Charles Hoskinson Cardano Update - 12/02/2020
(Written by @Eric_Czuleger - IOHK Content Writer)
On February 12th Charles Hoskinson sat down to give an update on recent developments with Cardano. This included a wide ranging discussion of future plans and recent information releases.
-Charles Hoskinson recently returned from the Satoshi Roundtable and Suits and Spooks. Both events confirmed that there is a heightened interest in the cryptocurrency space as crypto winter comes to an end.
-IOHK has recently completed its most significant software update since the Byron launch
-The OBFT hard fork is still set for release on February 20th.
-The ITN will receive a large update at the end of the week. Between this week’s update and next week’s update a good deal of the challenges with the ITN should be solved.
-The performance results from simulations of Ouroboros Hydra look very promising and the paper will be released soon.
Thawing crypto winter
Charles Hoskinson recently returned from Satoshi Roundtable in Cancun where he met with institutional investors, competitors and industry leaders. He also recently went to Suits and Spooks, an international security summit meant to bridge the gap between the intelligence community and industry. There he met with General Stanley McCrystal’s The Crystal Group as well as Echelon Front, along with representatives from major international security organizations.
We believe that crypto winter is beginning to thaw and we are moving into crypto spring. This means that 2020 will be a monumental year for Cardano. On February 13th 2020 we released a blog post about the most significant update to Cardano since the launch of Byron. This was the update of the Cardano node along with the Cardano wallet\explorer backend.
The foundation of Shelley
Tim Harrison released the information on the IOHK blog. These two pieces of software represent the foundation upon which we are deploying Shelley. We have been working on this software continuously with a large team for 18 months. We’re proud to have released this update to the general public.
This will be the node which people will use to upgrade to the OBFT hard fork, which will be coming on February 20th. Moving forward, the most significant retail update for Daedalus users will come after we have cleared the OBFT hard fork. This will involve taking the new Haskell wallet back end and combining it with this node release, alongside all the other infrastructure.
This means that we will have redone all the code for every user of Cardano from exchange to investor to Daedalus user. Internal benchmarks rate this software as 2 to 3 times faster. It has half the memory footprint and it syncs in under an hour. Wallet recovery is quicker. Essentially, every component of the software is well built.
Going live with this was a major milestone. We encourage everyone to read the post on the IOHK blog. We will likely do a video release about the differences between Ouroboros Classic and Ouroboros OBFT and how we will use OBFT to get us to Praos. Praos will be used to launch Shelley so this is crucial. This video will be released within the next week.
After the OBFT
After the OBFT hard fork and upgrades we will coordinate the release of the whole bundle including Daedalus, the new wallet backend, and the new node to all users on the system. This will include major trading platforms.
We have also been working with our exchange partners about writing special purpose libraries and redoing some of our APIs. This will make it considerably easier to list ada. To do this we will use ada’s command line side for individuals who want to hold ada on behalf of others. This could mean exchanges, custodians, etc.
Collaborating with exchanges
We remain close with all of our exchange partners and maintain a constant robust dialogue. They are giving us important feedback. The output of these relationships will result in a major upgrade to the Adrestia framework. This will include a better explorer, better wallet, and infrastructure for those who wish to build on top of our software.
Once this is all done we will have built software which can run 24/7 for weeks, months, and perhaps even years without reboot. If it has to be rebooted, this can be done very quickly. After this release there should be a significant reduction in wallets which go down on mainnet.
Building for the future
We are building these releases with a good deal of future proofing in mind. This includes staking as a service for customers to be offered by exchanges. This means that if customers don’t want to stake locally, individual exchanges can stake on behalf of customers. We have been discussing the accommodations that our partners need to ensure that this can be done.
With this reboot we will support cold staking. What this means is that individuals can put their ada in a cold wallet, generate credentials, (this will look like sending a transaction from a ledger device.) Those funds can then be delegated using a hot, or internet connected interface. At no time will the value keys of your ada ever have to be exposed to the general internet.
This is an important piece of our operational security. This also allows exchanges to offer more third party offers and security. This is almost as if users have a custodial account, but it can be controlled as if it were a hot wallet exchange account. We are building this in tandem with our exchange partners and we hope that as many exchanges as possible offer this service to their customers. We encourage users to take a look at the cold staking functionality.
Upgrading the ITN
Meanwhile, the Incentivized Testnet will be getting an update soon. Last week was skipped given the fact that the new Jormungandr release is quite large. We are on target for a Friday update which will bundle Daedalus, the new wallet backend, and the latest version of Jormungandr. We believe that between this week and next week’s releases we will solve a large amount of difficulties. Each week we intend to target a new batch of challenges.
These could include being locked to a trusted peer, to disconnection issues, etc. Network stability has improved a good deal. It has gone from the low 40 percentile to the 90 percentile. This means that the network upgrades we have been doing are taking a positive effect. However, they have not reached the end user just yet. We will continue tackling batch after batch of challenges. We look forward to our next major release on Friday the 14th. If users are still having issues, we encourage using Yoroi. You can transfer your credentials and then come back to Daedalus in 2 or 3 weeks.
We recently released a blog post about the KPIs for the Incentivized testnet. We encourage you to take a look at how the ITN has progressed through that piece. We believe that it has been a great success in terms of getting over a thousand stake pools, and identifying key people to have dialogues with. There is always more to do, but overall we believe that this has been a good experience for everyone involved.
Rebuilding Cardano docs
Documentation is slated for a large improvement. We are building two dedicated teams to completely redo Cardano Docs. Our hope is to have the first major update of Cardano Docs done sometime in late March. This means that it will go from the 2017\2018 documentation to a new documentation standard. We have a great deal of individuals both inside and out who are helping us to improve the quality of the documentation. We are making sure that it is all readable and localizable. This means making sure it can be translated into core languages like Japanese.
Along with this we will try to create a feedback loop for users to give IOHK a heads up about any mistakes. We are currently working diligently to getting dates for the launch of Shelley’s mainnet. It appears that the Haskell testnet will be launched in two phases. The first will be for migrating individuals running stake pools on the ITN to the Haskell side. The second phase will be for the general user. Dynal Patel is currently working on developing a plan to make sure that redeployment is easily done.
This will give us a good sense of the active stake pools as well. Internal testing indicates that the Haskell software is high quality and stable. We are using a sophisticated benchmarking structure to test this. We believe that the instability experienced on the rust side will not be experienced on the Haskell side. This includes the migration phase.
Once migration is complete, there will be a series of updates which will prepare users for the balance check. This will allow users to enter credentials from the Byron mainnet and the ITN. This will then verify user balances. This includes money previously owned in addition to any money earned. This will appear in the wallet interface. We anticipate that there will be some difficulties, as there always are.
Countdown to launch
After this process is totally complete we have everything ready for the launch of Shelley. We have strong relationships with both exchanges and enterprise actors. This reduces our testing phase. We also do not need to perform such aggressive QA since we are currently doing it up front. We anticipate these next phases to move quickly.
Towards the end of February there will be a firm date set for the Haskell testnet stakepool migration. Once we get to that phase we will have a firm date for how long that will last and when the balance check will happen. After that we will have a date for the launch of the mainnet. Things are moving quickly with our two week sprint structure.
Our intention is to have the Shelley mainnet launch in Kyoto. There will be a large launch party as well for our Japanese community and core developers. Since we launched Cardano in Japan initially, we believe that Kyoto in the spring and summer would be a good choice for the Shelley Mainnet launch.
Collaborating in parallel
We are currently working in parallel now more than we ever have. For example we recently hosted workshops for zero-knowledge proofs and Goguen, in Edinburgh and Belgium respectively. We are also defining the specifications, KPIs, and deliverables for the Goguen release. We are also bringing things into our new management structure. At the same time we are bidding out our cold staking and multi sig support to three different companies.
Meanwhile, our identity product, Prism is being developed quickly. We will demonstrate its abilities during the launch party in Kyoto. Dynal Patel is also taking the lead on this product as well.
We are also beginning to look at oracle solutions as well as payments. IOHK has a dedicated team which will be committed to this after they are done with their current workload. An asset issuance framework is also being developed for Cardano. There is a good deal of writing which is left to do, such as explaining how our gas model works, and how our UTXO system is different from the Ethereum system. We are happy with the level of coordination that we are seeing company wide on all of these efforts.
IOHK is also innovating and bringing new technology to bear. We have invented one of the fastest SNARKs in the industry called Sonic. Our skunkworks built this over the last year and we believe that it will be finished by the SK standardization summit in London, this April. While there we will discuss what we have learned about next generation technology. This includes private computation and recursive SNARK technology.
We have also been working in quantum cryptography. These are new cryptographic primitives which rely on simulations of quantum computers. We recently published a paper on one-time use signatures. This will be useful in our POS model. This, we believe is groundbreaking work in the cryptographic space.
Generating the CIP process
We hope to pull as much of this into Cardano as possible once it makes commercial sense. The Cardano Foundation has begun pushing hard on the CIP process. We believe they will make an announcement soon on the principles they have pulled together for CIP. We are hiring a dedicated product manager to help coordinate all of the different threads which will go into Voltaire.
Goguen and Shelley are being built in parallel. Basho will be built by an overlay team. Once the Goguen work is done, they will then roll over to focus on Voltaire. We are doing the preliminary work to make sure this is a seamless transition. Basho will include side chain technology as well as interoperability.
We’ve gotten our first performance results from simulations of Ouroboros Hydra. They look good. The exact numbers are still being discussed but we believe that the TTS rate is in the thousands with a lot of room for improvement and scaling beyond that. The base ledger is performing between 50 to 100 TPS. Adding this scaling solution on top will allow us, overtime to become a Visa or Mastercard type system. This will allow us to complete both simple transactions and more complex ones within the same framework. Overall, the Ouroboros research thread is bearing fruit.
The Hydra paper will drop publically after the submission, this will likely happen towards the end of February on eprint. We will likely do a blog post about what we plan on doing with Hydra throughout the year. We are happy with how this research has evolved. This is the first time that our science team, formal methods team, and an industry product manager worked together.
We are still doing some cleaning on the formal specifications of the Goguen side. We are also working on integrating the extended UTXO model in this. The specs are becoming more stable. We will be updating the Ouroboros Chronos paper as well. We will also be updating the BFT, Genesis, and Praos papers. The natural thing to do with this is to bring everything into a book which explains proof-of-stake, end to end.
Updates and new developments
Overall, things are looking good. There will be a product update from our product team this month. We are working with Tim Harrison on the exact dates, but it is likely this will happen towards the end of the month. These updates will then occur on a monthly basis. Every component of Cardano has a product manager\domain expert so it is vital to have their input. It is also important that we have our product and project management to be publicly facing.
Charles Hoskinson will be at the University of Wyoming on the 14th of February. There he will publically announce the donation for a Plutus development lab and for specialized hardware. This makes the University of Wyoming the first university in the world to accept a unique asset. We’re proud to have the University of Wyoming as a part of our research family. While in Wyoming we will also be working with Beefchain.
As always we thank our community for their support. 2020 is off to a great start!