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Charles Hoskinson: over 50 full-time engineers working on Cardano

Charles Hoskinson, the founder of Cardano (ADA), an open-source, public blockchain network for creating decentralized applications (dApps), has clarified that his team of developers are “building a product that is based upon new science and new ideas.”

Hoskinson, the CEO at Input Output Hong Kong (IOHK), a research and development (R&D) firm focused on cryptography and distributed systems, confirmed that his colleagues remain committed to developing the Cardano protocol in an “open and transparent” manner.

Cardano Project Involves Time-Consuming Research And Development

Responding to the recent criticism regarding the delay in the launch of Shelley, a major upcoming Cardano network upgrade that intends to bring “full decentralization” to the proof-of-stake (PoS)-based platform, Hoskinson remarked:

“Generally speaking, when this happens in industry, what happens is that the R&D phase concludes before it’s consumerized or productized … So you guys see the end result of projects [that get turned into working products.]”

Going on to mention that consumers only see the end results of “years of effort” that go into developing hi-tech products like the the face scanner for the iPhone, Hoskinson pointed out that had users seen the “early iterations, then [it would seem as if] there’s nothing but delays and missed schedules, and [missed] deadlines.”

According to Hoskinson, this happens because “that’s the nature of building things based upon research.” He added that it’s the researcher’s job to put in their “best effort” but it’s not always guaranteed, or realistic, to aim for always hitting that initial deadline.

Missed Deadlines Doesn’t Mean People Are Incompetent

There will be times, Hoskison explained, that people will miss deadlines, however it doesn’t mean they’re incompetent or that they “don’t know what they’re doing.” It’s because “these are new things that have never been done before.” For example:

“There are many buildings in London…when people decided to build a skyscraper somewhere…when they started digging, they discovered corpses [among other things.]”

He continued:

“They had to bring in people to study them and [assess] how old the [fossils and other buried items] were, where they’re from, what museum do we take them, etc.” Because this can be a time-consuming process, it can cause unexpected delays, Hoskinson said.

Hoskinson further noted:

“When you’re doing new things, when you’re pioneering, occasionally, every now and then, you have a delay. Again, these delays aren’t because [people are not qualified to handle the tasks. It’s also not because of] lack of resources or lack of knowledge. It’s because of the newness behind the protocols or because you discover things that make you change things along the way.”

The Analytics Number Theory dropout from the University of Colorado, Boulder, stated that his team of researchers released Shelley’s formal specifications sometime back. At that point, Hoskinson claimed:

“[The protocol was] pretty solid and we were really not [planning on] making many changes. [The specifications were the result of researchers] spending many months studying these things, building prototypes for these things, and [designing] proofs of concepts for these things.”

Cardano Project Has “More Than Fifty Full-Time Engineers”

Hoskinson again emphasized that the Cardano project developers have always been very transparent about how they’ve been conducting their research and how they’re approaching the ongoing development of the smart contract platform. He remarked:

“If you go to [Cardano project’s] Github repositories, as many of you have done, you can see the code being committed on a daily basis. As for the question of how large is the engineering team, more than fifty full-time engineers. This can be verified from the Github repositories.”

Moreover, Hoskinson pointed out that the Cardano project was ranked first for the number of Github commits sometime back. He also clarified that “Atala” is an enterprise-grade blockchain framework written in Scala and the Cardano protocol has been written in Rust and the Haskell programming language.

“There Are No Cardano Developers Working On Atala”

Hoskinson further mentioned that there “are no Cardano developers currently working on Atala.” He explained that Atala and Cardano are “completely separate” projects “in terms of their codebase and engineering acumen.” Interestingly, Hoskinson revealed that his colleagues have been “moving people from Atala to the Cardano project.”

Per the Ethereum co-founder, “the flow of people is moving not in the Cardano to Atala direction, it’s actually the Atala to Cardano direction.” He also noted that his team of developers has been working on Atala for “over two years” and that “it’s a parallel project.” The reason for writing Atala in Scala, Hoskinson said, was to ensure that the resources for the Cardano project weren’t used to develop Atala.

Helping People “Solve A Problem They Have” Will Increase Crypto Adoption

One of the main goals of these projects, Hoskinson stressed, is to encourage people who don’t use cryptocurrencies to begin using them in their everyday lives. In order to effectively spread awareness about blockchain-based digital currencies, Hoskinson cautioned against trying to sell people a token. Instead, he recommended actually helping people by introducing them to cryptocurrency projects that help “solve a problem they have.”

Hoskinson also criticized the approach of misusing technology in order to sell products and make quick profits. For instance, he cautioned against using public networks in cases where you have internet of things (IoT)-powered devices which have “millions of readings”

These readings, Hoskinson noted, are captured on a daily basis from numerous sensors. To put all these processes and their associated data on a blockchain while also trying to store terabytes of data would not be the appropriate application of distributed ledger technology (DLT).

Real-World Use Cases: Remittances, Insurance, Microfinance

“[Blockchains] were never meant to be used this way,” Hoskinson argued. He added:

“It makes a hell of a lot of sense to have a private strategy that works in tandem with an open system and you put these two things together. One brings users into the other system. Users who’ve never been in the cryptocurrency space. Users who have no preferences. And, users who are there because you solved a problem for them. And, now are using that system to solve other problems such as [fulfilling the need for services including] remittances, insurance, and microfinance.”

Hoskinson also addressed recent accusations against the Cardano project developers, which claim that the Atala project has been launched in order to serve as a “distraction.” According to Hoskinson, critics argue that Cardano’s development team is trying to confuse people, or use a “bait and switch” tactic by moving over to a permissioned ledger system.

He continued:

“Our two options were to build something in-house that’s guaranteed to be interoperable with Cardano or use [Hyperledger] Fabric or some other framework like that.”

Hoskinson added:

“It’s amazing that the same people that criticized us for Atala were people who were praising Ethereum for ‘Enterprise Ethereum.’ Enterprise Ethereum doesn’t use Ether, Enterprise Ethereum is a completely different codebase and technology stack than Ethereum itself. So tell me, were the synergies there?”

The Cardano founder questioned:

“How can you praise Microsoft and all these other people for joining the Ethereum Enterprise Alliance (EEA) and [going with the narrative that] this is going to be the dawn of Ethereum? But somehow Atala won’t add equivalent value to Cardano. It’s idiocy and stupidity…and these questions are just extraordinary to me.”

Hoskinson also mentioned:

“A lot of progress has been made. There are multiple clients now, light clients, full clients, there are paper wallet generators on our side and on Merco’s side. [We also] have a new blockchain explorer coming out, multiple codebases. And, these things are evolving rapidly and they have great release schedules. We’re starting to modularize the software. We’re starting to harden the software. We’re starting to make the software more enterprise-grade.”

Hoskinson further noted:

“We’re not slowing down, we’re speeding up. I’m in Mongolia, not for vacation, we’re meeting with ministers and we’ll probably have a meeting with the President [of the country.] … We’re going to talk about problems like 18% of the medicine [in Mongolia] is counterfeited or adulterated and 40% in the rural areas is counterfeited or adulterated. So how do you put a traceability program like what pharma trust has done. We’re talking about the fact that 93% of the people here have some access to mobile banking and 30% receive government disbursements, [but at] enormous costs.”

It’s About “Bringing New Users To The Crypto Space”

The IOHK CEO revealed:

“We’re talking about the fact that the Asian Development Bank has put hundreds of millions of dollars for various projects and the audit trail is not so good here (in Mongolia). These are real, complicated situations and blockchain comes in as part of that solution. Should we get just one solution in, we can bring hundreds of thousands of [new] users into the cryptocurrency ecosystem. And now they’re your customers just as much as they’re mine because you can now build dApps to service them for things they’d like to do. That’s what I do. That’s my job. I don’t write code. I have 50+ engineers just on the Cardano side who write code for that.”

Hoskinson concluded:

“If you have concerns about the roadmap or the testnet, just be patient. These things come and when they come, they’re going to be great. And, we’ll work our way through parts that aren’t so great. But this has always been a long-term project. It’s always been a methodical project. It’s always been a project based upon evidence. And, the evidence is clear, the Githubs are open, the science papers we’ve written are all on the web, 40+ of them. We continue to get accepted at EuroCrypt and CCS and all conferences. We continue to write papers. We continue to write code. And our ecosystem continues to grow.”

Read More:

Uncensorable News: Or how the Blockstream satellite became an essential source of information

IOHK may split from Cardano Foundation over “lack of performance”

Blockchain and the Internet of Things: A match made in heaven

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