The founder of Cardano had a 4 hour long stream on the 31st of December in his home in Colorado. Having been raised in Hawaii he assures us that his new years eve contained plenty of fireworks as is customary there.
For any one curious about Charles and Cardano I've endeavoured to compile several highlights from the stream and unlike earlier ones I've done you'll find some time links along the article if you want to hear the man himself speak on the subject. It is all in chronological order so that you can easily peruse the video using this article.
Charles starts out by speaking about the brutality of the year, mentioning the 1 million people who have died with Covid across the world and the 330000 in the US. A important subject for 2021 is civility, it seems to Charles that we have lost a lot of it and it would be nice to see some more empathy in people, less cynical mindsets.
"Cardano is going to have a big year next year."
Charles is proud that the stake pool operators have taken over the network. I remember from his last AMA that he mentioned that Cardano was heading for full decentralization in March 2021 but it seems that already there is no central control over the network.
He has been going over historical papers, many about the foundation of the internet, in order to research how to construct proper governance for Cardano. The network must work in a way that it can scale to billions of users without weakening it.
They already know how to do the tech correct, what is needed for the future is social.
"The challenge is the social dynamics, the governance side. I really look forward to that, in fact it looks like I'm going to write a book. There's going to be a lot of work that goes in to it but its going to be a book called blockchain governance, and you're all going to hold me accountable so by this time next year, probably sooner we are going to have a book called blockchain governance and its going to contain in it all the lessons I've learned the organization has learned and other people have learned about governance in general, why its important and what must be done for cryptocurrencies to be successful. And it wont be a academic book it will actually be a practical book in that the things we recommend will have been done or are already done in Cardano itself. So it will be an explanation of how to do things the right way and a demonstration of how we did it."
He throws some shade over Blizzard Entertainment asserting that SC 2: Wings of Liberty was the last good game they ever did. Ever since that it's been nothing but disappointments for him. And if you're curios about how the Diablo 3 storyline could have been better here is 20 minutes of Charles superior version.
Charles is very clear that Polkadot is not a copy of Cardano. Its a original work, although there is some inspiration from Cardano it has key differences which is closer to what Ethereum is. While Cardano instead is closer to Bitcoin:
"Ours is kind of a spiritual successor of what Bitcoin could have accomplished, had Satoshi known more and been more prominent in certain areas"
Polkadot is more of an inspiration of Cardano than a copy. Gavin has clearly read their book but that is nothing strange or bad, the Cardano Project also has inspirations. Ada and Polkadot is not the same as the relation between Bitcoin and Litecoin.
As we progress we learn that Charles is hopeful for the future when it comes to energy. Nuclear research is going to get really good and there will be cheap solar along with wind energy sources. Energy cost will be getting lower. Humanity will geo-engineer through carbon-capture devices. Suck out carbon out of the air and by doing so reverse what has been done the last 200 years. Climate change is nothing to worry about.
Another worry people have is Quantum computing, the boogie man of crypto, but it is not a threat of crypto today. It is a fact that encryption today is being intercepted and then governments or agencies hold them and wait for decryption to get better. Because, the state of communication today can teach an adversary what you are doing in the future.
Cardano have protocols to incubate the network, the only reason they haven't done so today is that there are trade-offs. Charles cant see himself making the network 100 times slower than his competition. for a potential threat in the future. But if needed there are ways to upgrade the network.
Another similar question makes Charles share his knowledge of the US role in cryptography:
"The field of cryptography would be in its infancy without the constant vigilance of the US government in particular. The last 40 years almost every major advance in some way is directly or indirectly connected to the us government. Either they trained the scientists or incubated the scientists who did the research, they directly funded them, they inspired them or their colleagues. A lot of things have been discovered. The governments desire to break crypto have massively improved the ability to break systems which have become a skill that is now ingrained into cryptography and information security."
Luckily for people such as myself Charles will keep doing AMA's after his contract ends. In fact he will even keep working on Cardano for a while. Even though he wont get paid the job isn't done and you don't leave until the job is done.
He will ask the community for a contract in the future. There is no central authority to contact to work on Cardano and even if he did code for it the decentralized network would have to accept it.
Aiming for 2025 he would like to work on Cardano functionality in the absence of an internet connection. A a transfer protocol for hardware, doing a encrypted payload of an address key and proof of uniqueness.
When asked if the SEC (the security exchange commission) is an enemy of crypto Charles gives a clear negative:
"Regulators are like vampires, in a good way. They come in when you invite them. The vampire stands at the door and asks: 'Can I come in?' and you say 'yes'..."
A healthy industry self-regulate and cooperate to ensure everyone is doing fine, there is no need for regulation over mathematicians for example, if someone does a bad equation his peers will hold him accountable for it and the field will remain healthy however:
"So lets look at crypto: we have the ico boom, you have tons of scandal and scams, you have rampant insider trading, you have wash trading on exchanges, you have exchanges failing and the principles of the exchange is stealing the money and fleeing abroad. You have software flaws that were made on purpose to steal peoples money, you have massive misrepresentation, you have impersonations, you have people claiming they're using project capital for something but they're actually using it to buy private yachts and Miami housing and prostitutes and rah rah rah. That is a big neon sign at the front of your door: Vampire come in. Our industry did that. We didn't self-regulate. We didn't stop the agency failures, we created a neon sign and welcomed the vampire. And now they are here. And we are going complain that they are doing stuff? Filling lawsuits? Getting involved like a bull in a Chinese-shop, of course they are!"
In Charles' case the foundation kept 2.4 billion Ada, about 8 % of the supply which at the time was valued at around 6 million dollars. 6 Million dollars for a large team and 5 years of development. When Ada went to 1.30 USD during 2017 it was very enticing to sell but they sold none of it. Charles didn't deem it ethical even though he was quite able to make himself filthy rich. But others did, Eos and XRP sold a lot back then.
"In the end of the day the regulation doesn't matter, as an entrepreneur I cannot follow regulations completely and perfectly because I am doing new things! In 52 fucking countries! There is no way to be in full compliance with every single thing! No company in the history of humanity, in the world, has made the jurisdiction and dominion they operate in 100 % happy, 100% of the time. So what you do is you have a transcended principle. 'is what I'm doing ethical?' 'Is what I'm doing moral?' 'Is what I'm doing obviously good for the consumer?' And if you can't answer that with a yes then you're probably at some point going to piss off a regulator, if anything because your creating a political incentive for the regulator to after you."
Politics are about appeasing people so dont make yourself a villain, because politicians will find a way to confront you if they can earn votes by doing so.
Perhaps the best question regards Charles' involvement in Ethereum and since he left that project why would we expect him to stay with Cardano? He explains that he was at Etheruem from December of 2013 to June of 2014. It was a mutual agreement for him to leave, he didn't want to stay and they didn't want him there. He was sure they were going to go bankrupt and the project was going to fail. He didn't agree with their philosophy nor their strategy and believed there were going to be a lawsuit due to the ico. The funds were not spend in the cleanest or bestest of ways. Charles has been working with Cardano since 2015 and it allows him aim for his dream of creating economic identity for as many unbanked people as possible. But as we learned earlier in the stream, after he is done with his current work it will be up to the Cardano community whether or not he stays.
A question with great insight of the needs in human biology prompts Charles to explain that during these 4 hours there is no need for a toilet break since he has taught before and you develop an iron bladder once you lecture.
"Peter is Peter, we call him Doctor Doom. The economy is always collapsing, gold is always king, Euro-pacific Capital has the one truth and now Bitcoin is the enemy. Why? Because it's the single biggest threat to gold investment, the set of people buying gold is diminishing every year and transferring over to crypto and it's a huge threat to Peter and Peter is ill equipped to be able to play in our space. So he is doing what everybody does that is protecting his turf. Bitcoin is a scam rah rah rah. He said the same thing to me in 2017 and to Eric Vorhees and the rest of the gang and we keep telling him: Peter NO! And he's like: 'It's all going to collapse, there is no value...' Whatever, Peter is Peter."