Transcript / main points below
Hi everybody, this is Charles Hoskinson broadcasting live from Zurich Switzerland, this is my first attempt of a video like this but I decided to give it a shot and experiment. The purpose of this video is to discuss briefly where we are currently at with the development of Cardano and where we are going as well as an update to the community on some of the things we are thinking about.
There were a couple of steps and priorities previously taken with Byron.
Ensure Ada holders redeem their Ada vouchers and educate the Cardano community on how to use exchanges via a help desk tour which covered the main cities of Japan.
Integration with exchange partners. We launched with fewer exchanges rather than multiple exchanges to so that we could build specific optimization for them. In particular this was for Binance and Bittrex. We set up a 24 hour support line with both Binance and Bittrex and we are working careful to resolve any issues. We now have also created a dedicated work stream and assigned personnel specifically to improving the experience on our exchange partners platforms.
So what’s next?
There is some technical debt with Byron which we are working in parallel to finish alongside the specifications for Shelly. We have decided to enhance our resources to accelerate the technical debt reduction on Byron. Our goal is to get the technical debt within Byron completely removed by the of February and we plan to ship patches in early February and early March that will continue these improvements. It’s important to note that this will not interfere with the production of Shelley and we are bringing a new company on board specifically to accelerate things.
We are also beginning preparations for the first Shelley testnet and we hope to launch the testnet sometime in early to mid February the exact launch date depends on a variety of factors on the devops side.
Once we have done some API rewrites and a technical debt reduction it’s going to become very easy for us to deploy new feature in a rather systematic way. The safe storage of Ada has been set as the highest priority of features for the moment, this includes cold storage options such as cold wallets, paper wallets and hardware wallets along with multisig support for Daedalus.
For Ledger our hardware wallet partner we are working with a third party firm called MetaLair. While we have some control over the development process on this project we can’t give a firm date as to when this will be launched as we are working with a third party. We have however told MetaLair that this is a high priority and something that the community desires.
In addition once we have reduced the technical debt and we have done some the remedial work and cleaned up the API’s we hope to onboard a much larger set of exchanges. We hope that towards the end of this month that outstanding work will be concluded for the exchange workstream as we have several exchanges waiting in cue that would like to list Ada.
Unfortunately we had to cut submissions to logs in the Bryon release. We hope to get this feature out sometime in February. Our plan is to allow users to directly submit logs within the GUI of Daedalus without having to go to the Daedalus website support page which is the current process.
We really want to get a better understanding of how and where are users clients are failing. Unfortunately right now lots of users who are experiencing issues are not sending us logs. In particular the connecting to network issue that many users are experiencing is becoming somewhat problematic.
We have some ideas on what might be causing these issues and we have ideas on how to resolve these issues but these are hypotese until we actually get logs and hunt down these things. We can’t find the route cause of the problem until we receive more user logs.
There are a few things that I am not happy about. Currently it takes too long to recover the wallet and we have made it a priority to optimise this. Some users believe the wallet has frozen when in fact it hasn’t frozen, it’s just taking quite a bit of time to recover. We are working to speed this up and make the user experience much better.
We hope in the coming weeks we can make these changes so that its finally polished and finally made. Most of the IOHK team will be meeting up next week in Lisbon where we will have a giant hackathon and this will definitely speed up development speed.
I am sorry that these issues have caused some pain and also sorry that there have been a lot of bugs that have caused some usability issues, meaning Ada is not as optimal as it could be.
We are working really hard, there are over 25 people full time working on this and during the holiday season many people worked incredibly hard foregoing time with family.
Unfortunately the linux version of Daedalus has been moved to a low priority but I to want to see this released in the near future.
There are many work streams for Shelley from delegation and stake pools to enhancements to the network. The highest priority is to get people who want to run stake pools into some kind of slack channel or forum so that we can have direct communication with them and get a better understanding of what users technical competency is and what operational costs of hardware would be etc.
We hope to get 25-100 stake pools by launch of Shelley.
Around early February we will be opening up threads on Reddit and the Cardano Forum for people to register and give us their details. On the back of that, open a direct line of comms with these people on the IOHK Slack channel.
The output will be Docker images for example for deployment on Amazon EC2 and Rackspace etc for people running stake pools and so eventually people can then deploy the stake pools in the Shelley testnet, probably in March.
There are a lot of little fine details to be worked out:
Considering a special type of address called exchange addresses removed from consensus.
We would like to support cold staking, so if you have a ledger or paper wallet so you will be able to assign a proxy key which you control within Daedalus, which is hot and live but cannot spend the cash sitting on the cold wallet device so can stake or delegate your stake without being live. This is very requested feature from our user and very excited about this.
These are very high priority for us.
Network improvements will come iteratively and gradually over the coming months, increase level of decentralisation of the network, firewall issues being resolved, so no specific configuration is needed and it just works. It’s a well understood problem which takes time and testing.
On the longer horizon, we are working on the next generation of the Ouroboros protocol and we are trying to make provision for accelerating this but it is very complex. The preliminary work has been done and there is a repo available called IOHK Ouroboros Spec on Github.
The output will probably be the first formally verified and specified algorithm used in the cryptocurrency space. This will probably be written up as a paper. It is not required for Shelly.
We have been getting a lot of questions around smart contracts and how we are going to launch this and the strategy behind it.
As of now, we believe the best option is taking the Mantis client that we constructed for Ethereum Classic and make the virtual machine client component pluggable. We will install the Cardano virtual machine into this. We can then fine tune the gas model and clean up the engineering rough edges.
We are coordinating very closely with a company called Runtime Verification and are expanding our commercial relationship with them and we hope to double the size of their team in the next few months. They have a very rigorous and beautiful work agenda and will make a dedicated announcement sometime soon about our plans.
We are very excited about this. As we are looking at pluggable consensus in an existing very mature scala based code base, this means we can probably accelerate our testnet plans for Goguen, our smart contract layer and we will make an announcement about this in early February about what that means. People are very excited about the possibilities and wanting to write smart contracts and testing software.
There is still a lot of work to be done for connecting Cardano CL and SL together for example, finishing some the specification work for our proof of stake protocol, including the side chains connection point and some things for how we wish to handle large staking.
This is why I’m in Switzerland attending the conference Real World Crypto. It’s also a great opportunity to meet people and spend time with some of our scientists.
It’s very exciting, a lot of research work streams are moving along, our smart contract layer is moving along quite well and we are pretty happy with the status and how things are working.
The team is growing considerably and we are hiring like crazy and have onboarded four new Haskell developers in the last three weeks alone and bringing onboard 5 new Scala devs in the next six weeks and we have hired a new devops person and will be hiring more devops people in the coming weeks and we are partnering with new companies specifically to accelerate the progress of Cardano to continue the momentum we have already achieved. We will be announcing this at some point.
That’s my update. Thanks very much for listening.
My final thing is to thank all members of the community for their incredible patience. I understand how difficult this is. Most of our competitors start from forked code. It means a lot of things have already been solved, like connecting to the network reliably and the wallets tend to work.
When you start from scratch, you have to accept you have to resolve some of the rough edges. We believe in the vision and the roadmap. These are ephemeral concerns and will be resolved. The team is quite good and the technology is good. The long term output is that we have total control over the code bases long term quality and the capability of the code so when we begin to do things like formal verification it will mean the code is solid without bugs.
We are paying a pretty hefty price on the front end. Jointly paid by you and me.
I really appreciate your support and time.