On the 8th of June 2020, our Community Manager Dahee had a Live AMA session with Casey Monroe, Senior Community Engagement and Strategy Lead & Tiago Serôdio, Community Project Manager of Cardano Foundation.

Dahee: Welcome to Cardano Foundation x Crypto.com Community AMA! Today we are welcoming our guest from the Cardano Foundation Casey Monroe, Senior Community Engagement and Strategy Lead & Tiago Serôdio Community Project Manager of Cardano Foundation.

Casey: My name is Casey Monroe, and I'm a professional online community manager. I've been doing this work for about 13 years now. I think that makes me among the “original” community managers, the job hasn't existed much longer than that. But I'm a little bit unusual among the Cardano team because I'm a career community manager and this is my first time working in the blockchain space. Obviously I've been kind of blockchain-adjacent for a long time now, but Cardano is my first time working in blockchain.

I'm in charge of the community team, so if you spend any time in any of the Cardano communities online you've probably met members of my team. Right now I'm spending most of my time on the more administrative side, trying to make sure we have the right tools, platforms, and the right strategy to make sure we're supporting the Cardano community as best we can. And with Shelley going live soon that's going to become more important than ever.

Tiago: Hi everyone! I've been working full time in crypto since late 2012? Started as a miner, eventually got one of the first BTC Avalon ASICs, then 2 multi-GPU mining altcoins. Which accidentally led me to participate in a community at the time called Darkcoin, which then rebranded as Dash. I was invited to the team precisely for my community contributions fighting trolls and scammers - I had no idea Community Management was a thing, and I kind of grew into the "job" because it was all volunteer work.

One thing led to another, resisted 2 crypto winters, eventually adventured into other projects gaining experience in this space. This adventure mostly trying to convince friends and family, which eventually led me to the project I've been most enthusiastic about - Cardano. My title is Community Project Manager, given my previous professional experience is a match made in heaven! So I make projects come to life, like the Ambassador Program, the Community Funding Initiative and Community Feedback Process - amongst others. I also have responsibilities in managing the Portuguese and Spanish communities since I am bilingual.

Casey: The Cardano Foundation is a non-profit located out of Zug, Switzerland. The IOHK has been doing a lot of research and incubation on the Cardano protocol, but IOHK is a for-profit software development company. As we approach true decentralization IOHK is transferring stewardship of the protocol over to the Cardano Foundation since we're a non-profit with only one mandate—to drive adoption of the technology as a way of making the world a better place.

It's been interesting coming from the silicon valley tech world and shifting over to the Foundation, not just because it's a truly international organization but also because there's a big cultural difference. Both in going to a non-profit, but also getting used to the "swiss banking industry" sort of way of working. It's very much opposed to the traditional "move fast and break stuff" approach you see in Silicon Valley, but I think that's really valuable. Part of what sets Cardano apart is that we're trying to really "do our homework" so to speak, and working through a Swiss non-profit has really been a big part of that, at least for me.

1. What is the Tangem card and what can we do with it?

Tiago: Cardano-branded Tangem cards are in very high demand. Therefore, they are sought-after items. However, you can only get them at Cardano events, like conferences, events, Ambassador meetups, and events like these - so they are very exclusive items.

The Tangem card is an NFC enabled hard-wallet. It contains a chip that is guaranteed never to disclose your private keys. You are able to manage the wallet through any NFC enabled device, like most modern smartphones.

The cool thing about the Tangem card is that it allows you to use it for either cold storage or offline transactions. You can load up a card with any amount of ADA for safekeeping, to give as a present, or an exchange for any goods or services.

What you need to be aware of is, while technically a hard wallet, you do not need a private key to spend your ADA. This means you can literally load up your card and give it to someone. You can effectively use it just like a banknote.

This opens doors to many interesting applications, and it removes all the complexities of user experience with managing private keys, passwords, seed phrases, and PINs. However, you should be very careful. You should treat your Tangem card just like you treat your private keys, with maximum security. Not your Tangem card, not your money.

2. ADA is called 3rd generation blockchain, but not much information is provided on how it is possible. What is your opinion?

Tiago: The Cardano protocol was designed to overcome all of the shortcomings of generation 1 and 2 of blockchain. It has a UTXO ledger structure, it is smart-contract enabled, it is Proof-of-Stake, and built to scale and interoperable.

This means Cardano does not use wasteful and slow Proof-of-Work while ensuring the same (or higher) degree of security through the Ouroboros Algorithm. It is smart-contract enabled using Plutus, a Haskell-based purely functional programming language that ensures it is much more robust than current non-functional languages like Solidity. Furthermore, it allows for a much more fluent and tight integration between on-chain and off-chain programming (Plutus/Haskell) and opposed to, for example, Solidity/Javascript.

Cardano was built to scale, which is crucial for world adoption. Interoperability means Cardano will be blockchain agnostic, and able to interact with other networks fluently.

Lastly, Cardano was built using formal cryptographic methods. This means that it is future-proofed. Unlike other projects, where code is made to happen informally, bugs are found and squashed, and patches are released. This means that it just takes a couple of years until structural changes become a technical nightmare.

Cardano is able to untangle core blocks of its features and simply upgrade them as science evolves. For instance, despite the open UTXO model, the research teams are well underway on implementing zk-SNARKs primitive and other privacy enabling technologies.

Cardano is a Generation 3 blockchain because there is no Generation 4, if anything we are creating it. The beauty of the Cardano protocol is it will be able to constantly keep up with state-of-the-art cryptography.

3. Looking at the structure of Cardano, do you think the protocol is ready to receive a massive adoption?

Casey: We are steadily reaching our major milestones era by era, block by block, code line by code line. The release of Shelley in summer will take Cardano from a federated network to a fully decentralized one. The next milestone is Goguen, enabling the smart-contract layer. This is the more complex part, and the vast majority of this work is concluded, and you can already start playing with it through the Plutus and Marlowe playground. https://prod.playground.plutus.iohkdev.io/

It will be like fitting a piece of a jigsaw, just some final tweaks from the Shelley era the smart-contract layer will be almost like a plug-and-play module. It is at this stage that Cardano will be ready to start implementing solutions in society through the use of Dapps. It is here where mass adoption can start.

Finally, but not so important for mass-adoption - the Voltaire era, where principles of self-governance will be set in place to make sure Cardano is self-sufficient in its ability to become sustainable in the long term, without any central point of authority.

4. What are the benefits of the Ouroboros Algoritma in the consensus Proof of Stake used by Cardano?

Casey: Bitcoin’s Proof-of-Work has shown to provide the highest level of security in any distributed network through the use of SHA-256 hashing algorithm. The problem is that Proof-of-Work is designed to be a competition between miners, and therefore the computational requirements to be ahead of the game (earn mining rewards) just keeps growing and growing. This means vast mining farms with dedicated ASIC consuming inordinate amounts of electricity. ASICs are expensive to produce and cannot be repurposed, and become obsolete in record time. The Bitcoin network today consumes more electricity than the entire country of Bangladesh, and soon Israel. Bitcoin is not environmentally friendly at all.

Tiago: Peercoin was the first Proof-of-Stake created in an attempt to remove this resource-intensive computational power and resources and provide a faster network. Validating blocks and transactions while maintaining a decentralized state. There were many other early experiments, and all were found to suffer from attacks, vulnerabilities and exploits. You may have heard of the “Nothing at stake” exploit, or the Spent Stake attack, Stake Amplification, amongst many others.

Also, other criticisms, like the “rich get richer” argument.

The Ouroboros Proof-of-Stake Algorithm was developed, again, using formal methods and science, instead of in-the-wild experimentation. Deep research was made by leading cryptographers in the field and papers were presented to be peer-reviewed. This means the entire field of cryptography had a chance to challenge the Ouroboros claims of being Provably Secure. This research is now considered to be the gold standard for Proof-of-Stake, solving all the problems that plague other projects. The Ouroboros paper has been cited countless times and is deemed to be a tremendous advancement in the field of cryptography, essentially making Proof-of-Work obsolete by comparison.

5. I’m a big fan of the Cardano project. How do you plan to migrate away from the negative association that bitcoin/crypto has with money laundering and crime, how will Cardano differentiate from BTC in the eye of the public?

Casey: Cardano I think is uniquely suited to address this problem compared to other blockchain solutions. Because one of the key things that set us apart is our academic approach, We’re not just building technology, throwing it out there, and then building on top of it. We're focusing on scientific peer-review, provable, reproducible methods. Most blockchain projects were created as a social experiment. Cardano was built to scale. We're spending a long time on the foundations here because we want those foundations to still be standing in a hundred years.

6. What is the progress of business development and what are some of your commercial partnerships?

Tiago: The list is long and just keeps growing, but I will highlight a few.

  • We have several MOUs with a few developing countries with a pledge to implement blockchain-based solutions to structural problems, for example, Ethiopia, Uzbekistan, Georgia, and Mongolia.
  • Recently, the Cardano Foundation joined the Proof-of-Stake Alliance and met with the US Securities and Exchange Commission to further help shape legislation.
  • Working with the International Association of Trusted Blockchain Applications (INATBA) and very close to the European Commission on legislative frameworks, along with Blockchain for Europe (BC4EU)
  • In Sept 2019, the New Balance footwear company started using Cardano to verify the authenticity of its products.
  • In April 2020, we endorsed SANBA - the South African National Blockchain Alliance, which is a partnership between the state, the business community, academia, and civil society to fast-track the use of blockchain in South Africa.
  • In February 2020 at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Cardano Foundation  signed several letters of intent with key partners for the launch of Goguen, namely DUST Identity and Finka
  • Teamed up with COTI to enable ADA payments for merchants
  • Cardano Foundation joined the Messari registry
  • Teamed up with McCann for a brand reappraisal

These are a few highlights, and unfortunately, I cannot disclose some really exciting news. Without question of a doubt, 2020 will be the most exciting year for Cardano.

7. Which area does Cardano focus on at the moment? (DeFi, Dapps) and which products/projects are you developing to support them?

Tiago: Unfortunately, we cannot disclose, as it would ruin the surprise. However, right now all hands are on deck to deliver Shelley. The primary focus is in the Haskell testnet, secondary focus in Goguen.

Only after decentralizing the network and enabling the smart-contract layer, does it really make sense to start tackling Dapps and disrupting the current pseudo-disrupting DeFi space.

Naturally, we want to release Goguen with a bang, and we do have a few top-secret projects lined up.

LIVE Q1. Why are the key programs including the ambassador program and Cardano Hubs program to decide the future of our Community not worked out openly together with the Community allowing anyone with passion & motivation to contribute, bring their expertise, share their opinion and support the creative design process of defining these programs?

Tiago: For sure we have many MANY ideas in our secret decentralized laboratory and to be honest, at this point in time the perfect place to be is in the Ambassador Program. If you are accepted, you will be part of think-tanks, roundtables, offline events... precisely to help shape the project. Very soon we will make the Haskel Incentivised Testnet public. Another great way to participate in shaping the project. Everyone is invited!

Another project currently in the oven is the Community Funding Initiative - which as the name implies, we will give grants to the best project. So here is your chance to make a dent in the industry by creating real-world use cases for the protocol OR something completely unrelated that in some way helps advance the project.

LIVE Q2. Could you tell me How non-technical users will vote on a future project to be built on Cardano?

Casey: We're just diving right now into Cardano Improvement Proposals so you can actually take a look at this right now. I'm sure you may have seen things like this in other projects but this is the opportunity to check in on the methods and processes we're using to decide what changes to the protocol get considered. So if you're interested in this sort of thing this is a great time to start diving in. You can dig in on our Github here.

LIVE Q3. No one predicted the COVID-19 pandemic while developing their business model. But the crisis and recession of the global economy is our presence with you and it affects all sectors, including blockchain. Will you make or have already made changes to the project roadmap, tokenomics? Do you have a plan in case the situation does not improve in the coming months and will affect the crypto industry even more?

Tiago: Over at the Cardano Foundation we are truly blessed we have not been hit by COVID. We are double blessed because we work remotely, so we don’t congregate in an office (the vast majority) - so this in and by itself mitigates risk. We had several events planned, that naturally got pushed back, or substituted by online events.

For the future? Well, the near future is the Cardano protocol will not depend exclusively on IOHK. When we release Voltaire, self-governance will take of Cardano moving forward, as it will ensure sustainability.

It is still very soon to tell how bad COVID will be, and hopefully, a vaccine will soon appear. But in terms of business and protocol development, it will not slow us down, it HAS not slowed us down.

LIVE Q4. How does Cardano staking work? How much Cardano do you need to stake?

Casey: There's no minimum, and there's no maximum. Your coins aren't locked away or anything.

Taigo: Simply just fire up Yoroi or Daedalus, go into the delegation setting, pick a pool, and delegate. It is as simple as that. The only "complicated" part is selecting the best pool for max profits, but even that is simple with the numerous pool tools available.

LIVE Q5. I am hearing Cardano shelly launch everywhere in these days. Could you please explain what exactly is a Cardano shelly? How shelly is the main role of the Cardano ecosystem?

Taigo: Cardano uses a couple of codenames for development eras. There is a logic behind it, but that would be too long. Basically, right now Cardano is a federated network, meaning IOHK and EMURGO own and manage all the servers that currently run Cardano, while the decentralized protocol was being finished and perfected.

Shelley is the launch of a fully decentralized network, 100% run by the community.

So very soon, in the coming month(s) - Cardano will finally be able to be considered a true peer to peer decentralized network, just like any of the top crypto, and hopefully, nay-sayer can finally shut up about it.

Casey: Yeah. Most of the biggest concerns about Cardano right now are about the fact that we're not TRULY decentralized yet. Shelley is our answer to that, and it's set to launch in the next few weeks.

LIVE Q6. What are your strategies in building a big and strong community? Do you agree that the power of the community will lead your project to grow globally? What are the services you offer to the community?

Casey: So we're in the process right now of making a lot of updates to the way that we're building and supporting our community. I'm mid-way through a process that internally I'm calling "Community re-conceptualization" and that came about because we kind of approached our community strategy from the ground up. Rather than bringing in someone like me to manage things from the top down from day one, we started instead by bringing in community managers and team members from among the community. And we built up that team over time, and everyone working with the community directly these days is also a member of the community, and we have these really strong relationships. But also, because we started there, the tools and the channels that we used to communicate and reach the community just kind of grew up organically.

LIVE Q7. What are the ways for the Cardano project to generate revenue in the long run?

Taigo: Essentially, from the treasury. For example, the incentivized testnet generated already 100 million ADA for the Cardano treasury. As soon as Voltaire is implemented the Community can use these amounts for own projects. It depends on what "Cardano" is ... Is it the developer community? Is it the venture capital side of EMURGO? Is it Enterprises and Governments coming to us asking for our support? Loads of possibilities and vectors. The only thing that matters is adoption. Build it and they will come. We're building in!

Dahee: Much appreciation for your insightful responses, Casey & Tiago! Today’s Cardano Foundation x Crypto.com Community AMA is done. We appreciate the folks who stayed all the way.

All questions that were addressed during the AMA will receive a Cardano Tangem card & a t-shirt. Congratulations to all of the winners! Our Community Manager will reach out to the winners individually.

Crypto.com X Cardano Live Quiz event will be held in our Crypto.com Official Telegram community tomorrow with CRO prizes to be won... Stay tuned for the official announcement! See you next time!