Technical Update: Progress On RC1

Technical Updates | August 6, 2015
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We are a little closer to RC2 this week. Our amazing community testers found a difficult problem last week. The problem occurred when a large amounts of entries were added.The load tests would cause all the peers connected to the server, to be simultaneously disconnected. The development team found two bugs in the system that were working together in the peer to peer network layer. Having identified these issues, we can resolve both of them and move forward. We greatly appreciate the hard work of everyone in the community who have been contributing to this project.

There is a lot of excitement building around Factom and we have received  a ton of great questions about our team and Factom. We would like to Thank ZapChain for helping facilitate this. Here are  some of our favorite queries from last week.

What is your “25 words or less elevator speech” about Factom? Why should a Bitcoin miner and enthusiast such as myself be interested? I’m am not an entrepreneur. If don’t have a massive amount of data to store. If just wanted to understand what Factom is.

Factom lets you write arbitrary Data into its ledger, which is anchored to Bitcoin. Now you can prove records, and trade assets against Bitcoin’s Ledger. (25 words)

Why should a Bitcoin miner and enthusiast such as myself be interested?

Because Factom’s anchors and “commit before you reveal” architecture enables Bitcoin’s very rigid ledger to include arbitrary records as well. Protocols like Counterparty, Omni, and Colored Coins can move to Factom Chains and not compete with Bitcoin Transactions.

Other protocols can be developed on ledgers that share Bitcoin’s Proof of Work without the potential of destabilizing Bitcoin since Factom places a Merkle Root into the Bitcoin blockchain, not hashes of specific transactions. So an attack on a Factom Entry will merely delay its inclusion, not cause a reversal of a transaction.

Factom also provides immutable ledgers protected directly by Bitcoin that can be used to solve problems that are not coins. Like securing the records and reports by subcontractors. Such techniques in management could have prevented the Deep Horizon oil spill. When parties are accountable, then they are manageable.

Moving Bitcoin beyond its coin to allow its Proof of Work to secure nearly limitless records will vastly advance Bitcoin in the economy.

“Factom” just sounds cool to say! Factom, Factom, Factom….

Yep it is.

Can you explain what Factom does above and beyond what all the other put-hash-in-op_return-output products do? There are many of these out there, and they have worked for a long time, what is your added value apart from the fact that you seem to have a way to allow multiple data to be time stamped with one hash – which only seems to solve some sort of capacity problem which at present is not there at least.

Thank you for the question. Yes, Factom solves a capacity problem, blockchain bloat, and cuts the cost. We have seen interest from several large corporations and governments that are interested in securing large amounts of information in a ledger that can’t be backdated.

Many people on a reddit discussion [1] compared permissioned ledger as a private intranet vs public internet and claim that read-only database can achieve the same as blockchains more efficiently, using 1990 cryptography and digital signatures. Why do you think they make such claiming?

When several people try and solve the same problem, multiple solutions are developed. Some of these solutions are better suited to different content and core issues. The market will decide what works best.

What does “scalable data layer” actually means in simple words?

Factom combines data from many sources, and secures them every 10 minutes in the Bitcoin blockchain with a single hash. Rather than be limited by Bitcoin’s own capacity, users of Factom can place whatever they want, and however much they want into Factom, which creates a cryptographic proof of their data against Bitcoin. Single hashes secure effectively unlimited data.

How do you manage time for yourself, as I think your life is too much busy?

Everyone is different. What has worked for me is not working on the weekend. This allows me to recharge and be more effective throughout my week. Hope that helps.

Is the Factom data layer immutable once entries are part of a directory block? If so, how would it be possible remove entries as in the snippet below? Confused about that aspect.

Great question, Factom does not act as storage for user content. We use a digital fingerprint of data, not the data itself in the higher level data structures. We take a hash of user data and store it in the blockchain. Factom allows a user to prove that content existed at a definite time and in a particular way. That said, censorship is very hard and perhaps nearly impossible. No data in the Directory Blocks, nor the Entry Blocks will be plain text. The Entries themselves can contain any information, but Entries containing offensive material can be identified and removed from any system using Factom. Even though Factom secures information, that does not mean users are forced to hold the offensive material.

As always, thank you for being an awesome and supportive community.

The Factom Foundation Team

POSTED: August 6, 2015 BY Tanner Evans IN Technical Updates