HashnStore SAS

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#1
Legal Entity Name: HashnStore SAS (transient stage – a new juridical entity incorporated in France will be created ASAP [1 or 2 months delay] if elected)
Natural Person: Matthias Fortin

Hi all,

Thank you for taking the time to read my application for the role of Factom Protocol Guide.

I have discovered the Blockchain technology mid of 2017 and since then I have started to read a lot about it and I have been attending many events and conferences - mainly in France but also in Europe. After a fascinating phase, I have been more and more critical on the projects in this space. At that point I discovered Factom and its unique value proposal and architecture which made me join the community end of 2017.

My first action as a community member has been to educate internally the company I am working for about the Blockchain technology and the Factom protocol particularly. But like in many traditional utilities, things have been moving slowly. That is why I have decided to start the ANO adventure intensifying my involvement toward the Factom technology and community.

I discovered here a unique governance process which enables the whole community to participate and share its ideas or concerns. I have been doing so actively since we are ANOs on what I considered crucial aspects for the future of the protocol whether this concerned standing parties perimeter, incentivizing structures, grants pay-outs, anonymous voting implementation, on-chain voting or the future non-profit organisation. As a Guide, I would continue to focus on these aspects with a priority on the on-chain governance and the future non-profit organisation.

I believe my background can bring a very balanced profile to the Guides. I am initially a mechanical and nuclear engineer, working now as a strategy and investment analyst in a leading electricity company. Until last year, I used to be the Treasurer of a state-approved organisation helping around 4000 children. Within HashnStore I am responsible for designing our solution under development working closely and daily with developers and challenging the solutions they propose.

These different experiences have taught me to adapt to different contexts and to consider both technical and social aspects. I am not a developer but I have more than a reasonable understanding of the cryptography and the Factom technology. I am not a jurist but I used to deal with bylaws, standards and a volunteer environment through my former position in a medium-size association.

One last important point: the guide position requires a large amount of time so I think it is important to be completely transparent on my availability. I could not dedicate a full-time position to it as I still need to work aside for a leaving. However I have the opportunity to work in a flexible and favourable environment. I will then dedicate 2 days a week (one full and the other one split), several evenings and part of my weekend.

Being a guide would be a new stage in my involvement for this project, an honour and a challenge.

Thank you for your attention and happy to answer any of your question.

(My LinkedIn Profile can be found here : https://www.linkedin.com/in/matthias-fortin-73155484/)
 
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#3
Hi Azn1nvas1on,

Thank you for opening the Q&A!

I am proposing a bit more, certainly something around 20-25 hours. I am also aware that at the beginning this will likely take me more time to adapt myself to the way the Guides work.

It is a very important point and that is why I have checked ahead this with a current guide. I wanted to make sure I could do the job properly.

I leave it to the Guides to confirm it or not.
 
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#4
Thank you for volunteering for this challenging and valuable role.

At this stage I have one question for all of the prospective guides:

If you were able to change only one thing during your tenure what would that be, why would you choose it and what would you specifically bring that would make a difference to the outcome?

(I recognise that certain guides have already made some of these things explicit in their statement and do not expect them to have to repeat that, in which case a partial answer or simple reference to their statement will suffice.)
 
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#5
Hi Mike,

Thank you for asking.

As mentioned in my candidacy post, I would focus on on-chain governance and the future non-profit organisation. Both these subjects are partially led by Standing Parties but Guides inputs are important. Work is already ongoing currently.

The non-profit should play no part in the Governance as it has been stated multiple times by the legal team. But still we need to ensure that point and to assess the potential interaction and impact on the whole ecosystem. As I am still a member of the board of a non-profit my experience can help in the discussions.

The on-chain governance and its potential impact to extend the number of the standing parties is something that I consider really important too. It will take several months to have a first iteration/implementation of this. That is why I have proposed myself to be included in the on-chain working group.

Hope this answers your questions.
 
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#6
First, thank you for stepping up as a Candidate. Putting yourself out there like this is not easy and I appreciate your willingness and desire to work for the Protocol.

1. Thank you for sharing your LinkedIn profile.

2. Certain processes such as Document Ratification require a 4/5 vote from Guides prior to the process moving on to additional Standing Parties for a vote. Do you feel this is a centralization of power in the ecosystem? Why or why not? And under what circumstances would you vote "no" and gatekeep that process from progressing?

3. Do you feel Guides should always be a Standing Party? If so, why? If not, when would you like to see the role removed?

4. It's important that our Guides be diverse in their thinking and approach to problems. Which current Guide are you most opposite to in your thinking, how so, and why is that a good thing?

Thank you.
 
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#7
So you are proposing ~16hrs/week of work?

Can any current guides give me a rough estimation of individual hours worked in the last term?
I think 10-20 hours a week is a good estimate. Some weeks are more than that and some are less. The position likely will use up as much time as is allocated to it, but I am confident that the amount of time Matthias is proposing will be sufficient to do the job well provided all the other elected Guides are able to contribute similar amounts.
 
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#8
Hi Matthias,

I've noticed and appreciated your contributions to governance in the ratification process discussions and other places. You have a sharp mind and good attention to detail, both of which will serve you well as a Guide should you be elected. Given that you have a full time job already, what do you envision the impact on Hash-N-Store will be by committing to being a Guide? Are there others who can fill your role there or do you anticipate you will be able to maintain the same level of commitment to your ANO while being a Guide? Thanks!
 
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#9
First, thank you for stepping up as a Candidate. Putting yourself out there like this is not easy and I appreciate your willingness and desire to work for the Protocol.

1. Thank you for sharing your LinkedIn profile.
You are welcome.

2. Certain processes such as Document Ratification require a 4/5 vote from Guides prior to the process moving on to additional Standing Parties for a vote. Do you feel this is a centralization of power in the ecosystem? Why or why not? And under what circumstances would you vote "no" and gatekeep that process from progressing?
This is an excellent question. And a tough and philosophical one. Not sure there is one good answer to that. It is very linked to the question of the perfect democratic system design.

The current situation clearly gives the Guides a Veto power. So yes it is in a way a centralization of power. Nevertheless, this is counter-balanced by the Guide removal process in the ANOs hands alone so the current situation is acceptable.

Now let us discuss this topic further. Why is there such a stage in the ratification process?

I can potentially distinguish two roles from the Guides in this document ratification process such as implemented:

- They act as a spam filter;
- They act as a moral authority/guardian of the protocol integrity;

I will discuss the needs for these two functions in 2 different situations: the current one and a proposal without Guides votes.

Current situation:

Spam filter function:

As the number of standing parties are currently limited, I do not think currently Guides need to vote "No" to limit spamming. In a near future (we all hope so), quite a big number of Standing Parties could potentially make a motion to ratify a document. ANOs and future other Standing parties would then have more and more limited bandwidth to follow these discussions. Guides’ vote can be seen as a solution. But the counter-part is a clear Veto Power. I actually think avoiding spamming should not depend on the Guides and could be automated (see below).

Moral authority / Guardian of the protocol integrity function:

The only important case where I can imagine voting “No” is if I found the proposal very dangerous for the integrity of the protocol (for example leading to a concentration of power). But still this is a centralisation of power and a kind of disempowerment of the Standing Parties. Do we think Standing Parties need to be protected from themselves or from a lemming effect? Tough one. With the Guide removal process it is an acceptable situation. This can be seen as a warning from a moral authority. If this moral authority is considered abusing its power it can be removed. At the very end the responsibility lies with the Community/Standing Parties.

Proposal without Guides vote for Document Ratification:

Spam filter:

With Standing Parties including FCT/EC holders/users (still to be defined), the number of Standing Parties who could propose a motion to ratify a Document could explode, as the number of threads and polls proposed to the Standing Parties.

Can we accept this potential spamming situation? I am inclined to answer no. What are the solutions without Guides vote? One I can imagine is an intermediary stage where all the motions are listed for a certain period of time with a very simple description and the Standing Parties are invited to vote. If the vote passes a certain threshold then automatically a thread and a poll are open on the discussion platform (currently Factomize).

Moral authority / Guardian of the protocol integrity function:

This function of the Guides is potentially difficult to replace. Do we consider we need some people to warn the community about potential risks?

If the answer is yes, an option is to keep the same system as today. This would be very similar to Bicameralism where the Standing Parties are able to overrule the Guides through the ANO removal process or any other new processes (e.g. Guides can stop the proposed motion only once). Guides would then just moderate the ANOs but would not stop them.

If the answer is no, and all the other processes are automated (see next answer) then I think the Guide function would not be needed anymore.

The consequences of such a choice need to be well evaluated.

3. Do you feel Guides should always be a Standing Party? If so, why? If not, when would you like to see the role removed?
There are different views on this. Initially Guides are here to facilitate the Governance between Standing Parties. As mentioned in Doc 001 “The responsibilities of the Guides will be phased out over time as the functions they provide are automated into the protocol”. In an ideal fully automated world we could imagine that Guides are not needed anymore. I do not know whether this is achievable but it is clearly a target we should have in mind. One thing for sure is that the number of processes depending on the Guides needs to decrease more and more. Whether this number will reach zero or not is the question that only time will answer.

Moreover, there are a certain number of intermediary steps to achieve this. On-chain voting is one of them as once it is done, we can start to work on automating actions at the protocol level (on-chain voting is not enough by itself).

I think the only one thing which could not be automated is the moral authority/Guardian of the protocol integrity function discussed earlier. Whether this is needed or not will determine the fate of the Guide role.

4. It's important that our Guides be diverse in their thinking and approach to problems. Which current Guide are you most opposite to in your thinking, how so, and why is that a good thing?
I am considering myself as very pragmatic and trying to find a good balance between implementing robust & durable solutions and implementing them in a reasonable period of time. I would then prefer to implement a simple short-term solution instead of a more complex solution which would be in any case replaced, and then focusing on the middle-term target which would definitely solve the issue.

Once this is said, which current Guide am I the most opposite to?
Should I really answer this question if I intend to work with all of them? The most important thing I think is that the Standing parties are now aware of my thinking and approach to problems. I let them judge whether this brings a different approach to the existing Guides thinking.
 
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#10
Hi Matthias,

I've noticed and appreciated your contributions to governance in the ratification process discussions and other places. You have a sharp mind and good attention to detail, both of which will serve you well as a Guide should you be elected. Given that you have a full time job already, what do you envision the impact on Hash-N-Store will be by committing to being a Guide? Are there others who can fill your role there or do you anticipate you will be able to maintain the same level of commitment to your ANO while being a Guide? Thanks!
Hi Sam,

Thank you for asking. This is a legit question.

I have a full-time position for now but I have the opportunity to easily switch to a 4/5 position. Moreover, I have quite a high number of days off.

I am currently using partially my days off to work for HashnStore. I have done this lately to help design the solution which I think is entering its final stage as we are currently employing an external developper to help us refactoring the code and set up a robust infrastructure.
As the main principles of our solution are now well defined, it is easier for me to follow the project and then less time is needed. Moreover, before applying to the position I have discussed with the other members of HashnStore who agreed and considered this was sustainable for our project.

Hope this answers your questions.
 
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#11
Firstly, thank you for putting yourself up for election for this important and challenging position! These are general questions that I am asking to all applicants. If you feel the questions are redundant to your previous replies. Feel free to cite that and move forward.

Having recently ratified changes to Doc 001 I would appreciate it if you could take a moment to explain how you will intend to carry out the following as a guide.

1. Under Guide eligibility standards.
(a) demonstrate independence in thought, leadership, and business
(b) be of good moral character with a demonstrated interest in the long term best interests of the protocol, willingness to serve the community of users, and history as a leader in the community.

2. Under Guide responsibilities
(a) make themselves available to the community
(b) Maintain orderly operation of the protocol network and facilitate the relationships between standing parties and the community. Further, by ensuring an adequate number of applicants to run a large enough pool of servers to ensure 65 servers are always available for the Authority Set.
(c) Be responsible for overseeing the application of the protocol governance to the operation of the the protocol.

Finally I see the responsibility of “Maintain orderly operation of the protocol” to extend beyond simply the technical and governance parts of the protocol and extending towards the wider community. Do you agree with this interpretation? If so how do you intend to achieve this?

Thanks Again
 
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#12
For legal reasons, we elect entities, not individuals. As such, the entity is the Guide and not a single individual. Therefore, in theory at least, any individual under the entity's umbrella can act in a Guide manner. This creates a scenario where an entity could get elected and then bring in an unknown individual as a part of said entity to execute the Guide responsibilities.

So the question is: If elected, will any other individuals besides yourself be acting in a Guide capacity for your entity?

Thank You
 
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#13
Hi Dan,

1. Under Guide eligibility standards.

(a) demonstrate independence in thought, leadership, and business
(b) be of good moral character with a demonstrated interest in the long term best interests of the protocol, willingness to serve the community of users, and history as a leader in the community.
I do hope I have demonstrated this independence in thought and good moral character at several occasions on Factomize threads and Discord on different topic: standing parties, ANO removal, grant denomination, future non-profit… I have tried during each of my intervention to bring my own point of view to help improve the different processes.
I have demonstrated my willingness to serve the community at several times and lastly by participating to the on-chain discussions and by proposing myself to lead the GDPR project which are both quite important for the Factom protocol.

My former position as Treasurer of a state-approved organisation, l’Entraide Scolaire Amicale (helping +4000 children in France with a budget of around 300,000€ (c. $400,000)) is my most relevant experience to demonstrate high personal integrity. I am still a member of the board of this association.

2. Under Guide responsibilities

(a) make themselves available to the community
(b) Maintain orderly operation of the protocol network and facilitate the relationships between standing parties and the community. Further, by ensuring an adequate number of applicants to run a large enough pool of servers to ensure 65 servers are always available for the Authority Set.
(c) Be responsible for overseeing the application of the protocol governance to the operation of the protocol.
My availability has been discussed in previous posts. I will of course be available for discussing with community members mainly on Discord, Factomize or even Telegram.
About responsibility of the Guides (to maintain operation of the protocol network, to facilitate the relationships…): I think we need to conciliate this with the fact that Guides are not here to stay or at least that their role will be much more limited in the future (see previous posts).
So direct intervention from them should be limited as much as possible. This can be realised through setting up the structures and organisations needed to ensure these functions. This is already currently realised through committees.
The next stage will be to enforce governance on-chain. This will then limit the need for overseeing the application of the protocol governance. In the meantime, the Guides need to strictly ensure the application of Standing Parties decisions.
Facilitating discussions between Standing Parties is a very important part of the job in order to achieve consensus and will always be needed I believe.

Finally I see the responsibility of “Maintain orderly operation of the protocol” to extend beyond simply the technical and governance parts of the protocol and extending towards the wider community. Do you agree with this interpretation? If so how do you intend to achieve this?
The complete sentence is:
“Maintaining the orderly operation of the network includes ensuring an adequate number of applicants to run a large enough pool of servers to ensure 65 servers are always available for the Authority Set. The guides will be in close communication with the Testnet, and monitor the performance of members of the Testnet Authority Pool.”

I understand what you mean. Ensuring this adequate number means to promote the protocol and to attract new talents. I think this will be achieved through different means: mainly through marketing (marketing committee actions, hackatons organised by ANOs, participation to Blockchain conferences as speakers) but also through technical improvement making the Factom protocol even more unique in this space. A complete on-chain governance will give such a visibility. I see the role of Guides both on this technical side but also potentially on the marketing side by participating to conferences in collaboration with the marketing committee.
 
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#14
Hi Matt,

For legal reasons, we elect entities, not individuals. As such, the entity is the Guide and not a single individual. Therefore, in theory at least, any individual under the entity's umbrella can act in a Guide manner. This creates a scenario where an entity could get elected and then bring in an unknown individual as a part of said entity to execute the Guide responsibilities.

So the question is: If elected, will any other individuals besides yourself be acting in a Guide capacity for your entity?

Thank You
As mentioned on top of my thread, I am currently applying with Hashnstore but this is a very temporary situation and if elected, I will set up an individual legal structure in less than 2 months.

I would be the only one natural or legal entity on board in this structure.
 
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#15
The complete sentence is:
“Maintaining the orderly operation of the network includes ensuring an adequate number of applicants to run a large enough pool of servers to ensure 65 servers are always available for the Authority Set. The guides will be in close communication with the Testnet, and monitor the performance of members of the Testnet Authority Pool.”
Thanks again for all you have done for the protocol to date and running as a Guide. I appreciate you and your efforts. The sentence I was alluding to was from section 2.2.2 that states...
"Guides are charged with maintaining the orderly operation of the protocol network and facilitating the relationships between standing parties and the community.”
I attempted to summarize…sorry for any confusion :)
Just wanted to clear the waters on the exact context the summary was coming from
Thanks Again!
 
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#16
As a former Guide, I can speak from experience that being a Guide is time consuming and can be stressful. It can take critical time away from one's duties to their ANO yet the health of your ANO is paramount to the network. Is your ANO in good health where you can work less on it and does your business partner(s) or employer support your running for Guide?
 
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#17
Hi David,

As a former Guide, I can speak from experience that being a Guide is time consuming and can be stressful. It can take critical time away from one's duties to their ANO yet the health of your ANO is paramount to the network. Is your ANO in good health where you can work less on it and does your business partner(s) or employer support your running for Guide?
I repost here my answer to Sam which I think answer your question too. You can also ask @Frédéric Faye and @Elie Bonin for confirming their support.

"I have a full-time position for now but I have the opportunity to easily switch to a 4/5 position. Moreover, I have quite a high number of days off.
I am currently using partially my days off to work for HashnStore. I have done this lately to help design the solution which I think is entering its final stage as we are currently employing an external developper to help us refactoring the code and set up a robust infrastructure.
As the main principles of our solution are now well defined, it is easier for me to follow the project and then less time is needed. Moreover, before applying to the position I have discussed with the other members of HashnStore who agreed and considered this was sustainable for our project."
 
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#18
Hi David,

Matthias has never been counting his working hours spent on HNS and more specifically on the product we are currently developing.

He has been sharing his willingness to step up in the community and to become a Guide with us before posting anythingh here. This decision has been shared and taken with HNS. I personally think he we will handle this new position as good as he has been doing it for the past year with HashnStore

Matthias has my full support and I am willing to help him as much as possible in this new adventure, as far as my rights go.