Charles Hoskinson Cardano Updates, AMA and Thoughts on COVID-19
(Written by @Eric_Czuleger)
On April 5th 2020, Charles Hoskinson sat down to give an update on the recent work of IOHK on Cardano. He also discussed developments in the COVID-19 global pandemic.
Alongside the recent technical output, IOHK, the Cardano Foundation and EMURGO are all concentrating their efforts on commercialization and marketing, and McCann’s brand refresh is looking promising.
The Byron reboot is currently percolating through Cardano. Meanwhile, the Root9B audit report will be made available shortly.
IOHK will be presenting on private computation and SNARKS at the ZKProof online workshop in April through May.
April will likely be one of the most difficult months for COVID-19, but we are encouraged by some of the recent medical innovations in terms of testing.
A global level crisis like this has the potential to be used to erode civil liberties and we encourage our supporters to use decentralized tools to make their voices heard
We recently finished a day of collaboration in the marketing, PR, and visuals around Cardano. This is an enormous endeavor and there are many entities involved in presentation, messaging, and explanations. We would like to take a moment to explain how we are doing things.
EMURGO, IOHK, and the Cardano Foundation all have independent marketing departments who have collection of cross-disciplinary individuals. This includes external and internal product marketers as well as community managers. On top of this we have external firms working on commercialization and marketing itself.
Marketing and commercialization
On the commercialization side PwC is spearheading the effort. We had a workshop with them right before the global pandemic. This allowed us to spend three days with IOHK, EMURGO, and the CF together in the PWC offices in London. Working alongside them we had a broad discussion about execution delivery, commercialization, roles, responsibilities, inter corporate communication and messaging. During this time an enormous amount of information was created with teams being built and executables being listed.
Some of this was about vision and mission, including how we can discuss Cardano better. IOHK also works with an organization called April Six. They are a PR organization which specializes in forming strong relationships with good journalists and creating great narratives around our platform. They will help us gain positive press in certain jurisdictions as well as generating more accurate and fair descriptions of our markets and giving us sentiment analysis which involves public perception.
On top of all of this, we are working with McCann. In the beginning they did some work which we were skeptical of. While we saw good work on other fronts Charles criticised the output. We have recently received a new presentation and we’re quite pleased with the work. This included everything from brand to colors to campaigns. This gave us a good deal of hooks which the three entities around Cardano can gather around.
This also means that when Shelley is launched we can launch the brand refresh of Cardano. The most significant part of this will be the relaunch of the Cardano.org website. A large team of people are currently working across our organization with external vendors to rebuild our website as an entry point into the Cardano ecosystem. This will ideally appeal to all stakeholders coming to our community. This includes governments, businesses, users, investors, and even stake pool operators.
Enhancing the brand
We’re confident with the relationship with Cardano going forward. We believe that this is always a spooling up period with external vendors. We’re glad that we got there. This brand refresh will likely take another 6 to 8 weeks. We will also have to do some additional work explaining Ouroboros, Plutus, Marlowe, a DSL proven approach for smart contracts and our multi-asset system. There are certain concepts which we will have to discuss like how voting works and how our system will differ from the ERC standard. It’s also important for people to understand how Adrestia works. Furthermore, Cardano docs is being completely rewritten. All of this will be happening within the next 6 to 8 weeks.
Marketing is underway and there are currently multiple entities working full time on getting things to the point where we can have an aggressive campaign that shows why we are unique and why we are the best platform to utilize. With that being said we would like to say “good work” to McCann and we’re looking forward to more good output.
Byron and remediation
In terms of the Byron reboot, we have released Flight and received 27 support tickets so far. We are going to cut another Flight release for Monday. Overall we are quite happy with what we have seen and the response that we have had alongside flight. Shortly thereafter will push the changes to the Classic Daedalus. We will then keep the roll out plan for the Byron reboot. We believe that most of the reboot will be percolated through Cardano by mid April.
Meanwhile we are in remediation for the report generated by Root9B. When that occurs and the organization is comfortable we will publicly release the audit report. We believe that this was a very worthwhile audit with the Root9B crew. We will likely engage them for deeper scrutiny of our system in the future. There is a lot of cryptography which is used in Cardano including verified random functions to new types of signature schemes. Things like this which are specific for Cardano so we need to spend a good amount of time auditing our bespoke software.
We have an internal group that does this as well. They have been with us for two years and their job is to look at our designs and specifications. We are uniquely suited to deal with this type of code and to write this code safely. These are mostly formalities. We look forward to being able to release the audit report once the remediation is complete. This will likely be in April.
Starting the Haskell discussion
This coming week will involve a deep and detailed discussion around the Shelley Haskell testnet. We have no news on dates as of yet, but now that we are on a regular release cadence. Every week new software is being released. A lot of stuff is coming at the moment that relates directly to Shelley stuff rather than Byron stuff. This is a matter of how we want to handle the Shelley rollout.
The good news is that we found 269 areas for improvement from the post-mortem of the ITN. We also learned an enormous amount from our community on how to improve the user experiences and desirable APIs. We also spoke with Bison Trails about staking as a service. We had many conversations about using SAS companies to delegate user ada through them.
We also signed an agreement with the CF to onboard multisigs on ledger and to allow cold staking on the ledger device. This is all being done in parallel with creating libraries and digesting the Byron reboot. Overall we’re quite happy with the release cadence and that what we thought was happening is happening. Shelley software is working behind the scenes, the Byron reboot is percolating, and marketing is underway.
The monthly product updates will continue. Next week we will narrow down to a couple of vendors the virtual launch of Shelley. We hope to do some advertising for this shortly because we would like as many people as possible to attend. Charles Hoskinson will be attending the online ZKProof workshop.
IOHK will be presenting here and we will be discussing the SNARK that we built. The authors of our private computation paper Kachina and our SNARK Sonic will be presenting about private computation. We believe that this team will help advance the state of the art in terms of zero knowledge cryptography.
In terms of the global COVID-19 pandemic one of our employees has tested positive. This employee is not in a development role. The death toll is now picking up in the United States. The numbers of infected and dead will continue to mount. Over the next two to three weeks we will see a large increase in terms of mortality. This will continue for the next 4 to 6 weeks.
The good news is that there are over 100 clinical trials that are ongoing at the moment. We believe this will result in therapeutics that will be helpful by the end of April. Regardless, the entire world has awoken to this. When we have a test that can tell us if someone has the virus or has had the antibodies, we might be able to see if we can start tamping down the quarantines going on. It remains to be seen where Europe will be.
Flattening the curve
The goal is to get the mortality rate on a par with influenza. While people will die and they will be infected it is likely that governments can deal with this. Mitigations are possible, including wearing masks which can help prevent spreading the disease to others. IOHK is not experiencing any disruption or slow down. In fact we are moving more quickly than ever.
The reality is that while COVID has not disrupted the work it has disrupted the world. This is a tragedy that will change how a lot of things work. One of the big questions here is civil liberties. We cannot have a situation where trillions of dollars are spent and millions of people potentially die in which life just goes back to normal. We will likely have a situation where there is a dramatic attempt to increase government authority. We also believe that there will be a hardening of free travel and borders.
There has been a lot of discussion of medical passports and testing at borders. This could also be used to push a globalist agenda. So we must be careful as a global community to resist unnecessary things. Pandemics happen and they are horrible tragedies. Not too long ago, polio, mumps, and TB caused millions of deaths. We have been able to get rid of many of these things and we have not had to trade our privacy, liberty and freedom to deal with these pandemics. It would be utterly unreasonable to push these agendas to force people to get rid of their privacy and autonomy.
This is a time of great innovation. A micro-needle vaccine has just been produced by the University of Pittsburgh. This is a great example of innovation. The Roche vaccine shows us what we can accomplish with our backs against the wall. However, this should not be used as an excuse for a massive expansion of government authority for the sake of social isolation and fighting a pandemic.
Decentralizing the solution
This is why cryptocurrencies are important. One cannot criticize an approach without providing an alternate way of doing things. We at IOHK are building a digital identity, voting, and supply chain service. All of these things are meant to build better infrastructure. When US states were asked how many ventilators they had or the PPE they could access we realized quickly that no inventory had been taken. This is an indicator that we need better ways of negotiating supply chains and bartering.
At the moment, states are bidding against one another and the federal government for personal protective equipment. If we had global and universal marketplaces we could implant logic to make sure that business practices were fair for everyone. We believe that the privacy technology that we are working on is particularly important in terms of this crisis.
There is value to tracking individuals who have been impacted by the disease. This allows a system to alert people of their exposure. However, a system could be built which allows this to happen without compromising the privacy of individuals involved.
As the effects of the virus recede we will see that the government overreach likely will not. Powers taken during this time could continue to be expansive. There will also likely be a large financial fallout from the events of COVID-19. The government printed 6 trillion dollars and they will likely print several trillion more. The US government will likely get away with this in the short term, but others will not be so lucky. The appetite for debt and debasement will likely be less significant than ours.
This will likely lead to bad inflation or a recession. This means we will see great political and social change. The government of Hungary has embraced totalitarianism. China will likely have a difficult time dealing with the fallout of this as well. While they have managed to contain Corona, there is still suspicion about the origin and initial coverup of the virus. This will not disappear when the virus does. There will be a great deal of international scrutiny around this. An enhanced trade war or cold war could be a consequence.
We believe this will be a rough six months to a year. Restarting the world will be a difficult endeavor. While we are doing this there will be natural questions about if we should restart the old order or instate something new. These are the moments where freedoms are either enhanced or taken away.
This is akin to September 11th. The consequence of this terrorist attack was war for up to 19 years. Hundreds of thousands of people have been impacted directly or indirectly. We have even seen intergenerational service in Afghanistan or Iraq. This is an extraordinary conflict that came from one attack. This has also meant dramatically enhanced security.
This is a global event and the response will be much larger than September 11th. We believe that if the attack can change the social liberty structure of the US, restrict rights, enhance security and lead to war then we must be careful in how we react to a world-level crisis. It is also possible that this becomes a positive moment where great strides can be made.
This is why it is imperative that we get Shelley and Goguen out in the world. It is also imperative that our community uses the technology built by IOHK to propose solutions to these problems as they come up. If we don’t find solutions for these problems, then others will. It is then likely that these solutions will not be decentralized and this will lead to an eroding of personal liberty. Revolution is the only way that liberties are restored and these are not pleasant affairs.
COVID-19 is a black swan event that we predicted. This is the real deal. However we cannot let the progress that we have made fall by the wayside because of this international tragedy.