The spring 2018 quarter has been exciting for Factom with the achievement of several key milestones.
In May, a majority of the Authority Nodes moved from Factom’s servers to the first ten independent Authority Node Organizations (ANO) making the Factom Protocol officially fully distributed. A huge and monumental milestone for everyone involved. While the Factom Protocol went live in 2015 it had been running on a bank of AWS partitions owned by Factom Inc.
We welcomed the first ten ANOs: Blockchain Innovation Foundation, Factomize LLC, Go Immutable, The Factoid Authority, DBGrow Inc, Matter of Fact, LLC, LUCIAP, Block Party, Federate This and Factoshi to the network. The majority of the Authority Servers on which the Factom Protocol depends are now run by these first ten ANOs in locations all across the globe.
The Authority Node Organizations (ANO) have a vested interest in the success of the Factom Protocol and are stepping up to promote the Factom Protocol on many fronts. Furthermore, ANOs have initiated development efforts to create new solutions on the Factom Protocol to build needed tools and utilities. The ANOs have organized different committees to actively promote the use and adoption of the Factom Protocol. As new ANOs will be added over the course of the next two quarters, this will bring with it more advocates and resources supporting the success of the Factom Protocol. We are thrilled to have a worldwide network of ANOs promoting the Factom Protocol.
A community driven deployment process has been developed and vetting by the community testnet is now a critical step when releasing new versions of factomd. This development has returned to a stable two week update cycle. A major bug, which was causing some stalls in the network, was fixed and successfully deployed by the community. We have accomplished one of the Success Criteria in the grant, which was the reduction of missing messages.
The second key milestone is the inauguration of the Factom Governance Model under which the Factom Community operates. The Factom Governance Model is a carefully crafted balance between the needs of the Protocol, the community supporting the Protocol, and business users depending on the Protocol to support their business processes.
The Factom Governance Model is key to the long term success of the Factom Protocol, especially because the model gives a gives a clear voice to business users, and assurance that their needs will be met. The Protocol will become increasingly more successful each time it is adopted to solve practical business problems.
The Factom Governance Model also provides incentives to reinvest a portion of the wealth created by the Factom Protocol into improving and promoting. A grant pool created by the Protocol has already awarded the first set of Protocol improvement and promotion grants. An immediate result will be a sharp uptick in the Protocol promotion activities such as hackathons and participation in industry events. Upcoming Protocol improvements funded by grants include items like anchoring the Factom Protocol into Ethereum, building a Factoid price oracle, a Java class library and fully implementing sharding within the Protocol.
There are four widely cited stumbling blocks to widespread adoption of Blockchain technology. The first three major complaints are Blockchain doesn’t scale, it can’t handle complex data and does not have a rational cost model. All of these concerns are specifically addressed within the Factom Protocol. Moreover, Factom has provided an answer to the fourth commonly cited Blockchain problem: Blockchain is too hard to implement.
Factom Inc., has created a simple SaaS solution, Factom Harmony, built on top of the Factom Protocol consisting of simple REST API calls. The Factom Harmony solution addresses the fourth impediment to adoption: blockchain is too hard to implement. A fair to average Java programmer can quickly wire blockchain functionality into existing enterprise systems. For example, when a bank wishes to record the basis of their credit decision, all it takes is a single API call and it’s done. While the implementation sounds easy enough, the sales cycle with large enterprise customers (particularly with a new technology like blockchain) are long and unpredictable. We are encouraged by the continual negotiation and Proofs of Concept for several large clients.
Like any startup, we are still celebrating milestones such as our first official general SaaS customer in June. We are looking forward to this customer’s 2018 launch as they work through the last touches of their product.
Factom was recently awarded a fourth grant by DHS to commercialize the technology developed through the funding from the first three grants. We are using this grant contract as a springboard into the rapidly growing IoT market by leveraging the sensor work we’ve done for DHS, particularly with respect to Factom’s powerful built-in identity management capabilities across the IoT market.
We continue our work with The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation to build medical wallets focused on the South African populase. The work coming out of this project is primarily to integrate Blockchain technology into medical records and solve long standing medical record issues. We are actively looking for partners to help us take this technology to market.
Continuing on the international front, a Chinese court accepted data written to the Factom blockchain as evidence in support of a legal case. The case was won, in part, based on immutable evidence recorded into the Factom blockchain by one of our Chinese partners who provides an electronic notary service.
Our confidence in Factom’s prospect growth have led to significant growth of the Factom team with more to come. We are expanding our technical team, particularly in the Austin area, to give us the technical muscle to meet the challenges brought by anticipated growth. We’ve added a product manager with a long history of success to build our product roadmap, a senior project manager with over 20 years of experience, and a developer who won third place in our Factom Hackathon! He single handedly built a hardware and software interface to put data from a car’s diagnostic port onto the Factom Protocol, so we knew we had to have him.
Speaking of hackathons, Factom will be sponsoring hackathons quarterly with the next hackathon towards the end of September in the Chicago area. We plan to focus Factom hackathons around specific application areas and we are exploring our next theme. Stay tuned for details. You can read a recap of Blockchain vs Paper Hackathon on our blog.
From the very beginning, the Factom Protocol was designed to scale, handle complex data, have a predictable cost model and be easy to implement. Focusing on these four major differentiating factors has allowed for the Factom Protocol to thrive. We are currently the only Blockchain solution in the marketplace that solves all four of the traditional Blockchain stumbling blocks.
As more and more companies explore Blockchain technology, we are confident that Factom is showing them a path for practical Blockchain solutions that does not make large enterprises compromise on one aspect or another. Factom does not force projects to a private blockchain, leaving little more than a distributed database. We do not force projects to take a majority of their transactions off ledger, thus throwing away the advantages of a shared ledger. And Factom was built, from the ground up, to solve complex business problems and is the only Blockchain technology that can make that claim with a straight face.
Factom Inc., is proud to be in the great company of other Authority Node Operators (ANO) and looks forward to what the rest of 2018 brings.