In the nature of his background as a commercial mathematician, as well as his history as one of the founders of Ethereum, Cardano founder Charles Hoskinson is particularly keen on understanding the importance and connection between theory and practice when it comes to blockchain development. Finding the right balance between these two approaches is very difficult, but very important in achieving the standard adoption of crypto. Any blockchain that solves this puzzle first is likely to be a prominent platform for years to come.
That said, these topics can seem daunting to crypto curious, as well as to fans who have been involved in the industry for some time. So, I contacted Hoskinson to have a lively discussion about crypto theory support, consensus approaches, and to distribute computers and look at how their origins fall into the canonical history of mathematics and computer science. This conversation is a bit of a technology, but it does an awesome job of sorting out complex topics in simple terms, often using examples.
Charles Hoskinson: We have published 102 papers over a three-year period. A large part of those 102 papers formed a solid basis for the ideas of all cryptocurrensets, not just Cardano. For example, we wrote a paper called GKL15, which is identified more than 1,000 times, and is a canonical way of looking at what a blockchain is.
Another part of the portfolio is industrial research, in which we said, “Well, now that we have an idea, what can you do? Can you reduce (split) proof of performance? Can you reduce the evidence for the pole? ”Let’s go and build a stall engine. And that doesn’t mean there are some goals but it gives you a sense of potential. For example, if I want to have anonymous medical records or if I want to build a global rating system with billions of residences. What do you really need to do with a protocol designed to make that happen?
And a third of our research portfolio is directly related to the law. How do we take those skills and actually put them into a plan? Now, we go to the engineer, a very special type of engineer called “official engineer” —they read a science paper and actually make a plan. It is almost identical to the architect in a standard contractor; an architect draws these plans, shows you how to build a house, but obviously the builders — the general contractor does that. That’s the hardest part.
Forbes: Many people who come to crypto and blockchain may not realize that the ideas of legitimate agreements and networks did not come from blockchains. Talk a little bit about how that works, rooted in computer science, informing the research you do as it relates to blockchains?
Hoskinson: Distributed systems are one of the oldest areas of computer science – psychologically it is a very simple problem but, in fact, a very complex one. One of the pioneers was Leslie Lamport. He wrote some basic papers – for example, Lamport clocks, about how to keep time in a distributed system. That was back in the 1970’s. He also wrote Paxos, a protocol for distributed applications. That was the first “Byzantine resistance.” But the basic premise is that the moment you leave the comfort of your laptop or your phone or computer and enter the web – a distributed system – then your perception of events and reality is different from what others see and reality.
For example, suppose you are closer to Michael’s computer than Jenny is. If something happens to Michael’s computer, he thinks it happened first, but Jenny will think it happened a second time. So if you were ordering these items, Jenny would put: Michael – 2. You can place: Michael – 1. The point of algorithms for keeping track of time is to create a single logical clock or one logical event sequence, and text order. Why is this important? Suppose you are using a financial system. Who gets the trade if two bids go in at the same time? Did it go to Alice or Bob? Yes, depending on how you order things will determine you. So, it’s very simple to say: “We’ll just choose a standard point-of-service central server, like Microsoft’s server in Washington, and whatever order you give us, that’s fine.” But if you are actually in a distributed system where no one is in charge or special than the other person, it turns out that that is a very, very serious problem. Especially if you agree with the so-called Byzantine characters – people who can lie and deceive.
Forbes: This leads me to proof of work / that the question of the pole. One of Cardano’s signature marks was the consensus of the Ouroboros. Many may not be aware that there are various types of stake evidence. Can you break it?
Hoskinson: First of all, whether you are a proof of a stake or a proof of work, you can have three things to accomplish with an algorithm of compatibility. First, you have to choose someone who will be in charge for a while. And that could be a block or an Epoch, but a certain period of time. And that person has to do something with that power, so they make a block. After that they should spread the word to everyone in the network, and the network should accept it. It’s like a poker game: you have to choose someone who will be a merchant, and that person mixes the cards and uses them. After that the players pick up the cards, look at the tables and choose to accept them as they are or refuse. So for example, when you get a handful of cards with five aces you can say that something is basically wrong with the deck. Because the deck should have only four aces, right?