24.05.2018 - Summary of Charles Hoskinson's Video Update

summary

#1

Here’s a video update from Charles Hoskinson from IOHK:

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In the video, he talks about the release process of Cardano 1.2 release, stake pools and delegation and the Cardano CL testnets.

IOHK’s Release Process

  • In April, they finished writing all the code for Cardano 1.2
  • This includes the paper wallets, activating version 1 API’s, and other corrective things such as performance improvements and security enhancements
  • After that, it gets turned over to the Release Manager, QA Director and external firms
  • The external firms run the release through tests (smoke tests, feature tests, regression testing)
  • This process is to get assurance that the new code won’t introduce new bugs and that it will work for as many people
  • The release notes on Cardano 1.2.0 are to be published soon

QA & Bug Reporting Pipeline

  • This is being improved on
  • Since January, IOHK have received over 8000 support tickets
  • Part of the improvement comes from filtering and categorizing the support tickets
  • This will give them a better sense of where people are having trouble with the product and to work on improving usability

Releasing Cardano CL Testnet

  • At the time of the video, the first testnet was to be released
  • As of today, the KEVM testnet has been released, which you can read about here
  • The first release is the KEVM testnet, which ensures backwards compatibility with Ethereum
  • IOHK partnered with Runtime Verification, who wrote the formal semantics of Ethereum virtual machine

“The advantage of expressing formal semantics using the K framework is that you can then actually
generate the entire virtual machine from the semantics itself. This is the first time this has ever been done in the cryptocurrency space and actually is seldom done in the regular development world for a variety of reasons usually stemming from the difficulty of the task. So we decided given that we feel a smart contracts deserve to run in a high assurance setting that it would be important to purse this avenue.”

  • This testnet is more of a test to see how the K framework works and to give a foundation that can be used to improve K
  • The next testnet is IELE, which will hopefully be released in July
  • IELE is the in-house virtual machine that was developed specifically for Cardano
  • Like the K-EVM, IELE will also be generated from the formal semantics
  • The hope is that people can play with the IELE language and there will be a Solidity-to-IELE compiler which will allow you to write a Solidity program and either deploy it to K-EVM or to IELE

Incentives and delegation

  • This has been a difficult research stream
  • The end result has been the production of two papers
  • One paper on the incentive scheme for Cardano and one paper specifically for how delegation works with Cardano including all the business requirement like cold staking and dealing with what happens when exchanges get your stake
  • The incentives paper will be submitted to a conference in July and probably published on eprint around that time
  • There will be a collection of three blog posts along with some videos released
    *These videos and blog posts will explain what the monetary policy of Cardano is (what should be the amount of ADA generated every year up to the cap of 45 billion?)
  • As well as on the dynamics about how decentralized the network should be
  • And other topics like the amount of stake pools and incentives running stake pools
  • This collection of content is scheduled to be released in the coming 2 months

The Shelley Testnet

  • There have been over 2000 stake pool applications
  • These are people who are interested in helping with the beta test
  • Throughout the summer and fall, IOHK will be working closely with these selected people and work towards releasing Shelley and getting the network completely decentralized

So one question we do get asked a lot is question about the smart contract side of is, when will Shelley and Goguen be united?

  • We also have to finalize our side chain scheme to be able to send assets from Cardano SL to Cardano CL
    -gotten to the point where we’ve begun prototyping that solution and measuring things for example like proof size and transaction latency so how long does it take for a transaction from SL to CL to settle and what are some of the challenges of maintaining the state of multiple blockchains concurrently with Ouroboros, so these are ongoing and interesting questions and they’re ones throughout the summer while we’ll converge the solution

Plutus

  • Plutus is the in-house smart contract language
  • This is the primary smart contract programming language that IOHK would like people to write smart contract in
  • Plutus is based on the UTXO model instead of the accounts based model
  • Later this year, Philip Wadler from IOHK will start releasing dedicated content including video content explaining how Plutus works and the design decision that were chosen
  • Eventually Plutus will be interoperable with IELE
  • IOHK also set out to answer the question: how do you write good code that doesn’t fail so you don’t have things like the parody hack or the DAO hack and the loss of hundreds of millions of dollars
  • And how do you work with people who aren’t necessarily technical but are domain experts like CPAs or lawyers who have lots of business requirement in an intent behind a contractual relationship between parties * * And how do you then translate that into actual code and verify that the intent matches the code that has been deployed?
  • And to answer that, they have created and are working on a financial DSL (domain-specific language) called Marlow
  • IOHK will finalize the design of Marlow and submit that to APL conference

Governance & Scalability Reseach

  • IOHK has recently published a treasury paper to e-print
  • This is related to the ‘governance and sustainability’ work stream of Cardano
  • The hope that this treasury system can be used in many cryptocurrencies as it does add a lot of self sustainability into the ecosystem
  • This research line still needs another four papers, of which they will be pursuing those over the next year
  • At the end of that research stream, implementation of the treasury system into Cardano should begin
  • The other research work stream is scalability
  • The next project in this stream is Ouroboros Hydra - looking at true sharding and true scalability in the system

The Network & Rina

  • IOHK estimates that RINA, the way that we’d like to construct it, contains about six hundred man months of engineering time, it’s equivalent to basically building a second internet in terms of complexity of engineering
  • Throughout the summer and fall, there will be specialized announcements about what the plans for RINA
  • This is one of the last pieces anticipated for Cardano

Voting & Forking

  • The way the treasury mechanics have been constructed, the voting has been abstracted in a way that they can be re-used for forking as well, with different parameterization and different thresholds for decision making
  • Therefore whenever the treasury (voting) gets implemented into the system, a forking protocol can also be implemented
  • Note that this is a “2019 topic” but as we get closer to 2019, more information will be available and papers and research will be released
  • In short, the most difficult problems in the space are being worked on
  • To do this, a knowledgeable team of people is needed and that’s why you see people who generally don’t work together like PL experts, cryptographers, game theorists, distributed systems experts, mathematicians
  • Who are all coming together, working towards a common goal and understanding the common collection of problems that we wish to solve

Alternative Daedalus Clients

  • IOHK is also working on alternative clients
  • Charles notes that they are exploring a browser based client for Cardano and seeing if it is feasible
  • There have already been three proofs of concepts completed on this
  • There have also been discussions with people who are constructing mobile clients and discussions on how to build a lighter version of Daedalus
  • The only downside is that the redesign of Daedalus must be finished before moving onto things like ledger, lighter wallets and mobile wallets

listed #2

#3

Solid update. Thank you!