Hoskinson: Cardano will get smart contracts in 90 days

Cryptocurrency founder gives wide-ranging five-hour interview

Cardano will have smart contracts in the next 90 days, Charles Hoskinson, the cryptocurrency’s founder, said on Thursday.

In a nearly five-hour interview with the mathematician and podcaster Lex Fridman, Hoskinson stated that although “you can do metadata and issue tokens on Cardano, you have limited programmability on-chain”.

A smart contract is a computer program or protocol that automatically executes an action when a certain criteria is met.

Sleepless nights

Later in the interview, the developer said one of the main things that kept him up at night was how to “curate an ecosystem, and foster the development of an ecosystem, where you have assurance baked into the application that is somehow expressible to the user".

Hoskinson said that without “something that indicates to you that somebody audited the code or followed a specification”, Cardano smart contracts would run the risk of impersonation or protocol-level flaws.

Underlining the extent of his desire to avert such outcomes, he pointed to his ongoing work in setting up a Smart Contract Engineering Institute at the University of Wyoming.

Comments come days after Alonzo Blue 2.0 launch

His comments come only days after Hoskinson’s company IOHK launched Alonzo Blue 2.0. Part of the multi-part Alonzo hard-fork process, IOHK described the testnet – a copy of the blockchain to test new functionality – as a “crucial building block” in the introduction of smart contracts on the Cardano blockchain.

Hoskinson skirts Vitalik question

Elsewhere in the interview, Hoskinson was asked about his current relationship with Vitalik Buterin. The two had worked on developing Ethereum before falling out over whether or not it should be a commercial project. Buterin removed Hoskinson from the project and Ethereum went on to become the leading blockchain offering smart contract functionality.  

Hoskinson jokingly compared the question to “asking Paul McCartney about John Lennon” before going on to add: “The Vitalik rivalry thing, the Ethereum thing, I try my best not to mention it.”

Two largest cryptos criticised

When asked what he thought of Ethereum, Hoskinson argued that it had a confusing structure, adding: “First of all Ethereum is killing itself. They are replacing Ethereum with Ethereum 2.0. In the end, ETH 2.0 will kill ETH 1.0.”

Taking aim at the world’s first and biggest cryptocurrency, Hoskinson described Bitcoin as “the least programmable of all the cryptocurrencies” stopping it from achieving “interesting, unique, sexy things”.

By mid-afternoon, Cardano traded up 0.4% at $1.51. With a market capitalisation of $1.8bn (£1.29bn, €1.51bn), according to CoinMarketCap, it is the fifth-largest cryptocurrency in the world.  

Ether was trading down 0.1% at $2,412.40. With a market cap of $279.8bn, it is the second-largest cryptocurrency.

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