One Year In

Can’t believe it’s already one year since I started working for Factomize. At the time, I only had a superficial knowledge of blockchains and no experience writing Golang. David’s charge to have me become a Factom Protocol core developer seemed like an almost insurmountable task.

At first, I just worked on the Factomize forum, which was more in line with my area of expertise, while getting familiar with the Factom community and node. A couple of months later it was time to learn Golang and familiarize myself with the core code. My first pull request was on January 7th, 2019, simply adding myself to the factomd CLA. That was followed by my first feature implementation: adding https support to the … Read the rest

PegNet Part One: Overview and Mining the Oracle

Introduction

Over the past couple of weeks, I’ve been involved in the PegNet project and I wanted to share my understanding of what it is and how it works with the rest of the world. I’m a developer and not an economist, so my perspective focuses more on the technical aspects than how to master the market. Due to the large scope of the project, this blog will be split into multiple pieces, with the first one focusing on the Oracle.

PegNet, short for Pegged Network, is a set of tokens pegged to existing currencies. It is built as a Factom Asset Token (“FAT”) standard on top of the Factom Protocol, meaning that the values and transactions sit inside … Read the rest

Gossip Optimization Part 2: Breaking the Hub

In my previous blog post on the gossip network, I detailed how the current network has a tendency to form a hub network and how that introduces both inefficiencies and scalability problems. A short recap: when booting up, all nodes connect to the seed nodes, leaving them with a disproportionally vast connection count. This impacts the fanout of messages with the seed nodes receiving a disproportionate amount of messages, the duplicates of which are dropped.

The ideal network structure is every node in the system connected to an equal amount of other nodes. This is made difficult by the fact that nodes are not aware of the network topology.

So how do we go from a hub network to … Read the rest

Deepfakes, Blockchains, and Factom

Introduction

Living in a world where it’s impossible to tell whether or not a recorded video is real sounds like a nightmare but with the advent of Deepfake, that world has been heralded by many in recent times. The question of what to do about it is asked almost daily in the Factom Protocol community but the answers, both in our community and elsewhere, have been sparse.

Tackling Deepfakes is an extraordinarily difficult problem and, unfortunately, I have no easy answers. I do, however, have some expertise and a lot of interest in the area. The goal of this blog is to present the full scope of the problem, of which Deepfakes is only the latest iteration, and explore the … Read the rest

Gossip Analysis and Optimization

Introduction

Up until now, I have been relying on legacy values for configuring the P2P 2.0 package I have been working on. These values are:

  • Outgoing: 32
  • Incoming: 150
  • Fanout: 16
  • Rounds: 6

As far as I know, these values have been selected arbitrarily with the primary goal of ensuring that messages reach as many targets as possible. The drawback is that the more reliability you choose, the more the network will be flooded with duplicate messages. I wanted to find out if these settings make sense for the network and if it is possible to optimize them.

Since I am a programmer, not a mathematician, I opted to do this through an empirical process.

Note: All data I used … Read the rest

Factom EDA – A Vision of the Future

Preface

There is a lot of talk about scalability, sharding, and how to get factomd to the next level. What I want to talk about in this blog is skipping past all those steps in between and start right at the end: a fully customizable, modularized, shardable factom node.

This is not meant to be a proposal of things we should implement in factomd right now, it is an idealistic vision of the future that doesn’t account for hardware limits or optimizations. The haute couture of programming — not something meant to be implemented but rather to inspire goals and trends.

Factom EDA

The foundation of extendable modularization is a unified message bus. All modules should be able to react … Read the rest

Anatomy of Factom’s Addresses

Brief Overview

You need Factoid Addresses and Entry Credit Addresses to do anything in Factom, so I wanted to dive a little deeper. There are three parts that make up an address: the private key, the public key, and the address. The private key is the most important element and can be used to derive the other two components. The public key can be used to verify data signed by the private key as well as derive the address. The address itself is a hash of an RCD mechanism to allow for multiple authentication schemes, and it cannot be used to determine either the private or public keys.

While using Factom, you are typically only presented with … Read the rest

Factom Quickstart for Developers who Don’t Know or Don’t Care what a Blockchain is

Like the title says, this is an explanation of Factom for developers who already have solid programming knowledge and just want a no-buzzword explanation of how to write applications and what is possible. What it is not is a guide to programming or to the underlying Factom protocol itself. If you are interested in the latter, check out some of my other blog posts or the factomprotocol.org website.

Requirements

  • Working knowledge in a programming language
  • Knowing what JSON and JSON-RPC are OR using one of the many Factom APIs

That’s pretty much it. While the main network has costs associated with it, you can run a sandboxed local server or use the test network that lets you generate free resources. … Read the rest

Factomize Core Dev Update 5

Short Term Review

One of my worries with my approach to learning the codebase (see previous blog posts one and two) was that I might not be able to transition well from a theoretical reading and analyzation of the code to being able to write new code, which if you’re familiar with development, are two very separate concepts. It hasn’t been seamless but I’ve had some time to reflect since then and I would consider it to have worked pretty well.

That said, I haven’t talked the other core devs about how they have been faring. It would be nice to hear from others about this topic.

Update on my status

For a while I worked on odds and … Read the rest

Factom Protocol P2P: A TCP Gossip Network

Introduction

Let’s take a closer look at Factom’s p2p protocol.

Factom uses a Gossip protocol for all messages, which is a very simple protocol with a wide variety of applications. One of Factom’s main priorities is creating a censorship-resistant environment and Gossip Protocols have characteristics that aid in that regard. More on that later.

The p2p code is implemented entirely inside factomd with no external libraries. If you’re already familiar with Gossip Protocols and just want a brief overview, these are the specifications of the network:

Overview

  • TCP
  • Seeded with a list of 10 softcoded ips
  • Fanout of 16 (with optional max fanout for some messages)
  • Outgoing count of 32
  • Incoming count of 150 (no NAT traversal)
  • Push approach (mostly
Read the rest