are working on the code in any meaningful way. I've seen proposals that others start to take up that slack. As we both know, all developers are not created equal. The Factom codebase is still a mess and it will take a good developer months to figure it out. As such, there may be an understandable desire to bring back some people who are familiar with the codebase but don't write the best code which could result in the network taking a step backwards. This creates risk for outside entities like my own that hope to utilize the protocol.

What steps would you take to ensure that only quality, well tested code makes its way to production?
Hi David,

Obviously that is a concern of mine. Talking from the Off-Blocks and Sphereon perspective, obviously we share the same concerns about the protocol as a whole. We need a steady protocol and we cannot have the types of stalls we had 2 years ago. One does have to be realistic about last year as well. We have only had something like 2 stalls, but we also only had few updates to the software, with a declining amount of ANOs, meaning the amount of changes was low and auth-network size shrinking.

I am not too happy with a repetition of what we have seen in the past regarding core-dev grants (a few bullet points and then hoping everything works out), or the anchor spec (let's make this really flexible thing that can do everything and have 2 FTE working on it for quite a time, without having the spec first, whilst the protocol is struggling to stay afloat) It would make sense to be realistic about the situation and make sure we create as much value in the shortest amount of time.

Just like in the other areas, we need a plan for development. I am not in the camp of "hey it is open-source, so everyone can do as they see fit". That is valid if none get paid. Most of the development in here does get paid and thus the work has to come from a plan. If people really believe that is how the well-known open-source companies work, I guess they have a skewed vision of the level of professionalism in these companies.

We definitely need to work on the QA and ensuring we have public CI/test infra in place, do proper code reviews. That start with ensuring the development tickets/stories are well defined and scoped. Having developers on board with proper software development principles. It also means having the proper people in the proper roles. It happens that all of that is of course my real background, so getting that in place if money wouldn't be an issue isn't going to be the problem. It will not happen overnight and whether we will have the money to put that in place in a really good way is another matter. But suffice to say that I rather have slow and good progress, then rushed progress with al kinds of new nuts and bolts just because developers feel like it.
 
I had convos with some developers in community, we discussed the idea of moving tokens on the protocol level (L1).

L2 solutions is not really popular (even L2 of popular L1’s like Ethereum), and in our case Factom is not popular as L1 itself, so FAT as L2 is not popular at all.

In my opinion tokens balances and transactions should be operated on L1, like in Ethereum. Ethereum has tokens on L1 and it’s pretty straightforward for anyone to create own tokens, which leads new developers into Eth (not only this of course, but it's also important).

I think it’s not too late for Factom to do it. We can use some existing FAT standards and algorithms and implement them on L1, expand Factom libs and factomd APIs.

What do you think about this direction of development for Factom?
I think that is a discussion to be had. I can also see many benefits of having it on layer 2 that are hard to achieve in layer 1 (having superimposed FAT nodes for tokens only in a specific FAT network. Not impacting layer 1 with token changes, bugs and datastructure changes).

For the ease of creating tokens. Obviously it helps that Ethereum basically created the standards for it. But if one would simply package some sidecar docker containers you would have a docker container to spin up to get to develop your tokenization solution with FAT and Factomd in one go.

Moving it to layer 1, means deinvesting a lot of the time and reinvesting that for little to no additional benefits at this point, but with additional costs. Costs that we can and IMO should spent on other things at this point in time. We only have limited manpower and limited resources.

If you or other developers want to investigate, I suggest to create a few research pages/tickets for it, so we can have a proper discussion about it with all interested parties, but IMO it should be a rather compelling story to offset the above points.

So all in all maybe not what you would like to hear at this point in time. I am not sure whether the question would belong in this discussion at all to be honest, but I am happy it did. Because it will show you that I am open and willing to anyone, provided that they do come up with a plan, but as a director I would also have to keep track of any budgets and replacing things that we more or less already have but then maybe a bit more shiny isn't typically the best approach in these types of situations.
 
Hi Niels,

Thanks for submitting your candidacy. You gather a lot of skills and experience which makes your candidacy very appealing (even in absolute terms / not considering it is the only one :) )
Please find below some questions and comments. I have tried as much as possible to avoid any overlap with precedent questions from others.

Remuneration

I will seek roughly 7,500 dollars a month, denominated at a fixed FCT price determined upfront and with a discount applied. On top of that a bonus of 25%, with requirements/targets we have to define together. The reason is that I want to align incentives for the protocol and me/Sphereon. Although 7,500 dollars is a lot of money, obviously it doesn't pay my full salary. The money would be mainly used to fill in the gap by a senior developer as well as my salary in Sphereon which would be the result of work for the protocol and less availability in Sphereon. I am willing to take the risk in price to a certain extent of course. Even if the 7,500 dollars is hit in the FCT price I would not be making money compared to today. So I better make sure the price of FCT gets above the 35% discount gap mentioned below.
Having a strong incentive with the FCT token is very healthy IMO. I do think you can make money from that which is not a bad thing. It is actually a good thing for you and the protocol as a whole.
About capping the upside limitation (of 15k$/month): I would personally be more inclined not to cap it but to lock them for a period of time. This would be an additional strong incentive for the Director. This period of time could be the term of the Director mandate.
What do you think?

From a commercial perspective that still is a bad deal for Sphereon.
You actually mentioned several times that several managers/directors of Sphereon will help establish the strategic plan for Factom the protocol. Is it not because it is an opportunity for Sphereon ? What are their incentives, if not?
I personaly think this can be a massive opportunity for Sphereon to associate its name with a blockchain open source protocol in a very positive way. If successful, you would be de facto (sorry Anton ;)) the recognized expert of this protocol. Again this is a strong positive incentive for you and for all of us. Curious to hear your thoughts.

Strategy

First of all I would reach out to all ANOs and interested parties (also non ANOs and ex ANOs that we know off) and have short individual meetings with the parties that are willing to cooperate/meet. This is to both explain what I will be doing in the short and medium term, but more importantly to get input from those parties and to see what they really want, and what they can provide in terms of resources, products and/or clients for the protocol. I will create a high level report out of that anonymizing and/or omitting any details where necessary and obviously approved by these parties.
This is very constructive and much needed. HashnStore team will be happy to collaborate with the next Factom protocol Director. HashnStore will support and contribute in all decisions to help further the protocol.

The plans would include a change to our current grant system. Bringing the system in line with what serves the protocol best, holding the plans against the strategy, vision and roadmap. Anybody can subscribe to and help with the execution. Probably we will want a system in place where we all leave a certain percentage open for novel projects and/or startups a bit similar to what we have now, but the biggest chunk will be protocols and specifications first for all interested parties to work on. The important part of the system is, that the parties, existing and new, that are willing to put in work (development, marketing, outreach, governance) will find a place in the system.
This is critical and it is a fatal flaw we have experienced for too long. That along with the strategic plan should be enough to be a game changer for the protocol. It will avoid many of the infightings and enhance collaborations. We are aligned with this particularly on the specifications part that should be shared across the solutions. We will happy to adapt our Validity solution to such specs.


Let me clarify where I'm coming from. The Director has a lot of overlap with the current grant system, but the scope is bigger. Instead of you being accountable for your own grants and its progress, you will be responsible for and coordinating the efforts of multiple parties, with far more resources.

So what I'm really asking is how we prevent past situations where the grants you represented suffered from communication issues and how you intend to rectify this in a Director role. It has very little to do with too many cooks in the kitchen. These same issues can plague a council-director relationship where either funds stop getting released or one side gets bullied into submission.

Here's one example:
https://forum.factomprotocol.org/threads/bif-007-identity-did-and-signing-fips.2073/page-2
Accountable being the operative word here. I think we have big difference in what personal accountability vs organizational accountability is. As director I would be directly accountable, meaning I will ensure that you have clear deliverables and contracts in paper.

An organization makes their own decisions and provides their own accountability. It is different roles. Something quite easily to get a grip on tbh.
Of course, I have to write about this post. I find that WB questions are legit just as the questions we were asking in the grant thread. You have different roles interacting with the protocol. At some point it could lead to similar situations in the future.
Moreover it is difficult to be satisfied by An organization makes their own decisions and provides their own accountability. It is different roles. Something quite easily to get a grip on tbh.

If you have to be elected as the Director, I do think it is extremely important for you to avoid to communicate on behalf of BIF or Sphereon when it concerns the Factom protocol. Even just mentioning that you are acting on behalf of BIF or Sphereon instead of as Director would be too confusing and bad for the ecosystem. It mays just look as a communication or a wording issue from your point of view but it is much more than that and this impact should not be understimated. Otherwise, you may be in situations where you will have to criticize a party from the Factom perspective... and answer yourself on the other side from this party perspective. It would not make sense and it is hard too see how a difficult situation could be solved this way.
Do you agree with that?

Also what I retain from your last answers is that you will consider yourself accountable for specifying deliverables and framing contracts which is logical for a Director and is a good safeguard.
 
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Management exist everywhere, I get that, and good management is better than poor management.
But what about "workers" and getting work done?
In your mind, 1) who is "doing the work" that will bring management's ideas within a road map to life?
2) Who will promote them outside the community? And ...
3) Will we still have a system available where ANO's can bring proposals to get funding for their own ideas of how to create value for the protocol?
Thank you for addressing these questions
 
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Thanks for your application. You probably stated this previously, but I'm having trouble picking up on a few things. So can you concisely clarify a few things for me.

1) in a few concise bullets what is your vision of what you think a director should be?

2) In a few bullets what is your vision for the grant system and changes you would like to see to it?

3) What Role do you see the director as having in the grant system?
 
Hi Niels,

Thanks for submitting your candidacy. You gather a lot of skills and experience which makes your candidacy very appealing (even in absolute terms / not considering it is the only one :) )
Please find below some questions and comments. I have tried as much as possible to avoid any overlap with precedent questions from others.

Remuneration



Having a strong incentive with the FCT token is very healthy IMO. I do think you can make money from that which is not a bad thing. It is actually a good thing for you and the protocol as a whole.
About capping the upside limitation (of 15k$/month): I would personally be more inclined not to cap it but to lock them for a period of time. This would be an additional strong incentive for the Director. This period of time could be the term of the Director mandate.
What do you think?
I am more than happy to lock a partial amount without cap. On the other hand who is going to pay my bills? Keep in mind that Sphereon has to fill my gap as I will be lowering my hours during this position. It is not that Sphereon can miss me without taking measures ;)



You actually mentioned several times that several managers/directors of Sphereon will help establish the strategic plan for Factom the protocol. Is it not because it is an opportunity for Sphereon ? What are their incentives, if not?
For Sphereon it is quite clear. Although we are pretty agnostic blockchain wise, we still very much like the data approach and stable price per anchor very much, as it fits all our products and thus business model very well. We would be very happy if Sphereon could talk confidently about the protocol again. Right now it doesn't. The next incentive is that obviously Sphereon would benefit from the protocol as one of the entities involved if (and that still is an if to be clear) the protocol would make a comeback in the crypto/DLT space.


I personaly think this can be a massive opportunity for Sphereon to associate its name with a blockchain open source protocol in a very positive way. If successful, you would be de facto (sorry Anton ;)) the recognized expert of this protocol. Again this is a strong positive incentive for you and for all of us. Curious to hear your thoughts.
Agree that ties into the second part of the above answer. I do have to be honest. The Sphereon brand in the VC/SSI world is already becoming pretty strong, just like we are well known in the Dutch blockchain space. If the protocol picks up again, for which I will do all that I can, it certainly won't hurt Sphereon of course. That is also the reason why I am not putting in full commercial rates for an interim position.

Strategy

This is very constructive and much needed. HashnStore team will be happy to collaborate with the next Factom protocol Director. HashnStore will support and contribute in all decisions to help further the protocol.
Good to hear!. I have had people reaching out that for the first time in a long time they feel confident again in the protocol moving forward. I think getting the bal rolling again, seeing actual change and not trying to do everything through a forum, but more with actual conversations and discussions helps tremendously in getting the momentum going again. It is the eleventh hour, but that means it is not too late.

This is critical and it is a fatal flaw we have experienced for too long. That along with the strategic plan should be enough to be a game changer for the protocol. It will avoid many of the infightings and enhance collaborations. We are aligned with this particularly on the specifications part that should be shared across the solutions. We will happy to adapt our Validity solution to such specs.
Cool, good to hear. That is what I would love to see. Because if we can come up with specifications and enhancements it means that we will see common problems emerging you, Sphereon, Off-Blocks, DeFacto, Kompendium and all others that are actually using the protocol and/or are building products on top of have. It also means we can address those and even make sure we get a proper solution in place, because if current entities have these problems then it is highly unlikely they are alone.





Of course, I have to write about this post. I find that WB questions are legit just as the questions we were asking in the grant thread. You have different roles interacting with the protocol. At some point it could lead to similar situations in the future.
Moreover it is difficult to be satisfied by An organization makes their own decisions and provides their own accountability. It is different roles. Something quite easily to get a grip on tbh.

If you have to be elected as the Director, I do think it is extremely important for you to avoid to communicate on behalf of BIF or Sphereon when it concerns the Factom protocol. Even just mentioning that you are acting on behalf of BIF or Sphereon instead of as Director would be too confusing and bad for the ecosystem. It mays just look as a communication or a wording issue from your point of view but it is much more than that and this impact should not be understimated. Otherwise, you may be in situations where you will have to criticize a party from the Factom perspective... and answer yourself on the other side from this party perspective. It would not make sense and it is hard too see how a difficult situation could be solved this way.
Do you agree with that?
First of all I also believe that WB questions are legit of course. I am also pragmatic about it. With current ANOs in the system getting compensation by the protocol, with the grant system in place and with parties working together, we get in all kinds of similar situations.

I could opt to not communicate on behalf of BIF or Sphereon, but then let me ask this question in return. Do you want me to leverage my network on behalf of the protocol at a remuneration way below interim management?

What I am trying to say is that it goes both ways. Filling in the blanks you probably expect me to "market" the protocol wherever and with whomever I am in the room even to Sphereon/BIF relations, but on the other hand I would not be allowed to talk on behalf of BIF/Sphereon here? As said I will probably limit that amount of communications and would always make clear if something would be on their behalf, but it would be a bit autistic for lack of a better word to describe it, if I would always have to talk on behalf of the protocol, whilst reality is that I do have these affiliations. I rather have people knowing about it tbh.


Also what I retain from your last answers is that you will consider yourself accountable for specifying deliverables and framing contracts which is logical for a Director and is a good safeguard.
Yes obviously. If we want to make this a success it means we need to make decisions that parties involved agree with and to which they can be accountable. As a result every agreement made also means I am accountable. Maybe not directly for its success, but I will certainly do everything in my power to ensure agreements are made with the protocol in mind first and that when those agreements aren't upheld or might go sideways to either limit the damage or get it back on track.
 
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