Charles Hoskinson Surprise AMA - 16/02/2020
(Written by @Eric_Czuleger)
On Sunday February 16th 2020, Charles Hoskinson sat down for a surprise AMA. There he discussed the importance of the OBFT hard fork as well as the Byron reboot. He also spoke about the recent donation of ada that IOHK made to the University of Wyoming. Hyperlinks to AMA questions are listed below.
-The OBFT hard fork will be initialized in under the next five days, pending the clearance of the update proposal which was made on the 15th of February.
-After the completion of the OBFT hard fork, the Byron reboot will be shipped to the end user, this will occur in March.
-The Haskell testnet will occur as two testnets, the first will be the migration testnet which will allow stake pools from the ITN to migrate to the Haskell side. The second, will be the balance check testnet.
-IOHK recently made a donation of ada to the University of Wyoming to begin a blockchain laboratory and curriculum. The focus of this lab will be developing hardware and training programmers in Plutus.
-Identity, metadata, oracles, multi-assets, and rich smart contracts are all being explored for Goguen.
Oncoming hard fork
The OBFT hard fork will be initialized in under five days. We submitted the update proposal on the 15th of February. It generally takes around five days for a proposal to be accepted by the network. Once the OBFT hard fork is in place, all of the core nodes and relay nodes will be running the completely rewritten Cardano client. This is the culmination of 18 months of hard engineering and experience. This has taught us a great deal and we’re proud of the work it took to bring it to market.
This also took a great deal of collaboration with our partners. It included work on the explorer and remodualizing everything which allows us to add rapidly to our codebase. After the update has cleared, the Byron reboot will be shipped to the end user. This means those that use Daedalus will see greatly improved performance.
We believe that this will improve the Daedalus user experience. We’re aware that there have been difficulties for some time. This Haskell node is a complete rewrite of everything that we have done. This is a massive amount of code. We are looking forward to bringing it to market.
The memory footprint is considerably lower, it is also much faster in terms of syncing and recovery. The Byron node reboot will come in March. The next milestone after that will be the Shelley Haskell testnet. There are two Shelley Haskell testnets. They will only run for a short period of time. The first is the stakepool migration testnet and the second is the balance check testnet.
The Haskell testnet
The stake pool migration testnet will allow those with stake pools currently on the ITN, to redeploy their infrastructure on the Haskell side to ensure that it is working. It also gives our exchange partners the ability to make sure that everything they have constructed is functioning. We believe that this will begin the conversation around staking as a service. A good deal of exchange partners have asked about this and we would like to make this process straightforward for everyone.
The next testnet is the balance check testnet. This is for all users in the Cardano ecosystem to verify that they currently have Byron and that the rewards they earned from the ITN have translated over to Haskell. This is a way of checking both accounting sides given the fact that we are merging accounting together.
Things are on schedule with the OBFT hard fork. The user will not have to perform any actions to receive the OBFT hard fork update. All of the work will happen in the background. As for the Byron reboot which will come in March, users will need to download and install the upgrade. It is the largest upgrade in the history of Cardano and we believe that it will increase user experience moving forward.
Working with University of Wyoming
In other news IOHK recently donated a half million dollars worth of ada to the University of Wyoming. This means that the University of Wyoming is the first University in the world to accept a donation of ada. More impressively, we were able to get state-matching funds to match our endowment. On top of that, the University of Wyoming is matching $300 thousand in donations. The end result is a $1.5 million donation to the university.
The purpose of this lab is two fold. The first is to work on trusted hardware. This will take what we did with the New Balance collaboration and develop a chip which can be put into any product for authentication purposes. This could be used to help track the ownership of luxury goods or even livestock.
The second purpose of the IOHK endowment to the University of Wyoming is to generate a knowledge base around Plutus. We hope that the blockchain programming classes moving forward will teach Plutus along with Solidity if not exclusively teaching the former. This would mean that generations of students going through the University of Wyoming program will be taught to program in Plutus.
Should this relationship be successful, it will open the door for us to build relationships with other institutions. It will also give any university in the world a model to emulate the treasury system of Cardano to set up their own lab. In the not too distant future, it is entirely possible that the students of the university could ask for a donation of ada to setup a blockchain R&D laboratory. We hope to see something like this happening among student groups in 2021.
This is the fourth such lab that IOHK has opened. We have labs at the Tokyo University of Technology, The University of Athens, and the University of Edinburgh. We are looking forward to bringing the University of Wyoming into that family. We’re also excited to see great hardware built alongside papers, and code development which can add value to the Cardano ecosystem while advancing the science of the blockchain space with open source peer-reviewed work.
As with all the work we do our work with the University of Wyoming will be open source and patent-free. This includes the hardware. We believe that this is net value for everyone, not just IOHK or Cardano. We are excited to continue working with Wyoming because we believe that it is on the legislative forefront in the United States.
We are particularly inspired by the full-reserve banks which are currently developing in the state. This means that they are not fractional reserve banks. They will be capable of handling both crypto and fiat assets. They will be instrumental in creating custodial solutions and stablecoins. We believe that in the next 5 to 10 years a great deal of jobs will be created out of this hotbed of activity. Furthermore, it will help influence US federal policy. We’re honored to be working closely with Wyoming and the University of Wyoming.
Looking towards Goguen
Charles Hoskinson recently went to ETHDenver. This is a large meeting of programmers in Colorado. This was a good event where he was able to meet with key individuals working in DeFi, and decentralized applications. He was also there to develop relationships which may become collaborations. These partnerships will become increasingly important in the run up to Goguen
We believe that ecosystems are not just for building smart contracts. Smart contracts are consumers of services. Projects like Chainlink or MakerDAO add stablecoin and oracle support. People developing DeFi applications require these utilities to make them useful.
Necessities for Goguen
For Cardano to be a useful platform we need to develop a robust multi-asset standard. We also need oracle solutions which can insert information into Cardano for smart contracts to consume. This could be timestamps, random numbers or real world events. We also need a metadata standard.
One example of this would be the password manager, LastPass. A password is a personal thing, but it is also information that needs to be kept in the cloud. As users move around and use various devices they trust that their passwords will come with them. However, in the case of LastPass, they are trusting their passwords to a centralized system. If the business goes bankrupt it will become quite difficult to keep your personal security and sync personal devices.
A way around this would be taking the server that holds the passwords and swapping it for a blockchain. This would be a data-as-a-service example. We could ensure security by double encrypting. A password would be used to decrypt the original encryption key, the user would then have the second encryption key which would be decrypted using a PGP key.
This would mean that any device which could connect to Cardano would be able to connect to a personal data record and locally decrypt it. This would be censorship resistant and immutable. This is just an example of replacing one legacy central power and removing a middleman of necessity.
Considering smart contracts
Smart contracts usually refer to a repository of data. These data come in all shapes and sizes. Cardano will also need metadata, multi-assets, rich smart contracts, and identity. We have reached a point where regulated transactions are happening. We are now starting to use blockchains for legal things, this means that identity must be able to be connected to transactions when it is useful to the consumer and regulator.
This can be done through layer 2 solutions. It can also be done through a universal primitive like a decentralized identifier (DID) and then allow that to be embedded in transactions themselves. These could be encrypted or unencrypted. When this type of service is offered, a user can attest that a chain of history belongs to them. It will allow them to choose who they share their personal history with.
This is a requirement for applications and regulations, especially in security tokens. This could also massively improve security through exchanges. The reason for this is, when doing KYC on an exchange, a customer will be able to include a DID. When a customer goes to make a withdrawal they will be able to sign with their DID. This protects the account from hackers withdrawing assets on a customer’s behalf because they will likely not have access to the consumer’s DID.
Goguen will have these utilities. Prism is the identity utility. We will also include oracles, and metadata. We are also considering building or partnering with a stablecoin. Goguen will be particularly exciting because we will partner with people and build things. Ultimately, there are a lot of great projects we will be able to accomplish once Goguen is ready.