Cardano Virtual Summit 2020 Recaps: Charles Hoskinson’s Closing Keynote - 03/07/2020
(Written by @Eric_Czuleger)
The following is a distillation of the closing keynote speech from Charles Hoskinson at the Cardano Virtual Summit 2020: Shelley Edition
We’d like to thank everyone for coming to the Cardano Virtual Summit 2020: Shelley Edition. We put this conference on with 60 days notice and 45 days of execution. We expected a few thousand people if we were lucky. Originally, before the Coronavirus hit we wanted to go to Kyoto to celebrate with Japan’s Cardano community. Regardless we developed an event which brought almost 10 thousand people together.
This event was about three things at its core. First it was a celebration of the end of the era of stating what we will do. It is now the dawn of the time of ‘Cardano does.’ For a long time people said that Cardano will one day have a capability. In the next 150 days as we turn on capabilities it is no longer the case that we will do something, it is the case that Cardano does something.
Who is Cardano?
Users can write smart contracts and issue assets. They can run a small business stake pool. This is the era of Cardano ‘does’. This event is an exclamation point at the end of the old era. We took this seriously and every aspect in the design of our protocols. Every interaction in our GUI or button in an application, we cared about it. This event was created to tell the world what we have built.
This was a remarkable event from that perspective. More importantly, we wanted to show the world who we are. Who is Cardano? What are we about? Every cryptocurrency has a community. A lot are good communities. In the early days of the Bitcoin community it was a great community. When we looked at the Cardano community we wanted to show off our culture at this event.
We wanted to show how we communicate and what our community is about. This is why we invited blockchain skeptic and father of the internet Vint Cerf. We were able to have a discussion with him and ask him questions that we have to answer as a community. How do we achieve scale? How do we work with identity? These are important questions.
Furthermore we had Stephen Wolfram. He bridged physics and the world of computation. Our community offered questions which were thought provoking and led to great conversations.We had engineers, scientists, politicians and even former heads of state. This all shows how diverse the community invested in making Cardano the best that it can be. This was all a journey from pure science into code that people can use to make world changing products.
We saw the originators of Haskell discuss their journey in creating this functional programming language. This led to inspiring the design of other languages. This shows us the legacy which we carry with us. Fortunately, we were able to pick their brains through the moderation of our technical architect Duncan Coutts. Hopefully, like Vint Cerf, we will one day lament the things we could have done differently. This will tell us that we are in fact victims of our own success.
We had industry partners like beefchain and Hyperledger. We saw that real world problems are being solved through this technology. Solutions like blockchain technology gives great user experiences along with scalability. This is particularly important in supply chains which affect everyone in the world.
Power in the hands of many
We know that transparency is necessary so we created Atlas because we want to give people a beautiful way to explore blockchains. This is vitally important as we explore the world of onchain governance. The dawn of Voltaire will allow everyone to vote on and fund the future of the Cardano blockchain. Users will determine what exactly will move the platform forward. This also gives us a way of disagreeing without being disagreeable. This is something that is unique in our space.
We never wanted to fall into the easy path of turning those we disagree with into strawmen. We have a commitment to accepting criticism. We are committed to understanding our own flaws and mistakes. We are human and the power of our approach is that everyone can help us move to the next level. This allows everyone to become our partner in creating a better protocol.
We are inspired by John Gartner’s book The Idea Factory about Bell Labs. We wanted to create a place where quiet brilliance can get loud. A lot of people are truly exceptional and yet they are often set aside. The culture of Cardano is that we have taken those left behind and we have given them a place to thrive and get as loud as they want. Anyone can see that by the quality, volume, and execution of ideas in our ecosystem.
There are many great projects in our space. It is usually the case that they excel in a small collection of things. The challenge for us is that we are the first chain that aspires to be a third generation cryptocurrency. That means that we must find balance and harmony between a plethora of demands. We must have on chain governance. We must be able to support many different computational models. We must be able to keep the evidence based scientific approach alive in our protocol. In this, we have no equal.
We have made significant and meaningful progress in a way which we are proud of our work. We did so in a way that meant our work could speak for itself. This is what we are most proud of and it is the second thing we wanted to show at this summit. There exists a community in this space which will always have a place for anyone who commits time.
The cFund shows that we are putting our money where our mouth is because people need funding. Wave Financial will work with us to match IOHK’s 10 million dollars. This pool will help build utility into our blockchain ecosystem. We have the benefit of coming after the first wave of legacy systems. This allows us to leapfrog the competition if the capabilities of our platform are leveraged. It allows us to strike while the iron is hot.
Wisdom of the masses
However, no amount of wisdom or capabilities on our side will let us be wiser than the community. That is why we have the dcFund. This allows everyone to vote on funding opportunities arising from the community. This will begin in July. In the coming months more capabilities will turn on. Soon the decision making apparatus for the system will be entirely in the hands of the users alongside smart contract and native asset capabilities.
The final point of the conference is to convey that this is by no means the end. We are closing out the legacy of the last five years. We are entering into the next five years. We are now in a position to tackle the greatest problems in computer science as well as governance and financial problems. We are optimistic about our ability to achieve great things if we can find a way to work together.
We have shown the space that we deserve to win. We can do differently and change the way that the game is played. We gain new people every day on telegram. We have a more diverse group of actors distributed across the world. Meanwhile, we keep our principles of inclusive accountability and academic integrity.
Products like PRISM are invaluable to privacy and compliance. This can fundamentally change the way that identity works. It can give users dominion over their personal data. It could mean signing a contract or submitting medical data. This can only be realized if our community evangelizes the use of this system in the government and private level.
The burden of growing this system is not only on the shoulders of IOHK but on the shoulders of the community. The road ahead will be hard. There will be a lot more to build. We look at Adrestia, Atlas, PRISM, and the many other technologies that we have built over the last several years and we see how far we have come. The goal of this project was never to become the next Ethereum or bitcoin, it was built to force a conversation about the legacy systems of the past.
The fall of the Roman Empire led to rebuilding into the horrors of the World Wars. Technology is amoral. But we must have wisdom to use these technologies. That leads us to our next point about the future. How should this technology be used? The platform is in our user’s hands as much as ours. We must use these things to make the world a better place. This is why we spend so much time examining the lives of the poorest people in the world. We want to make everyone’s lives better.
Our definition of success is leaving the world in a better place than we found it. The things that we do have consequences. We must imagine the future. Our community must also imagine the future because we have to keep the culture that has gotten us to this point. We believe that this can be accomplished and that this will be the moment where humanity does something slightly different. We did not descend into chaos, instead we valued the dignity of all humanity.
The point of this summit is a hard look into the future. Now that we are the platform that does, rather than the platform that will do, the future is in our hands. We thank everyone for coming. This is a snapshot of who we are and what we do. There is no limit to how we will rise and grow around the world. In closing, to the people of Japan we thank you from the bottom of our hearts.