Today at CryptoNewsZ, we are joined by Paul Snow, Founder and CEO of Factom, President of Texas Bitcoin Conference, and Founder & Chief Architect of DTRules.
CryptoNewsZ: Welcome to CryptoNewsZ, Paul, our readers would love to know more about your tremendous journey?
I’ve been fascinated with the geek stuff since the 70s. I am near constantly thinking about code, automated systems, computation, programming languages, and just general engineering. So, in the 80s, I got to be part of the Digital Printing Revolution. And while the Dot Com explosion occurred, I was working on ground-penetrating radar, Java in hardware, and even building automation behind children’s software. That prepared me to create a novel Rules Engine that still runs Eligibility Determination for the State of Texas and Michigan. The tech has been rewritten and updated in the DTRules project. I have to admit to having tripped and fallen down the Bitcoin/cryptocurrency rabbit hole. That led me to work with others to establish the Texas Bitcoin Conference.
Currently, I spend the vast majority of my time and energy building Factom, a Data Layer for the Bitcoin and Ethereum blockchains. The Factom Protocol is an amazingly powerful platform, run by 28 parties worldwide to organize and secure data on the blockchain. As a demonstration of the power of the Factom Protocol, I have been involved in designing and architecting the largest project on the Factom Protocol, the PegNet.
CryptoNewsZ: Paul, you are currently working with the cryptocurrency world to build new solutions to solve real-world business problems; what attracted you towards the crypto domain?
Cryptocurrency is about self-determination and responsibility. It is about fairness and accountability. The whole idea behind Bitcoin and Bitcoin transactions inspired me to do two Passing Bitcoin Around the World events. I believe in the fairness and ethics of asset-based payment models.
CryptoNewsZ: Please tell us about the incredible success of Factom and the team’s contribution to it?
Factom has had the opportunity to build medical wallets for the Gates Foundation. This project is designed to ensure every doctor has the information they need to save lives but protects that same self-information to give the patient the ultimate control.
DHS provides Factom the opportunity in the SVIP program to demonstrate the power of the Blockchain to secure IoT devices. We are now eligible for a contract to provide blockchain secured sensors for border security.
On the cryptocurrency front, Factom has worked with the Factom Protocol Community to launch the PegNet, a network of stable assets covering Gold, Silver, a range of currencies like USD, Euros, Yen, Yuan, Canadian Dollar, British Pound, a range of cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin, Litecoin, Ethereum, etc., 29 assets in all. The PegNet allows conversion between all assets at market price, and the PEG is a mineable token used to pay miners to provide market prices (rather than validate transactions).
CryptoNewsZ: Could you please tell us about the Factom Blockchain? What makes Factom unique from its competitors?
Factom is a data layer to the Bitcoin and Ethereum blockchains, meaning we anchor into those chains to provide security for the blockchain, and will be adding other chains in the future. The utility of Factom is to record data.
Other blockchains provide features that implement or aid in the implementation of functions for particular use cases. We only provide data. That is because most applications have an implementation, but need the blockchain to ensure decisions and state changes are preserved forever, with perfect data integrity. And that is what we provide, data integrity without interpretation or interference.
To that end, Factom has a two token system. One tradable token, the Factoid, to provide incentives to those that run the protocol. The other is the Entry Credit, that acts like a subway token that lets applications use the data layer without having to handle cryptocurrency. And like a subway token, an Entry Credit has no other value. It is non-transferable, non-refundable. It can only be used to write data.
CryptoNewsZ: The Factom Protocol blockchain received a big boost recently, by being a part of the TFA Labs’ initiative to secure the US Energy Grid. What vulnerabilities does it aim to solve?
We are using the blockchain to secure the information collected by sensors used to provide billing information, drive control systems, monitor for safety, and more. If these sensors are compromised, the electric system can be brought down, and in some cases severely damaged. The Blockchain is used to identify bad information that might be injected into the system.
CryptoNewsZ: Please discuss the attributes behind the outstanding dominance of the Factom protocol since its inception?
Factom is the only pure data protocol running as a distributed and autonomous protocol. This means applications and solutions depending on data integrity have a great reason to use Factom over other options.
CryptoNewsZ: Factom announced its partnership with Skaffolder, a move that will revolutionize web application development; how did this partnership materialize?
We started a conversation with Skaffolder about six months ago when we saw a demo of their tool. Skaffolder, very nicely, helps to close the gap between the capabilities Factom brings to the table and real-world problems. With Skaffolder a team can define a data model and then simply check the data entities that require a tamperproof blockchain audit chain. Skaffolder will then build a code that writes the hash of the entity out to Factom each time the entity is changed. Using Skaffolder and Factom, a team can deploy an application with a full blockchain-backed audit, without ever writing a line of blockchain code. We are very excited by how easy Skaffolder makes it build and deploy a blockchain-powered application.
CryptoNewsZ: Please elaborate more on your blockchain platform Factom Harmony and its integrated classifications?
Factom Harmony is a suite of tools that simplify the process of integrating blockchain with new or existing solutions. Harmony Connect is a SaaS offering that allows blockchain capabilities to be integrated through a simple set of REST API calls. Using Harmony, the full power of the Factom blockchain can be harnessed including defining and using complex digital identities.
Harmony Integration is an implementation of the W3C identity and credentialing standard on top of the Factom blockchain. Using Integrate, our clients can take advantage of W3C compatible digital identities and verifiable proofs. Integrating identity, credentials, and blockchain gives Factom clients powerful new capabilities by taking advantage of the distributed tamper-proof nature of the blockchain.
CryptoNewsZ: You ventured into crypto when Bitcoin’s value was under a dollar, and no one believed that it could get to a thousand dollars. What sparked you to make such an unconventional investment at that time?
I wish I could say it was because I looked at the fundamentals of Bitcoin and became convinced that it would take over the world. In reality, it was because, for a brief period, it was very easy to use PayPal to send money to Mt.Gox, the only Bitcoin exchange at the time. I had some money in PayPal and I used it all (a small amount) to buy Bitcoin. I wish I had bought more!
CryptoNewsZ: Getting Factom to where it is today clearly hasn’t been easy, so what advice would you give to those currently trying to get a start-up off the ground?
Keep the faith, work hard, and concentrate on the minimum viable product. Take the time to do good engineering.
It was an absolute pleasure to interview one of the greatest influencers in the blockchain domain. Paul, we at CryptoNewsZ, thank you for your valuable time and wish you success for all your future ventures.