Interview with Christian Hasker, CMO at Hedera Hashgraph
How will Web 3.0 take shape? What will the decentralised internet look like? How will it help us unlock value? We sat down with Christian Hasker, CMO of Hedera Hashgraph and Blockchain Live Keynote Speaker, to discuss all things Hedera, future of blockchain, and the internet of value…
In the past few years we have seen the emergence of a great deal of start ups creating various types of blockchain networks. The Crypto Winter may have brought a premature end to a few of those businesses, but the silver lining is that those that remain are the ones with something special to offer. Hedera, ‘the future of public ledgers’, sets itself apart from others in two important ways. First of all, it cannot be forked, ensuring a better level of stability. Secondly, its governance is designed to achieve continued decentralization over time. The governance is set up to ensure trust and longer decentralization: “There will be 39 global organisations, organisations that everyone knows the name of,” says Hasker. “They will run the initial step of nodes in the network. They will also govern the code base that will be run at scale by thousands of permissionless nodes around the world.”
Facebook’s Libra recently announced a similar model of governance, though Hedera’s approach is unique a couple of important ways: “There are a couple of differences to Facebook’s Libra model. With Hedera there is no fee for the governing council members to be part of the governing council. Secondly, in order to avoid a consolidation of power, each governing council members can only serve for a maximum of two consecutive three year terms. Not only does this avoid an abuse of the system, it also ensures ongoing decentralization.”
The governing council will be made up of members from across industry, “a good blend of tech companies, finance companies, manufacturing companies – companies from across the board. Our initial set of council members certainly reflects that. The idea is that the variation and size in the governing council ensures trust like no other network.
And it seems like blockchain in general is bringing trust back to its profile: “DLT’s, blockchain are going through a very traditional technology adoption curve. There was a mass hype cycle followed by a trough of disillusionment.” According to Hasker, we are now on a steadier rise in interest, primarily due to the fact that we are seeing more use cases deployed across networks, and applications that solve real business problems. “We are now in a phase where building out useful applications and getting those adopted by consumers and businesses. It’s a critical phase.”
Crucially, Hasker argues, we will see it start to impact everyday life. While the average person on the street will not necessarily know exactly how blockchain works, uses such as Peer-to-Peer trading and asset tokenization will transform consumer’s relationship to value. The ability to get far more of the value out of selling your house without middlemen, or send money overseas without charges are just some of the applications that show how blockchain can increase financial inclusion. For example, we will see the next phase of the sharing economy, with transactions carried out automatically between peers via blockchain, rather than the likes of Uber or AirBnb: “the problem with these companies is that at the moment the middle man takes 25%-30% of the value away from that, just to facilitate the transactions. So, what we will see is that model being disrupted in a much fairer way to match producers and consumers.”
And value will be found in completely new places, tokenizing assets from art to houses. “Take a building that is sold maybe once in a decade. You could issue tokens to that building, whether the Shard or a flat, and then someone could own a share of that building. You own it as an asset, there is a market around it and you can then exchange it with someone else who wants to buy it when you want liquidity. Who knows, maybe one day you could own a token of the Mona Lisa. This is how we can unlock value.”
Taking control of data, and thereby value, opens so many opportunities for growth, but it also comes at a risk of abuse. With regards to regulating this new technology, this will be a tricky field to navigate. “It is the case with any technology – it can be used for good and it can be used for bad. The role of the regulators is to walk that tightrope of fostering these advantages while protecting against some of the downsides.” In moving too quickly, Hasker argues, there may be a risk of stifling innovation. “We don’t know the answer today because there isn’t one. Through no fault of their own, regulation moves very slowly and methodically.” As Hasker points out, there is a need for regulation in this space, but the decentralized, borderless nature of the technology will mean that governments will struggle to coordinate regulation and legislation. The good news is that regulators are remaining engaged and interested.
For now, Hedera is moving to add open access later this summer, where anyone in the world can create an account on Hedera, can build on it, and can use the applications that are on it. “We will start with 13 nodes at open access, growing to 39 nodes in a few months, then growing to hundreds of nodes over the next couple of years and eventually growing to 10 of hundreds of thousands of nodes. It will perform well as a global network because our consensus algorithm performs so fast, so this initial network will be able to scale for a long time allow people to generate many thousands of transactions a second on the network”
You can hear more from Christian Hasker, Hedera Hashgraph, and reinventing the internet on the Business Summit at Blockchain Live, 25th September 2019, Olympia London. Register here for your free pass.