(Written by @Eric_Czuleger - IOHK)
On December 25th, Charles Hoskinson sat down to give a brief update on the future of Cardano before the New Year. There, he thanked everyone involved with ensuring that the Incentivized Testnet was a success. He also looked forward to 2020 which he anticipates to be one of the most important years for IOHK and Cardano.
- We want to thank everyone who helped to make the ITN a success, this includes outside participants and developers at IOHK.
- January will be one of our busiest months with the OBFT hard fork and preparation for the launch of the Haskell Shelley Node.
- In 2020 our product managers will begin sharing monthly updates on their piece of the Cardano ecosystem.
- We are laying important groundwork for the future of the platform by refining Plutus, releasing research on Ouroboros Hydra, and developing the CIP process.
- Commercialization, namely finding corporate, and community partnerships\use cases remains our focus in 2020.
Thanking the community
First, we would like to wish everyone a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year. Our teams have been working hard through the beginning of the holiday we want to recognize them for that. Thank you to the people working in QA and dev ops. We also want to thank the beta testers and the stake pool channel participants. It’s also important for us to extend our gratitude to the Jormungandr core team who were supposed to be on vacation but opted to work in order to make sure that a release went out on Christmas Eve.
Thus far the ITN has been a success. We have 500 registered stake pools surpassing our original expectations. We also have dedicated teams working on incentives and the staking experience along with plenty of time to tune. Looking forward, we believe that 2020 will see the highest amount of releases that we’ve ever performed. Every piece of software we have is now on a timed schedule. The wallet backend is weekly, Haskell node is every two weeks and we will be scheduling releases for the Jormungandr team soon.
January will be one of our busiest months. During the first month of 2020 we will likely ship the release of the Byron reboot depending on how long it takes to connect the wallet backend. We’re also going to be doing the OBFT harfork. This will set us up to launch Shelley Mainnet. We’re looking at a February(ish) testnet launch for Haskell Shelley Node. This will take into account all of the lessons that we are learning from the current ITN.
We want the Haskell Shelley testnet experience to be as smooth as possible. This means ensuring that if users are building on the Rust side, there is a way of translating their work into the Haskell side. At the moment, we are in product discussions about making sure that this happens.
Open communications and security
In the coming year we will be changing how we communicate to the wider public. This means that we will have our team of product managers led by Aparna Jue giving monthly briefings. They will include thoughts on their vision, lessons learned, and future goals for each product in the ecosystem. We’re hoping to perform this in an AMA format.
On the safety end, we are working closely with Root9B for a full security audit of all developed code. We believe that this audit and remediation will be complete in January or February. During the first quarter of 2020 we will release our report of the security audit.
Goguen, Plutus, and Hydra
Goguen is coming along well. Our team is working to scale up the Plutus experience. We’re doing this so that developers can prebuild applications for the release of Goguen. We’re currently designing simulations for Ouroboros Hydra and our hope is to have performance data as early as February. We’re also seeing progress on the theory of Ouroboros. Upcoming papers will add some clarity and clear up some loose ends on the Ouroboros protocol.
Soon, we’ll have a unified exchange listing process thanks to the Adrestia
Project which is connected to the Haskell wallet backend. We have unified that with other software including the explorer, making it into one stack. In the end, this should make it much easier for exchanges to list Cardano. We will also onboard lot of features like multi-sig and ledger support with Daedalus.
Looking toward interoperability
We’re also breaking new ground with GHC to JS which is Haskell to Java Script as well as Haskell to web assembly. This will improve the portability of our code, allowing us to bring our work into the web and onto cell phones. This is incredibly important for consumer adoption.
Our work with the Cardano Foundation to create the Cardano Improvement Proposal (CIP) process will be a top priority in the coming year. Governance will become incredibly important in the latter half of 2020. After we ship Shelley we we need to turn Cardano over to the community with idea flow, competition and conversation. The bedrock of this is a process in which the community can participate as well as gaining funding to build projects. The CIP process will be a key stone in the Cardano Foundation’s strategy for the next year.
At IOHK we are cryptographers, mathematicians, and computer scientists, this means that we spend a good deal of time designing voting systems and new technology. However, this is only useful if the community wants to understand and engage with it. This is one of the reasons that we released the Incentivized Testnet. We needed to test our assumptions about community behavior in a real environment. This is the exact same thing when it comes to social dynamics and on-chain governance. We see this as the most important part of Cardano in the long term. The CIP process will lay the groundwork for this development.
We have also begun investing heavily in exploring new technology. We will make an announcement soon regarding a partnership with the University of Wyoming about trusted hardware. We are also going to be working closely with snarks. We think that recursive snarks will be the most important technology of 2020 and we’re looking forward to engaging with Halo.
Building for a billion users
We believe that we have gotten smart contracts right with Plutus. However, the reality is that this technology will only scale with inclusive accountability, namely the ability to verify history without maintaining all the data. In essence, if this is a billion person blockchain it would be too large for a single individual to verify information important to them without maintaining the entire blockchain. Snarks are crucial to being able to verify key information without downloading the entire history. We’re looking forward to working with this technology and contributing to it.
To that end, we’re having a summit in our Edinburgh Lab in late January to look into recursive snark technology. We’re also looking for post-quantum resistance and changing some of the crypto in Cardano in anticipation of the need for threshold signatures for our side-chains ideas. In short, at our core we are still a science and technology company and this new velocity allows us to move very quickly on new additions.
Our focus for 2020 remains the commercialization of Cardano alongside with the Cardano Foundation and Emurgo. We firmly believe that Cardano deserves to be the social and financial operating system of the next century. We also believe that we have created a platform which can serve the needs of a billion users. The only way that we can get there is by building an important set of commercial partners. Many have come to us in an effort to collaborate, and we are actively looking to find equally fruitful partnerships. We’re particularly excited about what the community wants to bring into the platform.
We’ve got a lot of work ahead of us. We need to bring data feeds, identity and other services into Cardano. We’re confident however, that when our community builds on Cardano they will be building on a solid foundation for the future. We know that this is the beginning of a single global market with users in charge of their identity, assets and information.
We’re looking forward to what Cardano achieves in 2020 and we believe that it will be around for a long time to come.