Climate Change RCast RCAST - [Climate and Coordination]

RCast 95 – blockchain improves governments, RChain’s concurrency [Climate & Coordination] July 17 2020

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Today we discussed recent climate reports that suggest Earth has a 24% chance of reaching an average of 1.5 Degree C temperature rise, as well as the World Economic Forum’s use cases for blockchain in government institutions. The call ended with a discussion about RChain’s unique approach to concurrency.

Transcript below:

RCast 95 – [Climate & Coordination] Jul 17 2020 • 57:33

Nora Germain, Greg Meredith, Darryl Neudorf, Steve Ross Talbot

Nora Germain 01:10
Okay, thank you so much everyone, for joining today’s climate coordination RCast. Today we have a variety of different topics, mostly regarding blockchain and climate as usual. And we would like to start by inviting Steve Ross Talbot to share a couple of thoughts with us.

Steve Ross Talbot 01:35
Thank you, thank you, Nora. There was a bit of a discussion prior to this call about what to talk about. And there were four principal articles that was shared. One was from Scientific American, which is one that we’ve probably talked about, which is worrisome signs, emerged for 1.5 degree and see climate target. That’s one of them. So then there was another one which is about UN Chief warns Paris climate goals are not enough. And yet another one which was entitled sadly, the Paris Agreement isn’t nearly enough. And then there was this one that seems to be left field but actually has a relationship about, you know, the different ways blockchain can be used to prevent or mitigate against corruption. And they may not seem necessarily all in the same set, common set, but if I define the set as as a potential focus for our chain, and given this is the climate and coordination podcast, the way that I kind of thought I was thinking about thi s because I was talking to a guy who’s one of the principal founders of extinction rebellion in Norway. And, you know, he, he, like many of those founders, and it’s a highly decentralized organization like kind of we aim to be, within reason to support our highly decentralized technology, and I started thinking about, you know, what’s needed for people like extinction rebellion, and maybe it’d be good to get this guy on to a future call. And then I got an email as well from, from Darryl about one of the winners, I think it was third place in the ideation workshop, which was an idea about how to have, in effect content validated with a provenance. So checking effect, effectively, the trustworthiness of a piece of content using RChain. Great little idea too, and as I started to think more and more when these articles came in from you guys, I started thinking, Well, you know, we always talk about that. Greg always talks about the need for coordination of global scale, which is needed to tackle climate change. So started thinking about, you know, what do we need to focus on when we look at these articles? And because we talk about them, you know, every every week, and I suddenly thought, well, given all the work that’s going on, and the hackathon that, Darryl and I are kind of working on in draft form, and the focus for the hackathon, which is about using RChain as a platform for digital democracy, through chat with provenance, so you can check what people say, through to voting so that communities can make a decision collectively. And all that’s required in between from deliberation and chat, to coming to some sort of consensus, or voting or whatever it needs in order to coordinate people. Because if people do nothing, then sadly, the Paris Agreement is irrelevant, let alone not nearly enough. And so our role, I think in this is confronted with these articles which are always shocking. And it never ceases to shock me. Despite the fact I’ve known about this for years, I now start to see how we might deploy our technology in order to get that cooperation between people to make the right decisions with information that is verifiable. The reason the corruption things comes into here is because corruption happens when information is ambiguous. If it’s not ambiguous, corruption can never take hold. So it’s part of the same soup. It’s both about third party content verification – provenance – so that we have facts that are provable, and it’s about empowerment of people in terms of democratic deliberations. Without geographical boundaries, full stop. That’s what I think our focus should be.

Nora Germain 06:08
Thank you so much. That was awesome. I always admire your ability to bring different concepts together and always remind us of our purpose.

Steve Ross Talbot 06:22
Well I’d be interested to hear what your collective wisdom is on the c all about that. Does that make sense?

Nora Germain 06:31
Yeah, absolutely.

Steve Ross Talbot 06:33
It chimes with you. That’s what we need,

Nora Germain 06:35
It strikes a chord as Greg would say. So, first, I guess we can discuss this article, which Darryl has very kindly put in the chat for us. This is a report climate report from Scientific American from July 10 of this year, by Chelsea Harvey. And, you know, a lot of times when these sort of climate updates, climate reports come out with a lot of statistics, you know, with solid research, usually they’re quite long. A lot of them are, you know, sort of difficult to read. Even for somebody like me, who is pretty well versed in the climate, vocabulary and the situation and, you know, studied this stuff in college, etc, etc. But sometimes these reports are pretty hard to read. And, the data can be pretty difficult to get through, but not this one. This one headline is “Worrisome signs emerge for 1.5 degree Celsius climate target”, with a subtext that says “there’s a 24% chance that global average temperature could surpass that mark in the next five years.” So this is actually a pretty dire warning. So for those who don’t realize there’s been a lot of speculation about different climate thresholds, which basically means how much we are kind of willing to gamble with the planet’s safety and with human life. And that can walk on ways that that can be measured just with a threshold of temperature rise, which is a global average, we know that poles are heating much faster than in other places in the world. So obviously, it’s a global average of temperatures might not seem like much, but if the entire planet heats up 1.5 degrees Celsius, that is a really, really severe change. That could cause you know, a lot of disturbance, a lot of economic uncertainty, a lot of refugees, a lot of drought, food shortages, etc, etc, etc. So this was, you know, kind of a goal that several climate scientists kind of started with for a long time and and then now the goal, because we’ve seen now that it looks like we’re going to go through that in five years, which in geologic time is tomorrow. It looks like the new goal is to try to stay beneath two degrees Celsius, which would still be a gamble on human life. But you know, seems like the planet might still be possibly habitable at that level. But what’s really interesting about this article is that fairst off, we now know there’ s 24% chance, which is, you know, not like flipping a coin but halfway there to, you know, crossing this threshold between 2020 and 2024. This article doesn’t specifically really get into too much about the Paris Climate accords, but it does mention that the goal was to keep us below 1.5 or two degrees, and of course, as many well known scientists have noted, even the climate accords would keep us probably under three or possibly four degrees, which is looking at probably some kind of ecological catastrophe and inability to grow food.

So but it’s actually happening even faster than we think it is happening, because this report goes on to explain fluctuations from month to month are even more pronounced than they are from one year to the next which means basically the volatility of temperature rise can be seen in a short term as well as long term study.

The report suggests and reading now, the support suggested is about a 70 percent chance that at least one month over the next five years, we’ll cross the 1.5 Celsius degree threshold. But again, it may only last for that single month period. So basically, it means that we’re already touching on this new spot. We might not stay there, I think it’s likely that we’ll cross it over time.

Nora Germain 11:26
But, you know, there’s a 70% chance that at least one time over the next five years will be that hot, you know, usually, you know, what we’ve seen over the past 20 or so years 30 or so years is that Earth tends to break a record and climate gets too hot, goes back a little bit down and shoots up and breaks that previous record, then it goes down, then it breaks that second previous record. So basically, we just keep breaking our own records over and over again. And I just also think it’s important to, you know, really reflect here, the place that we’re in. Because, you know, we are definitely running out of time. We don’t know yet how to effectively remove carbon from the atmosphere, which is going to be one of the only technologies I can think of that has the actual power to save human existence. I know that probably sounds very dramatic, but we’re now living in a world that hasn’t ever been this hot in, possibly millions of years. Or at least, maybe not as hot yet but has as much carbon in the atmosphere with the heat coming, you know, lagging behind usually by a few years. But obviously, we’re not going to stop pouring carbon into the atmosphere anytime soon. We can slow it down. But, you know, we’re still going to be adding carbon even if we stopped burning carbon yesterday. It still sits in the atmosphere for a long time. So we just have a lot of work to do. And I know that we talk about this every week, and it might just not really seem newsworthy or even interesting. But I just saw this report in my research on what to talk about today. And I just thought it was really well written and it’s not too long.

And I also really enjoy that they like the report from the Inter Governmental Panel on Climate Change, which is the IPCC. That’s basically the international body of scientists that is sort of the CDC of climate. They’re kind of used as one of the main research kind of institutions and reporting institutions. The report from 2018 is linked here so anybody can read it, which is much longer obviously these IPCC report to prolong that it’s, they say it’s still technically possible to achieve staying at the 1.5 degrees Celsius goal. But we would basically have to drop to zero missions by 2050. I’ll just say one last thing before I open it up to you guys, this 2050 goal, I think is a really silly goal a lot of politicians talk about 2050. 2050 is just as far from now as 1990. 1990 to 2020 years 2020 to 2050s 30 years. It’s not that much time. We’ve burned you know, most of the climate crisis that happened between 1990 and 2020. We knew the climate crisis was happening in 1960. It started to become circulated around scientific, bodies and corporations in the 70s. It became mainstream in the 80s. And then it became, you know, like newsworthy and sort of talked about around the dinner table in the 90s. But we’ve done most of the damage between 1990 and 2020.

So it’s not very long to say, you know, 2050, but also it’s way too low, right? Because we cannot afford to burn, you know, all these fossil fuels 30 years into the future, but I just want people to realize how fast that goes by, because a lot of people haven’t realized that. You know, 2020 is the midpoint between 1990 and 2030. So anyway, those are my thoughts. I would love to know what you guys think.

Steve Ross Talbot 15:32
Well, last week, I remember Greg, saying that we’ve passed the tipping point or words to that effect. What we’re dealing with is is minimization of damage, the damage is going to occur is too late. And I’m t the eternal optimist. It is quite hard to hear. But the articles that got posted and this one in particular, yeah, I mean, when you said 2050 is kind of interesting, because in this country, the previous Prime Minister, Theresa May still on the right. She at least instigated new government policy to be carbon neutral by 2030, not 2050. So the British government clearly, I mean, they haven’t rescinded that. But you never know with Boris Johnson. He’s like Trump. You know, he may rescind that. But the fact that I think the prime minister of the day at that time did that totally supports your skepticism about 2050 is a date of any worth whatsoever. And I think the article the five years should scare people.

And it needs to.

Steve Ross Talbot 16:55
that’s my immediate thought.

Nora Germain 16:58
Darryl, do you have any thoughts about got this at all?

Darryl Neudorf 17:03
Yeah, just that

Nora Germain 17:05
we’re screwed.

Steve Ross Talbot 17:08
We’re not screwed in Greg’s terms. It’s just that we’re going to have to reimagine society that now, arguably, we could say, I think, quite arguably, we could say that’s not a bad thing. I mean, COVID-19 is done that for some, they’ve had to revisit all sorts of things about what’s important. And and I think, you know, that’s kind of what that pressure needs to be brought to bear on more and more people. We may well be, as Greg suggested that we were past the tipping point where we can go back to, I don’t know 1990 levels and somehow survive, or whatever the levels would be that somehow society wouldn’t change, society will have to change. Our economics will have to change. You know, our political structures will have to change. So I don’t think that there’s a choice. If we survive, and humankind have pretty good at surviving.

Darryl Neudorf 18:12
Yeah, I think that it kind of connects to what is now I think, a pretty much accepted fact that we’ve reached peak oil demand. So the world is already shifting. Pretty much all of the economic focus is now shifting. So I think that whether that’s directly directly related or not, I think that it’s an indication of hope that we are moving away from from fossil fuels. The question is, how to do it fast enough? And I think that in an all hands on deck kind of situation, you have to rely on all the current institutions in order to change the institutions. And that includes government. So we need to, we need to solve a lot of the problems that exist in government in order to, I think, facilitate this kind of rapid change, you know, what I’ve heard about this week, that was the kind of the kind of chasm between Biden’s policy and Trump’s policy on climate change and Biden’s waving around some numbers. He’s talking about $2 trillion being spent on on the shifts, so being in spent on environmental infrastructure and you know, it’s all wrapped up in the kind of the green New Deal angle or whatever you want to call it. So in one side of me goes this is this is great because I absolutely agree that money has to be poured into this as an investment into the future. And, and and I believe that governments can invest in the future and spend money to make money later, just like companies do. But in novel in different ways than companies can do. But what concerns me is the corruption that occurs when $2 trillion is just handed out. And you know, we certainly have seen that in this administration. So, and all of them, you know, all previous administrations, and so we need to I think we need to rapidly come up with solutions to make sure that the voting public has a better, there’s more transparency and there’s a better vision towards that, and perhaps that’s a good connector to the next article that you’re going to bring up.

Nora Germain 21:21
Yeah, absolutely. This one is from World Economic Forum. This one is from July 13th 2020, written by Rachel Davidson Rae Kraft and Ashley Lanquist. The title for this one is “Blockchain alone can’t prevent crime. But these five use cases can help tackle government corruption”. I thought this is a nice piece because for anybody who’s looking for a piece about blockchain use cases or government sort of oversight. This is really interesting. I really haven’t seen an article especially from a publication that is so esteemed, like World Economic Forum that has highlighted these areas as well. It goes through these several different areas, public procurement, land title registries, electronic voting, which is obviously something RChain is interested in right now, beneficial corporate ownership registries, and grant disbursements, which I guess you kind of just touched on just now, though, I don’t know if Joe Biden has said anything about how the 2 trillion or how fast the 2 trillion will be spent. And while his views are definitely not consistent with the original green new deal at all, because he doesn’t, to my knowledge support, a ban on fracking for example, among other things.

Obviously $2 trillion, would be a very welcome investment. And I don’t think there’s really any limit to how much money we should spend on trying to save the planet. It’s gonna be really hard to have an economy if we can’t grow food, for example.

Darryl Neudorf 23:14
Well, we’re gonna need leadership that can really make some pretty tough decisions really quickly, and we’re going we’re going to need a populace that at least the majority of which supports it.

Nora Germain 23:27
So, you mean a populace? You mean like a, like the public?

Darryl Neudorf 23:32
Yes. The public needs to be able to support the decisions that are being made from the the, you know, the leader, the So, yeah, it’s gonna be tough. I don’t know. I don’t know I I kind of share your skepticism. But,

Nora Germain 23:55
Well, what I’ve said is just the facts, you know, being somebody who study politics, you know, very deeply, especially in these past couple elections, it’s not really my opinion that Joe Biden doesn’t, you know…he’s, you know, one of these people that kind of wants to phase things, you know, out over time, but he doesn’t really,

Darryl Neudorf 24:16
but there has to be care done in that regard too though, like, you know, I don’t know whether completely banning fracking, just boom, is is going to be the best solution. Well, maybe maybe there is. More,

Nora Germain 24:33
maybe we could talk about fracking. Because there’s a lot to let me know that there’s funding here. Sorry.

Steve Ross Talbot 24:41
It’s banned in Europe.

Nora Germain 24:43
And all over the world. I mean,

Steve Ross Talbot 24:45
yeah, and it’s in the UK it because of COVID-19 and the Trump and oil price, it’s now become completely a non profitable enterprise and so it’s been strangled.

Darryl Neudorf 24:59
Yeah, that’s the key right? And and that’s I think that’s what’s happening now if you if you listen to Jeremy Rifkin, the cost of solar and wind is plummeting so fast. And he kind of uses analogies of how computing power, you know, has plunged over the decades and people were skeptical You know, when the first computer was invented, I can’t remember the exact details but when the first computer was invented, the person who invented it got up on a podium and said, I think the world will probably require the maximum of five computers and it will cost so much money that there could not be a sixth one.

And so you know, and here we are and and so so you know, wind and and and solar is plummeting in price right. And so it’s the tipping point has occurred, this is why, you know, BlackRock and others go, you know, list Exxon Mobil as a sell because it’s more expensive. So it’s the

You know, the proof becomes there but even that you can’t really turn off the spigot and and have an immediate replacement. So there still has to be, I think, at least in America, there, there still has to be, you know, a sensible approach to to to doing this or you’re going to have chaos so that’s why I say, it’s going to take some really really amazing leadership who really understands everything every nuance about it and knows how to kind of sell it because there’s going to be people, extremists on either side that are going to be freaking out so

Nora Germain 26:37
well I think that’s a false equivalency and I also think that, you know, one of the reasons why this so called transition is always seen by some people as you know, happening too quickly or, or it’s, you know, needs to be slower as that obviously those in power are trying to squeeze the last drop of blood from stone and that’s one reason why these climate targets are always set in the future because it gives them time. And also, I would venture to say, I’m not an expert, you know, in government subsidies, but I would venture to say that the European Union is not subsidizing oil companies at all as much as Americans government is.

Darryl Neudorf 27:22
And so we need these kinds of eyes on the corruption, and, you know, hopefully blockchain can help with that. I believe it can and it needs to quickly, like it this this the urgency that we started this whole talk off today’s you know, felt we need to do this fast but carefully, but quickly, you know, it’s just it’s a, we have to be, you know, fast but careful.

Steve Ross Talbot 27:47
But, but the the anti corruption side, right, so for the articles, they saw the different examples, I posted something in the chat. I will remember it was 4,5,6 years ago. You know, relatively new in blockchains life generally. But it had been spotted that by using a blockchain in its true distributed ledger in terms of accounting, like Bitcoin, in developing countries, you render corruption almost impossible so that when governments give grants to a country, that money gets truly dispersed to where it should go.

And I’ll post an article there’s an article 2016, but I remember before even then, so it’s, what would be interesting would be to speculate on why hasn’t this taken hold, but it has taken hold by the West that have tried to do it in developing countries like Africa,

Steve Ross Talbot 28:58
It’s just that it’s not been applied the other way into western democracies. And that’s that’s political will.

Greg Meredith 29:07
There you go. No, you’re absolutely right. You hit the nail on the head. Yeah. Yeah.

Nora Germain 29:13
Oh hello Greg.

Greg Meredith 29:14
Hello there. Yeah. So yeah, I mean it’s it’s it’s obvious right that the Western powers would love to be able to watch every last cent of the developing nations but they don’t want anyone else looking inside their their books, but I can you know you can you can well imagine.

Steve Ross Talbot 29:42
Here is a little Nirvana for you and it’s extension from COVID-19. So part of being locked down certainly in the UK where it’s been for a long time. They’re relaxing now, but contrasting it with Norway. They were locked down for six weeks done and dusted pretty much all over – hardly any more cases. Whereas, you know, the UK is looking bad and America, well, you know, it’s off the scale. And, you know, we can debate about the whys and wherefores of that, and probably come to all the same conclusions. But it, it strikes me that as people have stayed at home, and it’s been shown that they can stay at home and work, right. I mean, the guy that runs the sandwich bar next to the office, unfortunately, he sacrificed. But if you paint a Nirvana, where people work at home, there’s a number of benefits. There’s a downside in all of the ancillary industry to support people going to work, commute, you know, that suffers because the demand isn’t there. But then the demand goes up for things like localized solar power, because you’re at home – you’re using all your power, you’re not going to the office, turning your power off, go into the office using their power, you know, something you become more sensitive to that as an individual, and it may well be that the corporates in trying to embrace actually a much better model for working for the most part where they can reduce their capital outlay on buildings, have smaller buildings that are built for purpose and are highly sustainable in a new economy. Okay, the sandwich guy, he might be, you know, some of them will survive, most of them won’t. And a lot of other things won’t survive. But that’s what we have to do in terms of that new Nirvana. And it’s a Nirvana where we have more individual responsibility for the power that we consume, and how we get that power. And, and it’s corporate inclusion of people working for corporates on a fair value scheme that’s driven by blockchain, so that that fair value occurs on a blockchain so as an employee or contract, whatever it is, and that there’s inclusivity by having something like, you know, the RChain digital democracy platform of the future. So that if a corporate wants to poll its employees, it could do that, and not be accused of subverting the result. And so therefore really listening, changing the dialogue between employer and employee to be one of maybe venture, lead, and collaborator, but better sort of terms. So that that’s, that’s a possible Nirvana that gets us out of or reduces massively, the impact of our carbon consumption because commuting disappears. And along with it, all of the carbon emissions that are associated with all of the buildings that those companies have, and maybe that leads to a better redistribution of wealth, because the self sovereign notion of an individual giving a service to a company. There’s a nirvana that might be possible. It’s a it’s a science fictiony kind of step. That is probably where we need to get to.

Greg Meredith 33:14
It’s, it’s, it’s, it’s, it’s funny that it’s called science fictiony because it’s, it’s, you know, very, very close to where we are. It’s it’s not very far. No, it’s you know? Yeah.

Darryl Neudorf 33:26
I mean, I believe we already live in a science fictiony world. So, what the trick is, from a dystopian one to a positive Nirvana like one. Yeah, let’s change the plot of this movie.

Greg Meredith 33:41
Indeed, indeed. I think I think a lot of it has to do with with being willing and able to, to think about all alternative plots. I was recently talking talking with a friend and I think we all have this friend, sometimes this friend lives in our head. This case, it was someone who is close to me, who is just a worrywart. Right, you know, and we often laugh, I was like, Well, you know, you need to worry about your worrying. worry about that worrying. But we know, we know, we all know people who worry a lot and I was just joking around, I said, you know, you might just try, you know, watching the stories that your mind spins, and just for fun, not to change your life or, or to make yourself a better person or anything, but just for fun, just to see if you can do it. tell a different story. So you observe the story that your mind spins, you know, oh, my friend has come down with his symptoms, they must have COVID and so on and so forth, or whatever it was, whatever the the initial triggers are that gets the the mind spinning the story and just see if you can tell an alternate story to that one. So I love your I love your science fiction story, your science fiction yarn Steve. dI think it’s a great one. I mean, I I have freqently imagined what it would be like to have the Pentagon’s budget on the blockchain.

Steve Ross Talbot 35:30
if we if we had a reward. Yeah, well, yeah, I mean, if everyone sees spending on defense, he devoted it to how do we change how we live, so that we can live in a sustainable way and not have to worry about a future other than Of course, the sun one day consuming everybody, right, which you can’t get away from unless you leave the planet.

Nora Germain 35:53
But we surely will.

Steve Ross Talbot 35:55
Well, interestingly enough, there’s some there’s a bit of science around into interstellar travel in particular. And that’s science. There’s an equation that drives it. And that equation governs essentially the complexity for the society, and what it can harness in terms of results. And only those societies that can actually harness the full power of their own Sun would ever be able to undergo interstellar travel. So outside our solar system to another, and until that time, it won’t happen. Now, the only way to harness the full power of the sun is from a collective will across the planet, in the same way that there was collective will, but not collective participation in NASA’s journey to the moon. Now it has to be collective will and collective participation. To be able to bridge that, and that’s kind of a weird situation when you look at that equation because it also tells us that if we will survive as a species beyond the life of this planet, we have to collaborate. It is inevitable. And if we don’t, that’s why many years or maybe many civilizations, and many planets who fail to collaborate, and they probably go to the same thing global warming planet dries up, they’re all dead, or they blow themselves up, you know, at any one of a number. But until they come together to collaborate and harness the power of their own Sun. Nothing changes which is ironic given the thing that might kill us and global warming’s era and some because we’re not collaborating,

Greg Meredith 37:51
nicely said.

Steve Ross Talbot 37:55
It’s a lovely equation actually. as it really is. Beautifully presented

Greg Meredith 38:03
should put a link after we post this. Yeah,

Steve Ross Talbot 38:07
I’ll find it.

Nora Germain 38:13
Well, I just thought it was a really nice sign that this World Economic Forum was discussing blockchain voting, when, you know, RChain has obviously focused on that as well kind of shows that, you know, there’s a lot of extra interest in this area and a lot of research that points to the fact that this is not only needed but a very promising use case for the right blockchain. I’ll say.

Greg Meredith 38:48
I don’t think we have to be shy about that. I mean, we know that there are characteristics of the right blockchain right in has to be able to handle concurrency. And currently there’s, there’s only one of those.

Darryl Neudorf 39:10
Yeah, like what what other blockchains are you know, obviously, there’s others that are trying different methods of scaling, and do you think that…. is there? Is there actually any other one that is exploring concurrency in maybe a different way or anything?

Greg Meredith 39:36
I think there are some that are that are attempting to explore concurrency in a different way. But until you have until you are in concurrency is really, really hard. Just to give you an example of how hard it is, you can give engineers who already know the solution to a particular problem and ask them In a concurrency setting, and ask them for a solution to write it down, and they still get it wrong. That’s, that’s how hard it is. It’s much, much harder. And that’s, that’s like, if you can just kind of brute force your way around sequential programming, which is why so many people do it. You can’t brute force your way around concurrency issues. It just doesn’t work.

Darryl Neudorf 40:30
You have to be built right from the ground up. In other words,

Greg Meredith 40:34
Well, you have to have tools to help you build it right from the ground up. So I mean, you can still you can still do iterative design and iterative iterative development, but you have to have tools that help you improve from one iteration to the next otherwise you’ll be wandering in the woods forever. And, and that’s that’s why employing mathematics at that juncture is so important. You know, it’s it’s, it’s really not as important and that’s why there’s a bazillion JavaScript programmers right because they can kind of brute force their way around on the the sequences involved in you know, delivering a web resource to a viewer. But once you start talking about distributed systems, then then most of the time what really happens is you have these, these culturally inculcated design patterns that people know work because it’s so hard and they don’t step outside those lines because it’s so hard – dragons be there. That’s that’s the culture of distributed systems and concurrent development. That’s why you have to have some mathematics and that’s why you know, RChain employs the math that we do and the methodologies that we do. Correct by construction is for those reasons and with without them, no, it’s very interesting. I was just, you know, there’s a, there’s a big cultural divide between those people who know computer science, and those people who are muddling along. Like I was, just before the climate coordination call, I was on a call with a, with a researcher, I’ve never met this researcher before. He’s interested in employing some interesting mathematical techniques to the development of a framework for consensus algorithms. And I we were talking in and you know, I was saying this kind of an impedance mismatch between certain mathematical tools and distributed systems, because distributed systems are not functions. And he was saying, well, yes, of course, you know, the lambda calculus is, is terrifically ill suited. And so we could have this incredibly high level conversation where, where, you know, like he just knows, because we’re both familiar with the landscape that there there are all these tools that are simply inappropriate, and you can pick dozens of blockchains that are built on those tools that we know in one second are inappropriate.

Darryl Neudorf 43:23
Meanwhile, there’s like millions of dollars being spent and tons of

Greg Meredith 43:26
millions and millions and dollars that you just pointed that won’t work. That won’t work, that won’t work. Because there’s this this unfortunate divide between you know, what’s commonly known in computer science and the rest of engineering and programming culture.

Nora Germain 43:47
Is it kind of like the divide between quantum physics and I guess you could say classical physics?

Greg Meredith 43:58
Um, so sort of kind of it,

Nora Germain 44:01
you know, like you can’t get them to square because they operate in different sets of rules.

Greg Meredith 44:08
So something something like that. I think it’s more like, you know, for for a musician is how do you get a guitarist to stop playing? Put some sheet music in front of them?

Steve Ross Talbot 44:24
It’s kind of like you’re in our IT world in computer science. I mean, I’m old, as as he’s growing, but I’m even older than him. And you’re in our world. As we grew up, there were organizations you could belong to the gave you a kind of stamp on the head, like the British Computer Society if you did computer science. And then, because of what’s called the software crisis that was first mentioned by Edgar Dykstra, which is that the demand for compute and the demand for computer based solutions, outstrips our ability to build them, largely because of the technology of modern day computers, let alone the original six. You know, it’s outstripped. And so there’s a constant backlog. And as a result of that, what industry did and academia to it’s great this credit was reduce the teaching of the underpinnings of computer science. So it would be like teaching a doctor without teaching them anatomy.

Greg Meredith 45:40
You nailed it, nailed it,

Steve Ross Talbot 45:42
You wouldn’t have that doctor do anything. And if there’s something Robin hated this as well. So Robin hated this idea of people not being precise, because computers need precision that they’re not very good at nuance. We’re good at it.

Greg Meredith 46:02
This was this was in fact, one of the one of my measures of success for myself. Inside Microsoft. When I went into Microsoft, I could see these these engineering discussions that were essentially just shouting matches, and people drawing bubbles and arrows on whiteboards, and not really understanding each other. And, you know, like, by the time I left, at least within my teams, they could argue equationally, they could write equations on the board and say, Well, look, you know, this is what’s really going on in this system.

Steve Ross Talbot 46:41
You Greg, will always in forever be known in the process algebra community, as the guy that attempted to corner the the process algebra community and have them work for you. You are now In that way, because we were all looking at Lucien ?, one one day and suddenly turned up at your office. So, you know, your your forever known and and that was so out of keeping with Microsoft at that time, because Microsoft were known as yo ship the software, let the users debug it. Can’t do that with an Xbox. So your stuff made a lot of sense for them to do it. And, you know, I, I take my hat off to the fact that, that Bill Gates, who’s whose Desert Island Discs I listened to with a huge amount of glee, I’ll come back to that in one second because it makes you laugh. And you and I value the fact that he supported that initiative. And all these Desert Island Discs in the BBC. You can google it on the BBC Radio four and you can listen Get yourself one of his and Melinda’s songs, their song is a song from the sound of music.

Greg Meredith 48:13
Which one?

Steve Ross Talbot 48:14
I like it’s not one from the film. It’s one from the stage play. Oh, I’ll share you a link. I’ll share your LinkedIn feed of the podcast. You can listen to it, even though it’s on BBC radio.

Greg Meredith 48:28
Awesome. That sounds great. So, so So, Darryl, to get back to get back to your question, you know, I mean, we would love it. If there were more blockchains using these kinds of tools, right. I mean, I’m, I would, I would be delighted because then we could have more informed and, frankly, technically enjoyable conversations. Right now, blockchain is kind of technological, Wild, Wild West. And that’s that You know, while it can be exciting and cause a lot of ups and downs for investors, it’s not, it’s not great from the point of view of technical excellence. So so we’d like to have more blockchains using the kinds of tools that our chain does. And I would be delighted if there was a vigorous debate over, you know, algorithms and approaches. But that only that only becomes really possible if if you share a kind of common language. And it would be even better if that that common language allowed for equational reasoning about aspects of the of the systems that we’re talking about and the vast majority of proposed blockchain solutions do not support that at all.

Steve Ross Talbot 49:52
Then interoperability becomes really easy.

Greg Meredith 49:55
Yes, interoperability becomes a completely different, a completely different game. As we’ve tried to show with RChain, like RChain can basically swallow the other chains because of the way it thinks about, you know, chains because of the notion of namespaces. And so rolling back even further, you know, Nora, we don’t have to be you know, shy about, about our about RChain. And even though we have all kinds of you know warts and issues which every software system have this level of complexity you’re going to have, step by step we’re seeing, we’re seeing the features that were promised unfold. That’s, you know, and that’s the best you can do, again, for people to take this in perspective. It took 25 years to get to a provably correct implementation of the algorithm, the protocol underlying TCP. 25 years And the complexity of TCP is 100, the complexity of RChain.

Darryl Neudorf 51:06
right. So here’s what haunts me, the whole VHS vs Beta story, or, you know, the, the idea that, that, you know, maybe someone will come up with something that just kind of barely scales and kind of barely functions and, and because they got better PR behind it and because they’ve got more adoption behind it, people start using it and it becomes kind of like the standard or whatever. And we’re not actually properly coordinating as a planet to solve the world’s greatest problems. Like it seems like what has to happen is we need to hit the ball out of the park, not only in the beta area that we were the better technology but we also have to, you know, become the predominant one or whatever, to, to properly do this. It’s just that’s the thing that kind of sometimes gets me concerned at night.

Greg Meredith 52:19
I want to say that you know that’s a monster under the bed. If you think about the actual situation of beta versus VHS that was solving a very, very limited problem, right? Problem is getting video onto the screen from the recorder. That’s level of complexity is building and global compete to

Darryl Neudorf 52:49
your audio’s a little little blurry right now great.

Greg Meredith 52:53
One size fits all is not going to cut it. You know, when we’re talking about these sort of these global scale problems, think about it. Is there? Is there one social network? No, there’s lots of them because there’s plenty of space for different solutions. There’s going to be there will be multiple blockchain networks, that’s just a given. It’s a fact. And so so it’s not going to this. The problem is of such enormous complexity, that it’s not going to be a one size fits all solution. This is going to be plenty of opportunity in space for the next 50 years for people to come up with the better blockchain networks.

Darryl Neudorf 53:35
I see. I can understand

Steve Ross Talbot 53:38
if I can, if I can interject one last time, at the end. So you know, when when I started at the beginning, when Nora asked me to say what I’ve been thinking about. So it comes back to that. So, you know, we fundamentally we call ourselves climate and coordination and we know that our software is the basis of coordination potentially at a global scale. But then go back to your the James Lovelock quote of “act locally, but think globally.” And I’ve heard you say that before both of both you, Nora, and you, Darryl, I’ve heard you both use that same phrase. So what does that mean? Well, it means that any community, any pressure group that needs some form of democracy to run itself, they need a platform. They currently go to a few platforms that to try to do that. But as they grow, it gets really difficult. And they have to it’s almost independently shard the organization physically from a physical people perspective, like extinction rebellion, and having cells makes it very difficult to coordinate everything. So it’s done, because people put a huge amount of time in to coordinate with one extinction rebellion cell in Norway, in Oslo to one in London to Brighton right? Now if they had a platform that was reliable that they could use If Roger Hallam and I had our chat, our vote and all that, if that didn’t exist it today or then, and he had used that, given the attributes that we’re expecting for RChain in the next, two to three months, he could have started small, locally, just as he did with extinction rebellion, and he could have scaled it globally on a platform that was trusted, that was secure. Imagine the impact that Roger Hallam and all of those guys could have had, have they been able to collaborate in real time and with absolute security and trust in in the individuals that they’re collaborating with. Reach out to those organizations. I would do it now because RChat and RVote are going to be here for the AGM. We’ll be trying it out. So by shortly after the AGM, we should have something that others could potentially use. And we’ll figure out a way of, of earning some money for that to keep it sustainable. But that’s always been our aim, you know, check to do something like that. But that’s now that’s getting close to a reality that we could do that we can offer that. And then the rest is up to people to try and do that. We in RChain can educate people tell them it’s there, do videos with people that try to use it, educate people to vote on topics that people really find important to focus on. And all being secure with no central authority, breathing down the neck. We could we could do that.

Nora Germain 56:41
That’s free. That is a very positive sentiment.

Greg Meredith 56:45
It was a great note to end on. So so you want to take us out, Nora?

Nora Germain 56:49
Yes, yes. If anybody would like to subscribe, please subscribe to RChain on YouTube. You can become a member of RChain at And of course, you can ask to be a guest on this call at Thank you all so much.

Thanks, everybody.