Founded by Paul Snow and Peter Kirby, Factom is a 2.0 solution built on top of the Bitcoin blockchain. By distilling data to single hash and inserting it into the blockchain via a transaction, Factom allows the verification of any kind of record or information. NewsBTC’s Andrew Wagner managed to get a hold of Peter Kirby to ask him a few questions about what’s going on with their new technology, and its likely future.
Andrew Wagner: first, tell us a bit about your background. How did you come to be doing Factom?
Peter Kirby: I’m a long time entrepreneur and have been in sales/marketing for 20+ years. My last company was in Bitcoin Hardware, but I was more interested in Blockchain Technology. I met Paul in 2014 and loved the technology he was working on. We came together to form Factom in fall of 2014.
Andrew: so, the idea is that Factom works together with Bitcoin (or any blockchain), right? Does Gavin Andresen know what you’re doing, and how closely do you work with the Bitcoin developers?
Peter: yes. Factom piggybacks on the incredible security of the Bitcoin to create a data layer for the Blockchain. We drop anchors every 10 minutes into the Bitcoin Blockchain, but we can just as easily drop anchors into Ripple, Ethereum, NXT, or internal customer blockchains and increase the security even further from there. Bitcoin doesn’t need to succeed for Factom to stay secure.
We sent the whitepaper to the entire development community, including the core dev’s for review before we published. Gavin told us it was a great use of Op Return, and other dev’s like Luke Jr. and Peter Todd have given us great technical feedback and guidance.”
Andrew: Factom seems to have a really wide variety of use cases. Do you think you’re going to be proving the existence of pretty much everything in the digital world?
Peter: “hahaha. Wouldn’t that be good for the world.
Factom creates immutable ledgers for data. Turns out that’s a really powerful tool for record keeping and business systems. Also, because Factom prevents users from ever touching a cryptocurrency, it’s much easier for a big institution to adopt Factom’s blockchain technology then trying to write directly to Bitcoin or Ripple. We’re working on a lot of exciting real-world projects that we’ll be able to announce later this year. It’s an exciting time for the blockchain technology.”
Andrew: I saw that there’s going to be a Factom Foundation. The Bitcoin Foundation had a lot of critics until it refocused on core development; what exactly will be the goals of the Foundation, and how transparent and democratic is it going to be?
Peter: the Factom Foundation will be very different from the Bitcoin Foundation – probably closer in scope to the Mozilla Foundation. The core goal of the Foundation is to make better and better open source Factom software and to help facilitate uses of the protocol. It’s board is David Johnston, Paul Snow, and myself. Everything will be transparent (duh) and eventually documented on Factom. The protocol is extremely democratic by design. So I don’t think we’ll have the same challenges as the Bitcoin Foundation.
Andrew: how long do you think it’s going to be before corporations, banks and countries start integrating Factom? How long before the transition is complete?
Peter: I suspect you’ll see the first countries and corporations announcing preliminary projects this year. Once institutions use the protocol and get comfortable with the idea of distributed global ledgers and immutable record keeping, they’ll move systems to Factom very quickly. However, we’re realistic about the timelines and politics involved, so it’ll be a while before the total transition is complete. I expect the world will look very different in 10 years.
Andrew: anything else you’d like to add, or misconceptions to clear up?
Peter: Sure. Paul Snow likes to say “Factom does practically nothing…” That’s a really great concept because it speaks to the simplicity of Factom. Factom let’s you write hashes and data to an immutable ledger and gives you some tools to pull only your data back from the system. There are only a hand-full of API calls.
Some times when we talk about use cases or big challenges that the world faces, people think we’re building title software or banking interfaces. No. We’re just building a basic set of immutable data tools and making them totally bullet-proof. Factom does practically nothing, but what you build on Factom is practically limitless.