Last night, we had our Developers’ meetup in London. We had fantastic, knowledgeable presenters from IOHK and a great turnout from the community. Special thanks to the London Blockchain Labs, LSE Blockchain Society and UCL for the support and providing a great venue!
Part 1 covers Duncan’s presentation “Insights into Cardano Development: Past, Present and Future”, which you can read about here.
Here, I have recapped the questions and answers from the meetup.
Q&A Session with Duncan, Neil, Philipp and Darko
Questions for this was taken from the community before the event as well as some from the attendees at the event.
1. I notice that in other crypto communities, there is a lot of engagement between the founders, dev teams and the community when big decisions are being made. Cardano not so much. Generating ideas and proofing them is left to “experts”, often just one expert. As someone who has followed economics for 20 years, outcomes predicted by experts have proved to be dubious. Do you really think this approach will outshine the wisdom of crowds?
When it comes to issues like treasury or how crowds behave, IOHK is constructing models and evaluating input from as many people as possible. It is not based on the decision of one person and there are many healthy, lengthy discussions involving many. But to answer the question, ‘no’ since you can’t “crowdsource” cryptography and you need academic experts and mathematics. But conversely, inputs such as what features are important, interesting or useful can definitely come from the community. Additionally, all the specifications are online for review and criticism. So feel free to reach out to IOHK if you see anything that should be noted!
2. Daedalus is too slow to encourage the use of ADA as a payment mechanism. Shouldn’t a light wallet or even a smartphone wallet be moved forward on the roadmap?
Both the light wallet and mobile wallets are in the roadmap and being tackled. The issues of the ‘slow’ wallet (ie. Syncing) are being tackled across 3 fronts:
i) making syncing faster using various engineering tactics that can be done without radically changing the design
ii) mobile lights clients that don’t download all blocks. This mean it will not be fully-trusted, but it could be used to complete functions such as showing your balance.
iii) Light client wallet: here, they are waiting on the science, research and coming cryptography to catch up. As this means the wallet wouldn’t rely on a server at all but would somehow need to establish trust ‘now’ without starting from the very beginning.
3. In terms of how tokens are to be built on the cardano platform will the user interface be simplistic i.e. waves or code based?
At this stage, they do not know what the user interface will look like. But they do aim to have a better experience than eth. The initial release will be code, but later on, will provide better UI, better integration. But it is too early to tell and they plan to share more information soon!
4. How, and by who, are blocks validated? Will there be incentives for validators?
Currently every node validates. The incentive will be to create the next block. But they are currently looking at game theory and incentives, and testing many simulations. This is because you want incentives for slot leaders but not ‘too many’. You want disincentives for people from getting too big. Compare this to bitcoin, which essentially has 5 ‘slot leaders’ or mine pools. This is not full decentralization as these 5 have control of where the chain goes, the rules, and voting on protocol updates. But this happens because the incentives in Bitcoin are to have that accumulation.
In Cardano’s design, they are looking to have a decent number of nodes, and with the ability for people to move their delegation (incentives for the individual). If you are getting poor returns from a massive stake pool, then you would probably move to a smaller pool to get better returns, and because of this, the pools should move more towards equilibrium.
5. Getting involved with Cardano Development: Are there active issues to work on of differing difficulties or are these mostly closed to the public?
The IOHK devs team are looking to improve the communication channels between their team and the greater Cardano community. They are in the process of hiring two community managers that will look after the developer experience.
6. With you plans for more functionalities in the wallet, when can we expect to see these?
IOHK is aiming for rolling, time-based releases. The goal is 6-8 weeks between each release. This time includes the coding, QA, creating release notes and the communications.
Follow up question: How can you still retain quality and stability with so many releases?
In principle, code can be release-able anytime, granted it has passed CI and testing. But there are also non-technical aspects of releases to consider (“ceremonial” aspects like the communications). But overall, there should not be a tradeoff between how long it takes and quality
7. I want to set up a payment system using Ada but I need to check confirmations with names or another way to confirm which user has made payment. How do I do this?
This is similar to how exchanges operate and how addresses are generated. You can build this using the existing rest API.
8. Can you provide an example of a raised issue from the external audits?
There was a bug in a library that Cardano depended on, which was a quick fix by Duncan. There are also internal security audits that turn up issues in the code during development phase, before they are released. As an instance, this sort of audit found the paper wallets were not secure enough and therefore, Darko and his team worked to fix this.
9. Have you looked at the other technologies ie. Hashgraph or Tangle?
Neil has looked at these. Some of their performance claims don’t look to be able to be done across large geographic distances. Whether their convergence time will work is unclear.
10. When will stake pools open for public?
There is no set date but for the best estimate of timeframe, please check out the roadmap.
11. Will Plutus be heavily emphasized over the ‘legacy’ approaches?
Quoting Duncan, the existing EVM style languages are “programming razor blades” meaning you can easily hurt yourself and they are also hard to analyze. However, there is still this option for those already writing EVM, with the virtual machines they are constructing. On the other hand, Plutus will be pushed, because of its simpler use and higher assurance and Marlowe will be pushed for financial contracts, as this has a more obvious argument.
12. Quantum Computers…Are we ready for that?
IOHK is working on quantum resistant signatures, which they ‘think’ will be readily available before quantum computers will be. The signatures will work in 2 parts: i) signatures you use for signing transactions and ii) signatures used for signing blocks. Its essential to have both as someone with a quantum computer could in theory change all the blocks. IOHK have identified quantum computers as a hazard and are trying to mitigate this issue by working with academics and researchers to tackle this.
Hopefully I was able to capture the questions and answers accurately. Keep an eye out for the video of the meetup presentation as we will post it once its ready!