ANO Application

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twellener

BlockVenture
This is the initial application for BlockVenture and they will use this area for updating the Standing Parties regarding their contributions to the Factom ecosystem. The following are their answers to the application questions:

Provide an overview of your entity or company.
BlockVenture Coalition - www.blockventure.com

The BlockVenture Coalition is a research driven alliance of 41 universities and 44 funds.
Our main goal is to be the bridge between universities (students, professors, and researchers) and the blockchain industry.

Bios for your workers who will be working on Factom
Name: Tyler Wellener
Info: Tyler Wellener
Grad from Carnegie Mellon University, Economics & Statistics
ex-Deloitte
ex-Struck Capital Crypto ($75m crypto fund)

Name: Philip Forte
Info: Philip Forte
Grad from Carnegie Mellon University, Business + Statistics
ex-PNC Institutional Asset Management
ex-CMU Blockchain group President & Founder

Name: Cole Petersen
Info: Cole Petersen
Currently attending UCI
Author at NewsBTC (#2 Crypto news site), CryptoSlate, EthereumWorldNews
Incoming President of Blockchain @ UCI

Is your company currently incorporated?
Yes

If you are incorporated, what is your legal structure. e.g. Inc, LLC, etc?
LLC

If you are not incorporated, when do you plan to do so and what legal structure will you use?
N/A

Are any shareholders with a 10% or higher stake in any way involved with an existing Authority Node Operator. If so, please state who and describe the relationship.
N/A

Explain what proactive approach you will take to manage the financial aspects of your business
Quarterly accounting & taxes (Barz Gowie Amon and Fulz, LLC)
Payroll (ADP)
Sensitivity models

What is your motivation for becoming an ANO?
Met David from Factomize and was introduced to the project. Meeting a lot of entrepreneurs that we can push to integrate Factom or get involved with the grant pool. Looking to drive value to the Factom protocol!

What vision do you have of the future of Factom?
We think Factom has an interesting opportunity to position itself as a leader in the blockchain space. We plan to do our part by securing value-add integrations and creating visibility with university initiatives.

What is your commitment to the Factom protocol; what have you brought to the table already?
Running a mainnet server. Have lined up 4 introductions to entrepreneurs (CEOs at different companies) who want to see how they can get started and integrate Factom.

Last year we met 385 companies through our dealflow pipelines. So far in 2020, we have been meeting 4-5 new startups per day. Lots of growth potential on the business side.

What is your future commitment to the Factom protocol; what will you bring in the future?
University / researcher initiatives
Go-to market with projects / entrepreneurs
Exchange listing assistance. Have quotes from several exchanges already. We’re also advisors to IDEX.

Are you running servers on Testnet?
No

If you are running servers on Testnet, approximately when did this start?
2020-03-08

How many servers do you plan to run on Testnet?
0

For mainnet server 1, what country will the server be located in, what city, and what data center or VPS provider/region will you utilize?
US - NYC, NY
Digital Ocean

For mainnet server 2, what country will the server be located in, what city, and what data center or VPS provider/region will you utilize?
N/A

Are your mainnet servers currently online?
Yes

Confirm that, if elected ANO, your servers will adhere to the minimum specifications (level 1) described in Doc 202.
Agree

Do you intend to surpass the minimum specifications (level 1) listed in Doc 202? If yes, describe the specifications of your servers in detail.
4 cores
8 GB memory
SSD
160GB disk
Who on your team are able to admin the servers?
Tyler & Philip

How many combined years of experience do you have of running production servers?
4

Describe production servers you have managed.
SmartFox for 1.5 years
Node infra for IDEX (exchange), Pocket Network (API Layer), Swarm Fund (STO platform)

Have you run any servers for any other protocol, if so, which?
Node infra for IDEX (exchange), Pocket Network (API Layer), Swarm Fund (STO platform)

Have you run follower nodes outside of the Authority Set on testnet?
No

How will the team administer the Authority Nodes?
VPS

How would you handle an unscheduled restart of an Authority Node?
Follow best practices from the most technical members of the ANO

How are you going to make sure your Authority Nodes operate securely?
SSH, 2FA, offline key management

How are you going to make sure you respond quickly to unscheduled downtime?
Team members are in 2 different time zones, giving us different working hours.
Everyone is in the discord and community with notifications on

Could you describe how you would see your ideal Authority Node infrastructure?
We run off a reliable (99.9% uptime) VPS with a static IP, checking in to make sure everything’s running smoothly

What is the planned availability of the maintenance team?
We’re doing this full time, will be able to provide help as needed

What efficiency will you operate at?
65%
 

Keith Pincombe

Marketing Working Group
Governance Working Group
Welcome to the Factom community! Your experience and dealflow pipelines sound really interesting. I'm not sure how your discussions with startups work but if there is an opportunity to provide them with literature about Factom and possibly get them to consider using our blockchain as part of their projects then I would be happy to produce the literature for you.

Also thanks David for finding such an interesting new ANO candidate :)
 

Alex

Factoshi
Welcome and thanks for your application! I have a few questions.
  1. Will you have someone on call to respond to possible network instability 24/7/365?
  2. Everyone is currently running two servers, though I note you only have plans for one. Please would you clarify if that is your intention?
  3. How long are you willing to commit to a 65% efficiency for?
 

CryptoLogic

Crypto Logic
Just want to stop by and say welcome. Glad to see new applicant!

can you please give example of how you will present Factom to entrepreneurs and on what level they would implement Factom? Are you just going to give broad overwiew or do technical presentation explaining how it can be used in their existing workflows after researching their systems and setup? thank you.
 

twellener

BlockVenture
Welcome to the Factom community! Your experience and dealflow pipelines sound really interesting. I'm not sure how your discussions with startups work but if there is an opportunity to provide them with literature about Factom and possibly get them to consider using our blockchain as part of their projects then I would be happy to produce the literature for you.

Also thanks David for finding such an interesting new ANO candidate :)
Hey Keith! Thanks for the kind words. As we familiarize ourselves with all of the ANOs this was going to be one of our first questions. What's the process / protocol - and who's a good point man to direct startups to? We could start getting these introductions out as soon as today, just don't know where to start yet.
 

twellener

BlockVenture
Welcome and thanks for your application! I have a few questions.
  1. Will you have someone on call to respond to possible network instability 24/7/365?
  2. Everyone is currently running two servers, though I note you only have plans for one. Please would you clarify if that is your intention?
  3. How long are you willing to commit to a 65% efficiency for?
1. Yes, we’ll definitely have someone available & on call 24/7. Our working hours overlap such that someone is online at almost all times (late night PT and early morning ET).
2. Definitely can do this. Wanted to get 1 up and running on mainnet before running a 2nd.
3. 65% seemed like a good number to start with. We’ll keep it there indefinitely and will reevaluate through each period based on all factors: grants, other ANOs, contribution reports, etc. Want to earn our spot
 

philip_blockventure

BlockVenture
Just want to stop by and say welcome. Glad to see new applicant!

can you please give example of how you will present Factom to entrepreneurs and on what level they would implement Factom? Are you just going to give broad overwiew or do technical presentation explaining how it can be used in their existing workflows after researching their systems and setup? thank you.
Thanks for the kind welcome! We’ve been paying close attention to the community needs over the last few weeks and it seems like general sentiment is to get integrations, get businesses building on Factom, and bring value to the chain. One of our best strengths is our deal flow pipelines and the companies we’re coming across.

We’re technical but we’re not going to be in the weeds with a CTO by any means. We’re collaborative and hope to work with other ANOs who may be better at presenting how Factom can be integrated into their existing workflows.
 

Michael Lam

Core Developer
Thank you for your interest in Factom, and welcome to the community! I have a lot of questions, but lets just start with a couple. :)
1) Your linkedin profiles lack any specifics about your experiences at the companies you mention. I'd be interested in reading details and specifics on what your job functions were and what your accomplishments were over those times. Many of the experiences seem to be internships rather than full time jobs, which is fine, but tend to be short time scales, where its difficult to accomplish long term goals and objectives.
2) Your webpage lists 41 university 'partners', yet you don't actually list which universities or clarify what this means. Are you working with professors and grad students at these universities? Are you interacting with student run groups? Or with on campus incubators? Again, I'd like more details and specifics.
 

philip_blockventure

BlockVenture
Hey Michael, thanks for the welcome!

1) Regarding Linkedin, I just updated my page to make it more accurate. I was in PNC asset management full-time for ~3 months before things started lining up on the BlockVenture Coalition side, so I made the switch. Have been running this for ~2 years through an extended bear market, and so the best case studies for tenacity will be through BVC's accomplishments (some listed later in this post).

2) We work with universities on 2 levels:

1. Student groups
2. Professors and Phds

With student groups we've done several cool initiatives - tying as many groups as we can on a semester by semester basis.

Last fall we announced a partnership with Satoshi's Treasure, a cryptographic treasure hunt, where we did 15 events across college campuses including UPenn, UMich, UCI, Carnegie Mellon, Tufts, NYU and more. We worked alongside other players like Binance, CoinList and Tezos. You can check out more info here: https://satoshistreasure.xyz/?. Our old logo is featured at the bottom of the page. Coindesk also covered this here: https://www.coindesk.com/satoshis-treasure-bitcoin-hunt-is-coming-to-college-campuses-this-fall

This spring we announced a research partnership with Messari. You can read more about this here: https://messari.io/article/announcing-the-messari-student-research-competition. Students get free access to their software and can win up to $1k in BTC with judges like Ryan Selkis, Pomp, Dani Grant, and Meltem Demirors.

With professors and Phds, we've lined up entrepreneurs to speak in front of their classes. In 2019, we spoke with 150 different researchers. We also have helped several researchers grow their brand by getting them in front of investors. As a case study, Mustafa al-Bassam from UCL wrote a paper on a data availability layer. We helped commercialize his paper by getting him in front of applicable parties & he'll be pursuing this startup full-time post grad.

Hope this context helps!
 

Mike Buckingham

Cube3
Website Committee
Governance Working Group
Hi Tyler, Philip and Cole,

Thank you for your application...and welcome.

You seem very well positioned to introduce Factom to the next generation of developers and potential users through your work with Universities. This is absolutely essential for the future and your practical pro-active approach has a lot of merit. In parallel your involvement with entrepreneurs and funds looks set to create really good medium term opportunities for adoption.

I particularly appreciate you reaching out and engaging with individual members of the community in order to explain your approach and very importantly listen to our experiences.

I have a few basic questions to clarify a few things:

To provide new applicants with practical experience of running a node we provide the Testnet which is also our development platform for new releases and things like transaction speed tests. I encourage you to run a testnet node and notice that you have started to run a server from 3 March but show that you are not currently actually running a Testnet node, is that correct? Can I also clarify that you do not intend to run a Testnet node in the future should you become an ANO?

I very much value the things that you can bring to this community and would be interested to know how you would propose to measure and present your progress on both University/student involvement and prospective adopter engagement.
 

twellener

BlockVenture
Hey Mike - thanks for the kind words! Will try to answer your questions below:

1) We've modified our approach and do plan to run 2 mainnet servers and 2 testnet servers, in line with other ANOs. We're in the process of getting these all set up. Hopefully should have some positive news on these soon. Shoutout to several of the ANOs who've been very supportive and helpful during this setup process (Alex at Factoshi, Nate at Consensus Networks, and Anton at DeFacto).

2) We plan on submitting a quarterly contribution report around our work for the Factom ecosystem. This should highlight updates from our student/researcher/professor network, info re: prospective startups, and other miscellaneous things we're working on - like exchange listings. If there's any other ways we can help highlight our value to the network, like posting in the Discord, we'll definitely do that as well. Just let us know!
 

Paul Bernier

LUCIAP
Core Committee
Core Developer
Hello BlockVenture and thank you for taking the time to apply.

65% efficiency means 800FCT/month ~ $1500/month at current price. You have certainly done your math and realized that after operational cost, accounting etc, your are left with not even minimal wage for a single person. My question is, can you help me understand what are your incentives to be an active ANO at this compensation level? Or phrased differently, why are you going to spend hundreds of hours working for an ecosystem that barely rewards you financially?

Looking forward for your answers, thank you!
 
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twellener

BlockVenture
Hey Paul - good question. We’re currently running these nodes out of our own pocket & want to show to ANOs that we’re a value-add partner. We believe we can very clearly show this, especially at a 65% efficiency level.

Our vision is that value around token networks/companies will be realized in the long run. A 65% efficiency will allow us to build exposure to the network - the near term price isn't a big factor in this decision. If ANOs believe our level of sweat equity justifies a different efficiency, that’s a conversation we can entertain down the road.
 
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