Charles Hoskinson Random Thoughts & AMA - 25/03/2020
(Written by @Eric_Czuleger)
On March 25th 2020 Charles Hoskinson sat down to share his random thoughts and updates. There he discussed recent global events along with key milestones in the development of Cardano and IOHK.
The next project management update will be on March 31st and we believe that it will be live in order to include community interactions
We are finalizing research agreements around PubSub, Poldercast, and quantum resistance.
We take three key lessons from the recent pandemic. The US is willing to print unlimited money, the world has not found a way to coordinate against global threats, and innovation must rise to modern challenges.
IOHK is still subject to corporate censorship on behalf of Wikipedia.
IOHK will pursue this matter more aggressively after Shelley has been shipped.
We are going to have the next product management update on March 31st. This one will be live and it will include Q&A in order to give our supporters a chance to meet our product managers. While we are still hiring PMs the ones who are participating can cover a large chunk of the Cardano product. Alongside them we are hoping to add additional staff like Romain Pellerin, Ger Moroney, and Tamara Haasen. We would also like to get a Yoroi update during this meeting.
We recently released the Byron reboot video released by Tim Harrison. That covers a lot of the USPs of the reboot and explains why it is a significant event for us. We are preparing a significant amount of content around both the Byron reboot and Hydra and this will be out shortly. We have a lot of information coming out at the moment and we want to get it out to as many people as possible.
In terms of releases, Aparna Jue will announce the reboot. As mentioned previously, this will be a rolling release. We hope to have the command line version of it ready for enterprises and exchanges that will include the node and the wallet back end first. We will then release the GUI after that. We have thought about copying what Google is doing with Chrome Canary with Daedalus. Namely, we have considered having a more experimental version with rapid upgrades. This will continue to be discussed.
As we enter into April we will have a completely different way of communicating about and releasing software than in the previous 18 months. This is the result of resilience and determination while never compromising on integrity. We also have more papers coming out. If users go to the IOHK research site they will see that the paper count has grown to 62. Many of these are currently under peer review.
We are finalizing research agreements at the moment. We would like to gain more knowledge about PubSub and we have already learned a good deal about Poldercast. We are currently in discussion with bringing the creator on to do directed research for Poldercast 2. This would include lessons learned on both the Haskell side and the Rust side in order to get a Pub/Sub system that works well for us.
We are still waiting on the post quantum signature scheme for block-signing. While we expected it sooner academic work takes time and it will soon arrive with the associated code. It will be a hash based crypto scheme used to sign blocks that stake pools make. It will add some degree of quantum resistance to our protocol. Unfortunately, until we have a post quantum VRF we can’t close the quantum resistance gap. We also need to formally modify our security proofs to include a quantum adversary. There are also open questions about aggregate signatures like BLS and if zero-knowledge crypto is portable to the post quantum world. This is not currently mission critical since quantum computers don’t exist at scale at the moment. The important thing is establishing the path forward.
Moving on in spite of COVID-19
Otherwise things are shaping up nicely from Voltaire and Hydra to smart contracts. In spite of this global pandemic IOHK is moving just as quickly if not faster than previously. Previously Charles Hoskinson speculated on what will occur in the United States. The facts in evidence are that the US was previously aware of how serious COVID-19 was in January and February. Unfortunately, the US response was lax.
While travel bans have been enforced, we did not push for a coordinated response between the states and the government. In a country of 300 million people run on a federated system divided by politics it is difficult to get action to happen in a unified way. However we have seen a ramp up in testing as well as public private partnerships. There have also been around 70 drugs identified which might have therapeutic value. Many of these drugs will finish their first rounds of study in April. If these drugs prove successful they will substantially reduce the mortality rate among the most vulnerable. This is a great win.
The drug hydroxychloroquine was studied in a sample size of 30 to 40 individuals as a cure for coronavirus. This is not a large enough sample size for significant insurance. There are more studies coming out currently and we hope to see that there is therapeutic value in it. However, there is a shortage of the drug due to stockpiling. There are also some other severe antiviral drugs which are candidates for therapeutic use.
We believe that in the next 30 to 45 days there will be proof that some of these drugs work. At that point, we do not believe that there will be a mass quarantine. It is likely that there will still be key zones under quarantine in large cities. However, if people are allowed to leave large cities they can spread the disease to areas which cannot handle a large caseload. It is possible that within the next couple weeks there will be a national level quarantine of big cities.
Substantial travel restrictions have already been established within the US. This will likely continue through the next couple weeks. We don’t believe that we will see a large scale quarantine in the US for between 6 and 9 months. It is possible that it will continue up to 8 weeks. Cases are still doubling every four days or so even in sparsely populated areas.
It appears that the 80-15-5 rule which follows for influenza is following for COVID-19. 80 percent of people will get it, 15 percent will get a severe case, and 5 percent will need intensive care. In the case of Italy the mortality rate has been incredibly high. There are three lessons to take from the pandemic.
Three lessons from COVID-19
The first is that our government is fully prepared to print an unlimited amount of money to maintain order. The bailout will be around $6 trillion. This money is printed out of thin air. We are now printing more money than every single president spent in US history after a few days of debate. This is indicative that the old order will continually print more money to maintain their power. This includes companies who engaged in poor behavior.
This is one of the reasons that IOHK continuously has cash reserves. Major industries are not in a position to survive for 3 to 4 months. There is no “mainstreet” safety net, only Wall Street protectionism. Infinite money is coming. That is the first lesson.
The second lesson is that the world is still bad at coordinated responses to global problems. in spite of our great need to work together we cannot. The ventilator problem is a perfect example of this. We knew previously that a lack of ventilators would be an issue, but we were unable to coordinate resources in order to manage this shortfall. We now have to produce rapidly which could lead to problems down the line. This is only one example. Another would be personal protective equipment.
We could have worked together as the world to help blunt this problem. We didn’t. Ultimately, this is why blockchain is deeply important. Our industry is about consensus, trust, and coordination. Bitcoin started out as being about money, but we have grown since then. With a blockchain, the code prevents cheating and encourages fair play. On the back end of this crisis many people will wonder how we can do better. This will create an interest in our alternative of a global government. The lesson is that this crisis has exposed the vulnerabilities of the current world order.
Innovating through catastrophe
The third lesson revolves around innovation. At some point in the future we assume that rapid testing for illness will be possible upon entrance of a country. Rapid test kits are currently being developed for COVID-19. This opens up the question of digital identity or a bio-passport. There is some support for the idea that a passport should contain vaccination records or other biomedical information to ensure public health and safety in the country people are visiting. This opens up questions about the portability of health records.
We are now not only talking about money but digital identity. This includes health records, educational credentials, and even social networks. These are all relevant to nation states and employers. They can be owned by governments, meta governments or users. We believe that this is an important conversation to have.
We are currently working on a platform called Prism that uses DID, or the digital identifier which is a standard created by the WC3. This allows one to have an identity and build metadata information around that identity. This would be great for vaccinations, medical records, or any context when people need to own their identity and people need to operate on it. This would still preserve privacy and user control. We hope that this is recognized as a great opportunity for us to have this conversation.
There is concern at the moment that certain senators will be unable to vote because of their illness. Why can’t they vote remotely? Why must they be physically in Washington? Furthermore, why are we cancelling elections? This is related to the identity component and to innovation. We believe that e-voting is crucial to future elections due to the level of participation that we can and will have. On top of that, we can create incredibly secure voting apparatuses.
The solutions that we have constructed can allow anyone to have elections on an incredibly large scale. This would allow them to spin up direct democracy, liquid democracy, or any system one would want to make. We can use the same voting protocols in the Cardano system for bills, leadership, or society level governance.
Leading with optimism
This is a great opportunity for us to make gains in digital identity and voting systems. We will continually push to advocate for blockchain technology propagation throughout the world. On our end we will continually encourage the adoption of blockchain technology in Wyoming where we already have a good foothold. On the back end of this we would like to see Democratic and Republican primaries voting on blockchains. Furthermore, we try to work these solutions into any government that we work with.
We believe that at the end of this we will see negative interest rates. We also believe that the world is on borrowed time given how the economy is set up. This has also exposed global governance issues on a level which people cannot ignore. But, this will lead to an enormous amount of innovation, particularly coming from younger individuals. Our response to this can be cynicism and pessimism or we can respond in a positive way by offering solutions.
This has been mentioned in a previous update. We believe that IOHK is a novel business with novel accomplishments and we have achieved incredible things from partnering with governments to gaining great success in the academic space. However we are still unable to be mentioned on Wikipedia. We believe that this is high level corporate censorships.
We believe that some key editors believe that cryptocurrencies are a scam. This means that crypto is met with a higher level of scrutiny than other projects and companies. These editors have not made their standards available to us. If they did, we would meet their standards and have a page on Wikipedia.
We believe this is evidence that Wikipedia is a failed platform as a crowdsourced platform. There is a known extreme bias against crypto as early as 2010. Bitcoin itself was attacked by Wikimedia. We want to remind everyone that Wikipedia is not a reliable resource.
As long as we are receiving censorship we will begin applying pressure to the organization in order to get an answer as to why we are not mentioned. We remind everyone in the crypto space that this could happen to any project and not just Cardano. It behooves all of us to gain a clear policy from Wikipedia. It is possible that Wikipedia is afraid of being put out of business.
Blockchain technology was created to put the level of accountability which is required for a system like Wikipedia. This could place edit logs in an immutable environment, apply a democratic mandate to editorial decisions and incentivize content creation with a token economy. If censorship like this continues then there is no other choice.
We will not pursue this issue with Wikipedia until after Shelley ships. We are not asking for preferential treatment, we are only asking for fair treatment. We want to be treated the same as other projects. Bias should be kept out entirely. We encourage anyone who donates to Wikipedia to demand an answer about this conduct.