Charles Hoskinson Cardano Update and Easter Message - 13/04/2020
On April 13th 2020 Charles Hoskinson sat down for an update. There he talked about the absorption of Byron and the upcoming Shelley Era.
The Byron reboot is percolating through the system and flight candidates have been rolling out.
We will begin running Shelley nodes internally and start a testnet with invited stake pool operators to gain feedback ahead of opening it to the public.
The Root9B audit is in remediation and we will soon release our report based on their work.
IOHK suggests that a further audit be performed with Root9B or another acceptable vendor.
In terms of marketing we will focus on explaining what we have done while casting a wide net for greater general audience understanding.
Rolling out Byron
We are in the middle of the Byron reboot which has been successfully rolling out. We have rolled out two flight candidates with a third on the way next week. We have made some improvements to the windows side as well as syncing times, around 30 to 50 percent for most users. We also helped fix some network issues with windows. These issues occurred because from development we gain with Linux and Mac. However, this was more an interoperability issue than a design issue.
We recently cut Cardano Node 1.10 with the Windows improvements which will work their way to the Daedalus Flight candidate. The next release will likely happen on Tuesday or Wednesday. In the week following we will likely update the mainnet Daedalus to absorb the Flight adaptations. This will be a substantial upgrade.
Byron to Shelley
All users have reported improvements including Windows users. We have also replaced two of the core consensus nodes. So we are now running two of the seven core consensus nodes with the reboot code. The network stack for the Byron reboot will be used with Shelley, so we are now testing the network infrastructure on Shelley. This is happening live. The Wallet backend design is also the same which will be used for Shelley, so we have derisked features with the ITN. The user experience for Shelley will be similar to the ITN and it is ready to go. It just has to be turned on. At the moment we are waiting for the wallet backend to be fully integrated with the Haskell node and for the Shelley node to be turned on.
The Byron reboot was 18 months of work in different silos which came together. Now that it is underway and moving through the network during April, this derisks all the components we need to pull together for Shelley. We should have a running Shelley node internally fairly soon. We will have the big stake pool operators on the ITN side become the early adopters of the Haskell internal node. So we will have a node and a CLI for them. Working together we will be able to make sure that they are having a good experience.
This will also give them the opportunity to ask questions and see how everything works. Once we have pulled more things together we will open it up to a general testnet across all of Cardano. The next wave will then come in and receive support from IOHK as well as our ambassadors and early stake pool adopters. This will allow us to move everyone in an operational role from the ITN to the Haskell side.
Private to public
The next testnet will be connecting the wallet backend to the Cardano node. That will be the balance check. This will allow one to enter key words into client software so that mainnet wallets and testnet earnings will be able to be consolidated together. By doing this as a testnet we will be able to solve any issues with accounting. Once we hit mainnet this will not be possible. We will then run the Haskell testnet for a bit and bring the pieces together. Once it has been running for a bit, then once it is turned on to the mainnet then we will have begun the Shelley Era.
The audit from Root9B is currently in remediation. This should be mostly done by April 17th. After that, pending permission from Root9B, we should be able to release the audit report publicly. There might be some delay, but users should be able to see that we have fixed the problems that were identified. This was the first static audit that Root9B did for us. There is another audit which can be performed for more dynamic information. This will deeply examine the design, protocols and software. The Cardano Foundation has begun negotiations with the organization to perform this work. This should be done once a generation and the move to the Shelley era is a good time to do this.
The CF will make an announcement about their negotiations with Root9B. IOHK recommends this secondary audit to ensure that the software is as solid as possible. A next generation audit could give us more design improvements which can be upgraded over time as each era approaches. We do have an internal audit team as well. They have discovered numerous issues as we check with them during the regular process of spec writing. We try to use industry standard practices so it has been easy to deal with an audit and audit remediation. We are happy with the relationships with both of our extern and internal auditors.
The Byron reboot has been relatively bug free which is a rare occurrence. More information will be released at the monthly town hall with Aparna Jue. The next will happen towards the end of March. This should contain a good deal of Shelley related news and possibly some dates. It will also include a postmortem on the Byron reboot rollout. These townhalls will happen every month.
Moving towards governance
We are currently having productive meetings in terms of governance. Cardano improvement proposals, enhancement proposals, funding streams and Voltaire have all been under discussion recently. This will show us how to practically implement the Voltaire protocols. Our explorer, smart contracts and Prism, our identity system is coming along soon and we are looking forward to pulling these into Cardano.
In terms of smart contracts we are beginning to get to a point where we can have third party developers come in and see how they can work with Cardano. This will be crucial to launching the Goguen Era. Meanwhile, Shelley is coming along quickly. Commits and developments are constantly happening, even on the Easter Holiday. We look forward to reminding our critics that we are here and moving forward.
In terms of Wikipedia, some of our community members have been working on a draft which goes along with the Wikipedia standards. We wish them well and hope that the page appears soon. We hope this is remediated soon. Meanwhile, we are creating content around Ouroboros very aggressively. The time has come to explain the papers that we have already written. It is important that people know we have solved most of the major problems with proof-of-stake.
It is crucial that we explain why Cardano does not suffer from attacks like long range, nothing at stake, grinding attacks and stake bleeding. We also must explain the concept of exogenous versus endogenous consensus while also talking about the difference between proof-of-work and proof-of-stake. We believe that this is a more stable and sensible platform because value is connected to the overall security of the system. Needless to say there is a great deal of content which needs to be produced.
Research to reduce tradeoffs
In terms of marketing we are currently answering the USPs of Cardano. One question that comes up is ‘Why do we do research?’ The reality is that every protocol in distribution has a trade off profile. You get X but also give up Y. Drugs are a good example of this. While a drug might cure a disease it could have deleterious side effects. The point of research is to mitigate the tradeoffs while keeping the benefits. In terms of cryptocurrencies each component has a tradeoff in terms of performance, security, or less decentralization for example. Science gives us the benefits but mutes the downsides.
We wanted a system which is fast and secure. We also wanted to stay away from the down sides of centralization or high energy consumption. Every part of our system, like Plutus, Marlowe, and the extended UTXO model has been examined by looking at the tradeoffs that the industry as a whole suffered for. We tried to design the best possible version which left behind the tradeoffs. To this end we believe that we have substantially moved the ball forward.
Media reports recently stated that Charles Hoskinson said that Cardano’s development was more significant than Bitcoin. This was misinterpreted. What he meant was that Cardano has created a scientific foundation that was absent from Bitcoin, Ethereum and other projects in the space. Cardano has left behind open source peer-reviewed designs. All projects can benefit from our research. This was not something done with Bitcoin. Cardano has made more significant contributions than Bitcoin in terms of the papers which IOHK has published.
Furthermore, we have written a great deal of code and specifications. Our wallet specifications are a good model for anyone who would want to build a UTXO wallet. This would alleviate them from any problems easily encountered while undertaking this tactic. While someone may disagree with some of our findings we wanted to separate opinion from good design and real science. We feel that over the last five years we have achieved this. The media has not given us the proper nuance and so it was important for us to clarify this up front.
This is one of the reasons that marketing is crucial. We must explain what we have constructed. We must also show that we have the best path to a sustainable, upgradeable, and fair blockchain platform. This includes creating a decentralized way for participation and dealing with problems quickly. We can constantly have a new flow of information. These are the things that really matter when looking at how a project will behave well into the future.
This is essential for high finance, government technology, and Fortune 500 companies. In everything we do we try to telegraph everything for a long time ahead. This is why it is puzzling that our critics meet us with vitriol. We invite everyone to listen to the plans we have previously announced in order to understand where we are going into the future. Look no further than the work we have done throughout the series of testnets we have made to see this at work.
Our marketing must exist along two different dimensions. First we have to articulate what we have accomplished. Secondarily we must be as open as possible to bring a wide audience into what we are doing. Working with McCann, April 6, and all of our marketing teams will develop a great deal of confidence that the content on the way will support these dimensions. We must also continually talk with the community. We are doing product manager updates as well as weekly and bi-weekly updates on key components. It is also important to enhance our surrogacy. We would love to see an enterprise and developer related ‘Cardano Effect.’ This could eventually be funded by the Cardano Blockchain. Initiatives like this should be developing shortly.
We have also recently changed the experience of listing ada. In the later part of this month the first generation of the new libraries for Adrestia will be available. This should make it easier for exchanges who care to list ada to do that. These libraries will eventually contain a great deal of information about staking. It will ensure that there is a unified experience with ada and allow communities to form in an open source way. It is important that we build in an open and decentralized community driven way. This speeds things up, lowers complexity and helps us get to fine grain detail.
In conclusion, Byron is being absorbed. The Flight candidate is being released followed by an update to Classic Daedalus. We will soon find out when we will stop support for the SL codebase. Shelley features will be turned on with a closed testnet. This will provide us with trusted feedback. This will then turn into an open beta testnet. This will not be an incentivized testnet because it will not run for a long time.
The Haskell testnet is built to help configuration. Shortly after this we will turn on the balance check to make sure that funds have transferred correctly. Following this we will begin turning on the Shelley components. Because of the Ouroboros BFT design we can switch over the network easily. Epoch by epoch more slots will be made available to stake pools. This has a control mechanism based on network quality. We will create a blog post based upon how this will all look. In essence we have built everything to make everything as graceful as possible. Ideally, we would like people to download a piece of software and recover a wallet and be onboard.
Daedalus Flight allows us to add new features like multisig and ledger support. We are also getting close to achieving a regular release calendar. We believe that the richness of everything including documentation, releases, and communication will increase shortly. The new documentation should be done by June.
When we announce the virtual summit we will also announce the launch of Shelley. We hope to do this at the virtual event that we are planning.