Charles Hoskinson, the founder, and CEO of Cardano, recently announced in a YouTube video that he will be traveling to Scotland on November 18th to visit the University of Edinburgh. Hoskinson stated he is visiting the university to “…announce the Edinburgh Decentralization Index to begin measuring the decentralization of cryptocurrencies.”
In the same video, and in light of the recent FTX fiasco, Hoskinson goes on to make additional recommendations for the crypto industry including:
- Laying out a set of best practices for crypto exchanges
- Being more honest about what can and cannot be done in DeFi (Decentralized Finance)
- Implementing basic standards for smart contract security
- Implementing basic standards for smart contract functionality
About midway into Hoskinson’s video, he explains that there is no such thing as a get-rich-quick scheme, and investors need to understand this. In other words, if it looks and smells like a Ponzi scheme, it probably is. After this, he reminds viewers of the benefits that blockchain technology can bring to the world:
- Medical records with the capability of being transferred worldwide
- Supply chains that are compliant with Environmental, Social, and Governance mandates in a transparent manner
- Enabling every person to be banked
- Personal ownership of identity and data
- On-chain voting
- Changing the basic structure of businesses
Further into the video, in a reference to the recent FTX disaster, Hoskinson gives viewers a chilling reminder about the nature of man. He says, “We don’t need more leaders, we don’t need more companies, we don’t need better regulation. We need to change the way the game works because human beings…are terrible in positions of trust at being able to maintain virtue.” Don’t worry if you feel the need to duck and cover, because the man just dropped a 2,000-pound truth bomb.
The Edinburgh Decentralization Index
To enable the concepts Hoskinson is talking about, it requires true decentralization. It requires that humans do not have the ability to manipulate the systems that claim they are “trustless.” But how will anyone know whether or not a blockchain-based system is truly decentralized? This is where the Edinburgh Decentralization Index will come into play.
In the simplest terms, the Edinburgh Decentralization Index is being developed to measure the level of decentralization of cryptocurrencies and crypto projects. This is currently a subjective question, and the index is setting out to provide a quantitative and objective standard for measuring decentralization.
There is little written about the study, but we know that it seeks to answer several important questions such as:
- What is real decentralization?
- What levels of decentralization will be considered acceptable?
- Which aspects of decentralization need to be considered when creating the index?
We may not know much about how the study will be performed, but it does appear that the study is actually happening. Looking at a page from The University of Edinburgh School of Informatics, it’s confirmed that the university is requesting submissions for a Ph.D. studentship in “quantifying decentralization in blockchain platforms.” The studentship is for one fully funded Ph.D. position “to conceptualize and design an index that quantifies the decentralization of blockchain systems.” This should be an interesting study that will hopefully produce a standardized index for the entire blockchain industry that could guide it into the future.
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