IOHK CEO Goes Live on Surprise AMA
IOHK CEO, Charles Hoskinson, recently went live on a surprise AMA session on his YouTube channel. For those of you who don’t know, IOHK is the company behind Cardano (ADA).
The AMA started with Charles being asked about his thoughts on Lightning Liquid Network and whether that would lead to centralization. He started his answer by taking it to the roots of centralization and what causes it with Bitcoin as an example:
“I get this question a lot and it’s an interesting question—what is centralization, what leads to centralization. Right now, if you look at the structure of Bitcoin, a very strong argument can be made that a very small group of people—less than 10—who own mining interests, mining pools, and mining capacity, are basically in control of more than 51 percent of the hash power. So, from a certain perspective, if that is your only metric of decentralization, it would be perfectly reasonable to say that this is a somewhat centralized system.”
He then continued:
“That said, there are developers, there are exchanges, there are checks and balances and when the system is pushed too far in a direction, there’s always the opportunity to fork when people have philosophical disagreements. The two most prominent examples of that are Bitcoin Cash and Ethereum Classic. So, given the threat of forks in the event that people don’t do their job, and given that there is diversity amongst developers and diversity amongst all of the actors, from that perspective, one could make the argument that Bitcoin, for example, is a decentralized protocol. The truth is probably somewhere in between. Where it gets interesting is when you start talking about services that exist in parallel or on top of the Bitcoin network or blockchain as a whole—things like the lightning network or the sidechains which are in some way connected or reliant on the master chain and require some degree of a federation to work.”
He then explained how Bitcoin used to be ten years back when the entire network could be shut off by simply shutting off the single mining node belonging to its creator, Satoshi Nakamoto. Using this example, he explained how the lightning network wouldn’t make Cardano (ADA) centralized.
Moving on to the next question asking him about why he waited till the guardians demanded action to take action, he replied:
“We didn’t wait. We’ve been taking actions for months and months and frankly about two years in the relationship but we try to take actions with diplomacy and as adults. We had many meetings—in some cases more than 14 or 15 people in the meeting. We tried every avenue to build effective, positive relationships over differential. We invited the foundation to attend events that we held, we allowed IOHK developers to stop working on the protocol to go to the community events the foundation held, we made recommendations for people we felt would be great scientists and engineers to join, we offered to help the foundation construct a research program where we express questions about distributed futures and its incredibly important to understand is at the launch of Cardano, when we had many things to do, it would’ve been incredibly counterproductive for a massive public fight between our community and the foundation as a whole. And at that point, we had yet to exhaust all diplomatic options. We were already planning to make some form of a statement at some point if things could not move on. We were exceedingly frustrated with the lack of financial transparency of the foundation and we were promised that audit financials would be released so we could understand things like executive remuneration. The Cardano Foundation had a very long window of time—more than a year—to audit their books and to produce audited financials. And when it became clear to us that those financials would be unlikely to be released in any reasonable amount of time, that was the last straw for us from a diplomatic viewpoint.”