# Concept of FACT0RN!

In 2009, Satoshi Nakamoto introduced Bitcoin as the first blockchain technology governed by three principles: security, transparency and immutability (unable to change once finalized). The Bitcoin blockchain secures the network and adheres to these principles through the process of hashing, which takes the transaction data to generate a unique 256-bit hash value.

Hashing is not an easy process; a miner attempted nearly 2.9 billion hash combinations to secure Bitcoin block number 775,771. The process of generating the hash acceptable by the network is an extremely energy intensive endeavor, and as such, the network is secured by the Proof of Work (PoW).

High energy costs of maintaining the Bitcoin network means that it faces scalability issues, which has given rise to hundreds of newer blockchains — known as Layer 1 blockchains — that aim to solve the scalability issue. Additionally, the hashing of input data on the Bitcoin network is not applicable for many other real life applications. The energy use in generating these blocks have raised legitimate questions about the cost benefits of using hashing as the “Work” to secure blockchains.

### Enter FACT0RN

None of the research that has resulted in the advancement of these Layer 1 architectures have much practical application other than just securing the ledger for their respective blockchains.

This has led to the development of the FACT0RN blockchain.

FACT0RN aims to be the blockchain that adheres to the fundamental principles of Bitcoin, but also provide advancements in real-world applications. Like Bitcoin, transactions in the FACT0RN blockchain are secured by the Proof of Work consensus. However, unlike Bitcoin’s hashing as the means of work, FACT0RN uses integer factoring, which is of great importance to areas of security, cryptography and mathematics research.

FACT0RN uses integer factoring to secure the network through Proof of Work, unlike Bitcoin, which uses hashing of block data.

The FACT0RN blockchain’s development is funded in its entirety by the Coinbase Crypto Community Fund, and the recipient of the fund: Escanor Liones. FACT0RN also has a group of volunteer developers and support staff to help support the project.

### The FACT0RN challenge

Factoring small integers is easy. In fact, school children all around the world learn about factorization and factor small integers with relative ease; however, it gets exponentially more difficult to factor large integers. This is why there are now several communities, mathematical enthusiasts, research and security programs dedicated to factoring integers. One such program, the Cunningham Project, dedicated to factoring integers has been running for nearly a century, and still going strong!

These research programs are continuously developing new, powerful algorithms to factor large bit integers. These communities also run bounties to factor large integers with substantial cash prizes for those that crack the factorization challenge. An RSA factoring challenge that ran over 15 years starting from 1991 awarded regular cash prizes on integers being factored. During that time, the largest prize of $20,000 went to an individual who factored an RSA-640 number, which is 193-digit number.

In comparison, blockchains use RSA-2048 numbers (617 decimal digits) whose encryption would take an ordinary computer 300 trillion years to break. With rapid advancement in technology, the encryption will be broken sooner, but not so soon that we would likely see it in our lifetime.

The FACT0RN blockchain aims to keep alive the long tradition of factoring by allowing communities to submit integers to be solved by factoring, and offering financial incentives to miners who would not normally care about factoring. The project brings communities from cryptography, mathematics, blockchain and finance to create the 21st century version of the RSA Challenge. In doing so, FACT0RN has the noble ambition of attracting investments into mathematical research.

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