Consensus Networks

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  • Total voters
    26
  • Poll closed .

ConsensusNetworks

Consensus Networks
Hi Factom Community, we’re excited to be applying for this ANO round! We’ve tried our best to summarize our application below. We posted an update here if you’d like a quick summary of what we’ve been up to and please check us out at consensusnetworks.com. Follow us on Twitter @consensusnet and feel free to join our discord (though we are mostly active on other people’s channels :)). We've spent time since the last ANO round continuing to develop our technology and systematize our operations. We're big believers in the decentralized future and firmly believe that Factom will be a big player for a long time. We look forward to taking your questions!

Team:

Nathan Miller - CEO
https://www.linkedin.com/in/nathanmiller11/
Discord: @nate#2564
Twitter: @natemiller11
Nate served for over 7 years in the US Navy as a nuclear engineer aboard a ballistic missile submarine. In 2018, he was picked to lead Consensus Networks as its CEO and helped to secure initial seed funding as well as a phase I SBIR. He holds a BS in Systems Engineering from the United States Naval Academy and an MS in Entrepreneurship from the University of Notre Dame. Nate is a member of the NIST working group on blockchain for industrial applications and is an adjunct professor at Notre Dame where he teaches an introductory blockchain course.

Shane Fimbel – Founder, VP Strategy and Technology
https://www.linkedin.com/in/shanefimbel/
Discord: @smfimbel#2549
Shane has significant expertise in developing and operating high-growth companies. Previously, Shane led the growth of data center, cloud infrastructure, and fiber optic networks in the Midwest closing debt, equity, and tax incentive transactions of over $35M and built operations achieving consistent annual revenue growth of 40-50%. Shane holds a Ph.D. in Neuroscience from the University of Notre Dame, where he was a Reilly Fellow and a B.A. from Wabash College.

Connor Smith – Operations, HealthLink Business Development
https://www.linkedin.com/in/connor-r-smith/
Discord: @csmith75#6466
Twitter: @C_Smitty75
Connor double majored in computational mathematics and chemistry with a research focus in algorithm and hardware development at Wabash College and is currently finishing his Masters of Science at Notre Dame. Connor is leading business development of our HealthLink project as well as devoting time to building out our Twitter to Factom program.

Chris Beaufils – Current Intern, Future Blockchain Developer
https://www.linkedin.com/in/christopherbeaufils
Discord: @cbeauf#6523
Chris has a BS from Notre Dame in Computer Science and Engineering. He has experience in C, C++, Python, JS, and HTML. Chris is passionate about teaching and helps instruct at the South Bend Code School, a coding bootcamp for high school students. He's built a Bitcoin market sentiment analyzer using Twitter and is working on an online platform to link up amateur athletes for games and scrimmages based on skill level and geographic area. Chris is completing his Masters of Science in Engineering, Science, and Technology Entrepreneurship at the University of Notre Dame.

Nick Hahaj – Hardware and Infrastructure Lead
https://www.linkedin.com/in/nick-hahaj-72a79aa
Nick is an experienced Information Technology professional with over 15 years in the industry. He has held numerous technical and managerial positions in a wide range of industries. He has designed, implemented and supported industry standard technologies including those from Cisco, VMWare, Microsoft and EMC as well as implementing innovative solutions using commodity hardware. Nick has expertise in designing complex IT solutions, Private and Public Cloud environments, Project Management and Capacity/Business Continuity Planning.

Thomas Veale – Blockchain Lead HealthLink
https://www.linkedin.com/in/thomas-veale-245278a5/
Discord: @tommling#8749
Thomas has extensive experience building blockchain applications and platforms on everything from Hyperledger Fabric to Ethereum. As the Lead Engineer for MakeCents, Thomas built a blockchain enabled payments platform used in stores across the east coast of the US. Thomas holds multiple IT certifications and a BS in Computer Science from Virginia Commonwealth University. Thomas is lead on the HealthLink project, building a HIPAA compliant, blockchain powered health data sharing platform.

Infrastructure:

We’ll be running our infrastructure out of two independent (tier 3+) data centers in Indianapolis and South Bend, IN. We’ll be utilizing many of the same tools we use for the testnet (TFA bot, Grafana, Prometheus), as well as our own hardware monitoring and alerting.

Hardware: Each data center will have two of everything: switch, Cisco security appliance, power distribution, internet. Failure of hardware will automatically roll over to the backup. Disaster Recovery in place for complete hardware failure.

Indianapolis: Dell PowerEdge, 3.0 Ghz 4 Cores, 400Gb SSD, 32GB RAM

South Bend: Dell PowerEdge, designed to be scalable for long-term usage. Expandable RAM and storage. 2.3Ghz (4 cores, scalable), Tiered SAN SSD storage (RAID 5) >500GB, 32 GB RAM (scalable).

Internet: We’re starting with 100mb internet, our hardware is designed for 1GB so, as network usage increases, we’ll be able to scale up (Datacenter rated to well over 1GB).

Security: We’ll utilize Cisco security appliances, the Yubikey HSM (supports ED25519), and general best practices for cybersecurity. Access to the servers will occur over a VPC with 2FA/secure keypairs. Backup access will utilize a secured Bastion server.

Support: 24x7. On-call personnel will have necessary hardware needed for login and there will be a backup person with login ability as well.


Future Plans/Contributions:
1. We're fully committing to working with TFA to build out our project with Twitter. From there we plan on continuing to dive into the issue of "deep-fakes" and are always looking for partners and collaborators to work on other great projects as they come up!
2. Our primary goal is providing the best infrastructure we can, as well as sharing best practices as we find them. In our quarterly ANO updates, we'll be sure to include things we're doing with our infrastructure to help boost reliability and security for your feedback as well as part of our commitment to collaboration.
3. We are actively working with a partner to build more tools for interaction with the Factom blockchain - updates will follow as we seek to secure funding (not intending to use the Factom grant pool currently).
 

Colin Campbell

Federate This
Marketing Working Group
Hey Guys - thanks for your application!

"We're also committed to putting together articles on the Factom use cases and helping to publish in the Factom email updates (we've got one such article so far and will continue to write more)."

Can you share this article?

"We're also working on a project to bring easy use drag and drop developer tools to help build Factom apps - more on this to follow in the coming weeks."

Given the election timeline - it'd help to share whatever details you can at this stage.

Kind Regards!
 

ConsensusNetworks

Consensus Networks
Sure Colin,

Here's the article (sorry, I thought I linked it): https://blog.consensusnetworks.com/healthcare-blog-post

In terms of our desired developer tools project, we're close partners with SIMBA Chain (they're right down the hall from us). They've built tools for Stellar, Ethereum, and Quorum to make it easier for developers to deploy dApps on the blockchain. We've agreed to support them in building this for Factom as well. There are several things in play right now that may allow us to fund this project externally but we're committed to funding the project regardless of those outcomes. The timeline is unclear, but we believe we'll be able to start the project within 3 months.

Hope that helps!
 

David Chapman

Factomize
Thank you for applying to be an ANO! I'll likely have some specific questions later, these are simply questions I am asking all applicants.

1. Will you commit to, if elected, having, at the very least, the executives who will play a role in this ecosystem:
A. Signup for this forum with their username being First Name Last Name
B. Have a personal picture as their avatar.

It's not a requirement that this happen and some won't care but I personally will score those who won't commit to this a little lower and I want to be transparent about that.

2. Will you commit to having a logo created and/or submitted to this area within 30 days of your election (I would provide directions).

3. Will you commit to keeping this area updated for your team (it's easy).

4. Will you commit to providing at least a quarterly update on the progress your team is making in this area.

5. If you haven't already posted them within this thread, please provide the LinkedIn of anyone you mention as part of your team.

Thank you!
 

Nic R

DBGrow
Hi ConsensusNetworks,

Thank you for your application and detail in describing your testnet experience and prior/present projects.

I have a few questions:

We're committing for at least the next two years regardless of price.
Could you please describe what your involvement is planned to be beyond two years? I perceive this quote from your application response to mean that your entity is financially stable regardless of price for at least two years, but if price were to be depressed in two years time, what sort of involvement could the community/Protocol expect from Consensus? Would Consensus cease to be an ANO potentially, and if so, would the Consensus team continue to make meaningful contributions, in some way or another, to the Protocol?

I'd like more detail on the Twitter-Factomization project:

- What kind of EC usage would we potentially be looking at if this were to become developed as visualized? (ballpark is fine)
- How will you measure progress here? What is the timeline of development like? I know you mentioned operating on a project-by-project basis once/if the Twitter project comes to fruition. Can you give me more detail as to what we can reasonably expect from Consensus once the Twitter project is fully developed? If the Twitter project is unsuccessful, how will your team pivot?

Finally, your website (where the article you wrote is posted) mentions Factom, IOTEX, Livepeer, and Cosmos under the "Networks" tab at the top of the webpage; what sort of time allocation and labor bandwidth can you reasonably commit to the Factom Protocol amidst these other projects/networks that you work with or are involved in?
 

Nate Miller

Consensus Networks
Nic, great questions and I'll do my best to be as specific as possible.

First, our commitment to two years is more to show that we're going to stick with this protocol no matter what. If it goes to one penny tomorrow, we'll stay onboard. We don't think that will be the case, which again is why we're committing to two years: to set a timeframe for our push to do our best to help advance the protocol! At the end of two years, we don't want to turn our servers off and have wasted our time. So, the two years is more for a motivator for us - we've got two years to help however we can so that at the end of those two years, there's no way anyone would stop participating as an ANO. Now, in terms of the minimum price we're willing to operate at in the long term past two years, it would be around $1.5 to break even (which is maybe what you're getting at?) and we'd still continue to participate fully as an ANO.

For the Twitter/FCT project - I have no idea what EC usage will be. With the growth of deep-fakes and Twitter usage from public figures, we believe this could help change the way news is verified. This morning Donald Trump tweeted once a minute for an hour. With multiple entities verifying the tweet and writing it to Factom, that could have been over 200 writes in an hour. And that's just one person. We'll get a timeline for development published here in the next few days to inform the community of where we're at (and maybe a sneak peak...). If you really want to dive into our progress - go ahead and follow @factombot, where we've been doing some of the testing from... most of the tweets just say test though ;). In terms of follow on projects, we're capable of handling one high involvement community project at a time so we're not exactly sure what's next but we'd like to transition to another similar type project helping to tackle deep fakes and data assurity. We're also (and have been) looking at SBIRs, especially in the DoD, that could utilize Factom. If projects don't work out, we're lean, flexible, and pivot easily. There are many use cases for Factom, so it would be no problem to find another project to dive into.

The other protocols we support won't affect our time commitment to Factom. Proof of Stake is right now very much focused on passive investment and many of the validators are capital funds (vice pure infrastructure/community dev), so needless to say their priorities are different. That's not to say those guys are screwed up, it's just a different way of doing things and doesn't require very much community involvement. Community calls are maybe once a month and there are usually less than 5 validators on the call (I think I usually see at least over 25 individuals on each of our weekly calls). The Factom community is significantly different from the PoS communities (in a good way). None of the other protocols have turned their networks over to the community like Factom has. We mentioned it in our application that Factom is the best community, and this is why! During the last several months, as we've gotten involved with PoS protocols, we realized how unbelievably organized and involved the Factom community is! Don't take this for granted, seriously. At the same time, we've learned a lot from those protocols as well. Sentry nodes and HSM/secure key management from Cosmos. Load balancers, high availability clusters for IoTeX. Not all of those things are directly applicable to Factom, but as we mentioned in #2 of the future plans/commitments in our intro above, we're planning on testing many of these things out and sharing them with the community in our quarterly updates.
 

Valentin Ganev

Factomatic
Thank you for your application, Consensus Networks! You have a highly skilled team and your experience with other blockchain projects is IMO beneficial.

I have a few questions:
  • how many of the people that are currently working with Consensus Networks are engaged with the company full-time?
  • could you outline any contributions you have made to some of the other projects that you are involved in (Cosmos, IOTEX, Livepeer), aside from running the validator nodes?
  • in which area of Factom (governance, legal, app development, infrastructure, core development, etc.) do you see Consensus Networks making the most meaningful contributions?
  • what is, in your opinion, the most underdeveloped aspect of the Factom ecosystem and how do you think it could be improved?
 

Nate Miller

Consensus Networks
Hi Valentin and thanks for the questions,

Currently, we have 4 full-time employees, Me, Shane, Connor, and Mitch (not listed above). We're planning on bringing on at least one, if not two, more full-time developers by years end to strengthen the software/application side of what we do.

We haven't made any completed/public contributions to the other protocols we support and that goes along with what I said in a previous post - most of the newly launched POS blockchains are somewhat centralized at the developer level and don't have the same community buy-in that Factom does. It makes it a little harder to find meaningful projects to do outside of a block explorer or "writing blog posts". We are also relatively new to those protocols so are still determining what meaningful things we can accomplish. We are working on a few things though, more so on the API/connectivity side of things as well as some hardware.

Infrastructure is our core competency as a company so this is where we can have a meaningful impact immediately and we'd like to be known for. At the same time (and to answer two questions in one) we see the usability of Factom to be the greatest weakness, which is why we've started to work on projects we believe will bring greater usability to Factom. We're hoping to continue to help create apps so that Factom makes sense to average people and they understand the power and benefits of immutability.
 
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csmith75

Consensus Networks
Hi ConsensusNetworks,

Thank you for your application and detail in describing your testnet experience and prior/present projects.

I have a few questions:

Could you please describe what your involvement is planned to be beyond two years? I perceive this quote from your application response to mean that your entity is financially stable regardless of price for at least two years, but if price were to be depressed in two years time, what sort of involvement could the community/Protocol expect from Consensus? Would Consensus cease to be an ANO potentially, and if so, would the Consensus team continue to make meaningful contributions, in some way or another, to the Protocol?

I'd like more detail on the Twitter-Factomization project:

- What kind of EC usage would we potentially be looking at if this were to become developed as visualized? (ballpark is fine)
- How will you measure progress here? What is the timeline of development like? I know you mentioned operating on a project-by-project basis once/if the Twitter project comes to fruition. Can you give me more detail as to what we can reasonably expect from Consensus once the Twitter project is fully developed? If the Twitter project is unsuccessful, how will your team pivot?

Finally, your website (where the article you wrote is posted) mentions Factom, IOTEX, Livepeer, and Cosmos under the "Networks" tab at the top of the webpage; what sort of time allocation and labor bandwidth can you reasonably commit to the Factom Protocol amidst these other projects/networks that you work with or are involved in?
Hey Nick, here is a tentative timeline for where we are at on the Factom-Twitter Project. We have the backend functionality working currently and are refining from the frontend as we speak, but here is where we are at and a projected timeline for our development plans in the future.
factomtweet_timeline__1_.png
 
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Anton Ilzheev

De Facto
Exchange Working Group
Core Committee
Website Committee
Hello, Consensus Networks, thank you for application.
I ask this questions all ANO candidates:

1. With what efficiency are you going to operate?

2. If your efficiency is lower, than 60%:
2.1. What have you already pledged to the Factom? It's a good practice, when ANO candidates pledge works in advance before being elected.
2.2. Do you have an experience in running business? What kind of businesses it were? Please tell us more about it, so we can understand your strengths and what expect from your ANO if it will be elected.
2.3. What a minimum number of hours per week are you going to work for Factom? Do you commit it?

3. Do you participate in any other cryptocurrency projects? If yes, please reveal details.
 

Nate Miller

Consensus Networks
Hi Anton,

We're planning on operating at 50% efficiency:
2.1 In terms of what we're pledging to Factom, we've already started a project with the TFA to record tweets to the Factom blockchain - we're pledging to continue to self fund that project as we build it out per our timeline posted above. For future work, we plan to always have at least one Factom specific application project in development at all times and the community will be able to track our work in our quarterly updates. If we need to pivot from the Twitter project for whatever reason, we'll continue to work on projects as they relate to "deep-fakes".

We're also committed to bringing the SIMBA Chain application development tools to the Factom blockchain - we believe we can start that project in about 3 months.

Other things we're doing for Factom:
1. We'll maintain maximum server uptime. We're building out high quality, robust infrastructure in tier 3+ data centers. Our infrastructure is scalable so we'll be able to grow with Factom, including our network speed. We've also put considerable thought into network architecture and security and will be testing out implementations of sentry nodes and hardware security modules (for key generation and storage), we plan on sharing the things we're trying with our infrastructure with the community as well.
2. We're putting out blog posts and Factom related education already and will continue to do so. Here's a piece we wrote on Healthcare and Factom. Here's the first of a three-part series we've just started on using Python and Factom.

2.2 We do have experience running a business and are doing so now. Our team has prior experience in startups, product development, and fundraising. Our founder Shane has been in startups for over a decade and previously worked to build and deploy datacenters around the US. I (Nate) served in the Navy for over 7 years where I managed high priority, nuclear submarine refits safely and on schedule. Connor has just completed his Masters of Science and has spent the last year also working as a Technical Market Analyst for an Accelerator/VC Fund. Chris and Tom are experienced computer scientists and Nick is an infrastructure guru. We've raised seed funding for our company already and additionally have some funding through a federal Small Business Innovative Research Grant through the Department of Health and Human Services and The National Institutes of Health. This funding allows us to confidently pledge to operate for at least two years, regardless of the price of Factom.

2.3 We commit to whatever time is necessary to fulfill our pledges to the community, which we think will average out to about 40 hours a week. We'll be on call 24/7 as well and always ready to take on whatever tasks need to be accomplished.

3. We do participate in other crypto projects, including IoTeX, Livepeer, Cosmos, and Terra. We also run a few Bitcoin lightning network nodes and I teach a course at Notre Dame on blockchain technology so I also dabble in Ethereum/smart contracts. Blockchain is our fulltime job so we've looked at many cryptocurrency projects. In terms of our work with IoTeX, Livepeer, Cosmos, and Terra; the communities there are not nearly as robust in the same sense Factom is, so our commitments are less in general (though we privately push for more democratized and organized approach similar to Factom). What we have gained from those blockchain projects is a wide understanding of the technology, especially at the infrastructure level, and a desire to test some of those things out as we deploy infrastructure for Factom. We hope to share things we've learned with the community and help to continue to build best practices!
 

CryptoLogic

Crypto Logic
Thank you for applying.

Will you be interested in joining any committees or doing other community work in addition to what you have pledged? If so what would be the best fit for you (guess this is a question more to the individuals of consensusnetworks than to the ANO itself).
 

Nate Miller

Consensus Networks
Absolutely,

Already we are editors for the Factom updates and newsletter and Connor has/is putting together practical education articles for using Factom so I think he'd be a good fit for the documentation committee. Shane and I are skilled as it pertains to legal matters (though we aren't lawyers) and we have navigated the complexities of state and federal governments both professionally outside of Consensus Networks as well as winning the federal SBIR for our HealthLink network, so the legal working group may be for us. Tom is a skilled blockchain engineer, so he may be able to assist in core development - he is finishing the buildout of a private Factom network for some of the work we're doing for our SBIR. Once we're complete on that, I think there may be some insight to contribute. We pledge to join at least one of those committees and we'll work with the community to find where the greatest need is.
 

Jay Cheroske

Bedrock Solutions
I've decided to ask all prospective ANOs the following:
  • What experiences do you have running dockerized applications?
  • What are some things you learned while running your testnet servers?
  • How have your ideas about mainnet infrastructure changed as you have become more familiar with running factomd?
Apologies if you have already answered one or more of these somewhere else.
 

ConsensusNetworks

Consensus Networks
Hi Jay,

1. We've got deep experience on our team with docker and k8 deployments on the cloud and bare metal (we're looking at doing k8s for the mainnet). We've also built dockerized apps as well - we built Twitter project for Factom in Docker.

2. The Factom testnet is definitely an advantage Factom has over other blockchains. We've been able to make mistakes upgrading servers, generating identities, brainswaps, etc.. while not affecting the actual blockchain. During our time over the past almost year on the testnet, we've developed pretty extensive operating procedures and standards for operating on Factom, which we think will translate nicely to the mainnet.

3. Last year, especially during the last ANO round, there was discussion over sentry nodes, which we found to be interesting. I believe some ANOs are using a sentry node configuration for the mainnet, but I don't think it's been standardized. We've used sentry nodes for Cosmos, which are necessary for that protocol, so with that experience, we'd be interested in examining their use of Factom further and determining how effective they could be. We've also begun utilizing hardware key storage and generation devices (HSMs). We'd like to do this for our nodes on Factom and share our work with the community as well. We believe that separate, dedicated, and cryptographically secure key management devices are essential for securing nodes and we'd like to help build a framework and best practices for using them.
 

Mike Buckingham

Cube3
Website Committee
Governance Working Group
Hi, You state that your primary goal is providing the best infrastructure you can, as well as sharing best practices as you find them, which is great. However you also have some development capability and are planning on bringing on at least one, if not two, more full-time developers. Can you please say what would trigger that recruitment and what your stance would be about applying for grants to fund development?
 

ConsensusNetworks

Consensus Networks
Hi Mike,

I'll do my best to be specific - we're expanding and bringing on developers for projects as they emerge. Our approach is generally to keep experimental projects lightweight, put our own resources towards it, test it, start getting external feedback, customer validation, etc. Once we're ready to move to a full-scale buildout, we'll put additional people on the project. As that applies to grant funds, that would be a case-by-case basis. For smaller scale work (best practices, and v0.1 types) we'll always be able to self-fund. If we feel that the work is significant for the community and we need additional funding/community developers, we'd present what we've done and let the community decide whether it merits funding. We've also pledged to continue self-funding our Twitter development project and for this and other projects we do - if we feel that there is commercialization upside for us, we wouldn't ask for community funding.
 
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