The Factom Protocol describes itself as an ‘open source, decentralized data integrity protocol built by an international coalition of companies that extends the security of blockchain to any data type’. The protocol is reportedly easy to integrate with any system, thereby providing a low, fixed cost source of indisputable truth and verification for business and government. The fixed cost and dual token design of the protocol reportedly enables subscription models where customers do not have to hold tokens despite their being used automatically in the background. The team views the Factom protocol as a global utility for companies to provide seamless access to applications with no unnecessary interaction with the integrated, underlying technology.
The vision of the team is for the Factom protocol to ‘enable a future where users are able to trust their documents, digital data, and all network connected “things” while allowing developers to create new, world-changing applications’.
What Is Factom?
Factom is a blockchain protocol that separates the immutability of blockchain technology from the currencies that are usually associated with it. This makes it easier and cheaper for businesses to store data on the blockchain.
Factom attempts to solve three main problems seen in the Bitcoin network:
- Speed – Bitcoin transactions take at least 10 minutes for a single confirmation. With a community standard of 6 confirmations before a transaction is fully processed, many of them take over an hour.
- Cost – Bitcoin transaction fees have been increasing and may continue to do so as more transactions enter the network.
- Bloat – With 1MB block sizes, the number of possible transactions per second is capped. Even the implementation of Segregated Witness (SegWit) and the Lightning Network may not be enough of an improvement to curb Bitcoin’s scaling issues.
Additionally, the documents and data stored using Factom can easily be audited which further lowers the cost needed for businesses to have a secure and accurate data store.
Factom is particularly useful for businesses in which important data regularly change hands. Documents such as land grants and medical records need to have ensured accuracy as they pass from one person to the next. Storing data on the blockchain provides an immense amount of value to these businesses. Maintaining paper records is expensive and traditional digital storage is vulnerable to malicious tampering. Factom solves both of these issues.
How do I buy cryptocurrency?
While some cryptocurrencies, including bitcoin, are available for purchase with U.S. dollars, others require that you pay with bitcoin or another cryptocurrency.
To buy cryptocurrencies, you’ll need a “wallet,” an online app that can hold your currency. Generally, you create an account on an exchange, and then you can transfer real money to buy cryptocurrencies such as bitcoin or ethereum.
Coinbase is one popular cryptocurrency trading exchange where you can create both a wallet and buy and sell bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies.