Charles Hoskinson's Whiteboard Presentation on the Atala & Cardano Symbiosis 07/09/2020

Charles Hoskinson’s Whiteboard Presentation on the Atala & Cardano Symbiosis 07/09/2020

(Written by @Eric_Czuleger)

On September 7th 2020 Charles Hoskinson sat down to discuss the difference between Atala and Cardano in a whiteboard video.

The Symbiosis between Atala and Cardano

We would like to discuss the difference between Atala and Cardano. This includes the difference between enterprise\non-enterprise, permissioned\permissionless systems. We would like to clarify the complementary strategy of these two things. Years ago we were building Cardano and many enterprise clients wanted to work with us. They could not go onto permissionless infrastructure because of their lack of control over the platform. However, they wanted to work with partners on a blockchain-like structure. Normally, people will use Fabric for this because of the control over consensus and its chaincode or smart contract logic contained within it.

Many companies use Fabric with partners. Walmart uses this to maintain control and use a somewhat distributed system. WithCardano the infrastructure is in the control of the community. This allows everyone to jump in who maintains the resource which generates consensus. In the Case of Cardano, this is ada. For logic Cardano makes use of smart contracts.

In terms of chaincode and smart contracts they help work with third party infrastructure. Fabric is somewhat agnostic if consensus is permissioned or permissionless. It just performs as programmed. Atala was created to onboard enterprise clients. This would allow both clients and users. Our current deal with the Republic of Georgia gives us access to 50 thousand new users per year. This has the potential to scale to the tourism industry in the country. If it does so then a market of 10 million users will become available to us in short order.

Permissioned and permissionless

The point of permissioned and permissionless systems is that they are not far apart. It allows users to flow between these two systems. This means that clients will soon move to a permissionless infrastructure. However, because users have an identity through decentralized identities (DIDs) as well as public\private keys, it is easy to migrate users from one system to another. Duncan Coutts, our chief technical architect ensured that Cardano could run in both a permissioned and permissionless mode.

This was demonstrated during Byron. As we move into Shelley, more blocks are made by (Ouroboros) Praos which is a permissionless system. This means that Cardano can be deployed as if it were Fabric. We joined the HyperledgerFoundation to talk about this topic. Specifically, we want to run Cardano as if it were a turnkey permissioned system. All of the knowledge we gained from servicing Cardano previously can be ported into the permissionless philosophy of Cardano, this then moves to the permissioned sector.

Layer 2 solutions and beyond

Currently, Atala is focused on layer 2. The first layer 2 solution is Prism, but Hydra will fall under this as well. These pieces of infrastructure will be blockchain agnostic. They can be permissioned or permissionless. Because the DNA of Atala and Cardano are the same, users and transactions can flow between these two systems. We see Atala as a user acquisition machine. We solve problems for enterprises with Atala for the benefit of Cardano. All users will get an economic identity which is portable, this is the goal of Cardano.

This is beautiful because we can highly customize logic for the customer. This also provides a degree of interoperability which can move into the larger Cardano ecosystem. We are writing a big proposal for IOHK’s participation with Cardano. This will sum up everything that we have built for the network and further unification of permissioned and permissionless systems. If we are approved for 2021 then we will call our next phase Gerolamo which will unify permissioned and permissionless systems, essentially creating our Hyperledger Fabric.

Illuminating the differences

This is the difference between Atala and Cardano: Atala is a layer 2 portfolio which adds new capabilities including oracles, identity, and payment channels along with many other capabilities. These will all be blockchain agnostic. We would like to pull Cardano completely into the permissioned/permissionless ecosystem. We did this with Byron and Shelley, but we can keep adding value to it. Sometime in 2021 we can unify this to ensure that people who have been given economic identity can flow into the Cardano ecosystem as a whole.

These are complicated topics to discuss, but ultimately it is about bringing the infrastructure together. We have a simple, easy to use BFT protocol. We have peer-to-peer capabilities being pushed out. Multi-asset and Plutus are imminent. We believe that if and when we get our contract renewal we will have a comprehensive strategy. We learned a lot from Hyperledger. We are now learning more widely how our competitors work. We can now apply this knowledge to how we can be better.

Similarly our permissioned work gave us insight into how enterprise clients work. We are also providing them with low-cost migration between permission and permissionless systems. Furthermore, all clients know that their platforms will eventually only get better. We will continue to grow our Atala portfolio while finding incredible partners to work with us. All of this will be interoperable with Cardano.


How do you use public private keys (PKI) to aid in migrating users from Atala to Cardano? Does this work the opposite direction?

Starting at 4:30
DID as a component makes sense but PKI?