Excerpts from the Programmable Money panel at the AIM Summit, Dubai

Host 0:00
We are going to talk about how programmable money will transform the functioning of economies. And we’re very lucky to have another esteemed panel with us today.

It is being led by the moderator James Byrne. He’s the president of the Canadian Association of Alternative Strategy and Assets, which he co founded back in 2018. In response to the industry looking for support in the alternative space, and serving aspects such as hedge alternative strategies, private lending, equity, private equity plus emerging areas where Canada is pretty strong, such as digital assets, and robo advisors. He’s joined on the stage by Fred Pi Chairman and CEO of three IQ, Fred is recognized for creating and promoting creative and unique investment products as well for the industry. over quite a few decades of experience. We have Lucius Gregory Meredith, the founder and president and CEO of RChain Cooperative, Greg founded RChain back in 2017, with the purpose of creating a blockchain scalable enough to serve as the coordinating infrastructure necessary to deal with the global consequences of climate change. And Daniel Masters, he is executive chairman of Coinshares , a publicly listed investment firm that manages billions in assets on behalf of a global investment base and a trusted voice in the digital asset ecosystem.

I’m going to hand over to you now James, take it away. I’m sure we’re gonna have another lively debate.

James Byrne 1:38
Edward Snowden recently said that the CBDC’s are just another way for the government to control you they can put all these protocols into them and such and so how, Greg do we get it to him in his excellent city from Barbados know that, you know, defi? You can have all these national? national which AML is great. I mean, you could have that programmed into into these currencies as well. But how can you make sure that defi obeys what you want it to do? What your wishes are, instead of being again, controlled by a state? Or do you want that?

Lucius Gregory Meredith 2:08
Is this on? Yeah, good, good. It’s very interesting, because I think you said a very important point, right? Which is that the click to play, which is, you know, when you’re making your Facebook post, right, when you’re making your Twitter, your Instagram posts, the total number of internet events, there is so much larger than click to pay, how often how often just look at your device, how often are you clicking to play versus clicking to pay, right. And that shift is what these networks have to all be about. Right? And so in order to get to that shift, when we’re talking about programmable money, we have to be aware of the notion of the model of programming that we’re talking about, right?

So that there are four properties that we can use to analyze different models of programming, and this will come directly to answer your question. So the first thing we want to ask when we’re talking about models of programming is: Is it rich enough to say or write down any kind of program that I’d like to write down?

So this is typically called complete either functionally completed Turing complete? That’s our that’s our, you know, sort of, you know, bedrock. But then the next level, which is every engineer in this room, knows about is, can I build larger, more complicated programs out of smaller ones? Turns out that even just those two, those two questions themselves, already eliminate certain models of computation.

So for example, Turing’s own model of computation was not compositional. Petri nets are not compositional. So you’re wondering what what is this got to do with programmable money? I’m getting I’m getting there. Right? So the third one is: Do I have an explicit representation of concurrency? And, to your point about scaling, this is what matters in all of it, right? If someone is is buying, you know, coffee here in Dubai, and someone else is buying an empanada in Santiago at the same time, the likelihood is that they’re not stepping on the same resources. And so today, because of that fact, those transactions can happen concurrently, because they’re isolated, right? So all of the other crypto platforms, all of these other asset platforms, they sequentialize them.

And that’s never going to scale. Right? So that means that you have to have a model of computation when you’re talking about programmable money, you have to have a model of computation that’s going to allow for these transactions to happen at the same time and detect when they are isolated. And the fourth thing is you need to be able to count your use of space and time.

So if you have all four of those properties, then you have a notion of “programmable”, that can scale to the point where, instead of building a payments network first and then hoping that later you could do something like a data network like Facebook or Instagram or anything like that. Instead, you begin from building a scalable global world computer that will allow you to build out an infrastructure, a decentralized infrastructure, like Facebook, Instagram, these kinds of things with billions of users, and many times more total transactions. So with that programmable concept, then you can have a notion of programmable money that you can begin to look at from a formal properties point of view. Right, right.

So that’s where we get to begin to answer your questions circling back around, and the thing that’s that’s really important about this is that we’ve had these answers from computer science for a long time. So at least as long as 20 years now, we’ve had notions of formally checking the kinds of properties that would have prevented the DAO bug as an example. Right? Right. So if you think about it, the saving grace for the Ethereum network, when the DAO bug happened was that it was running at about seven transactions per second. Imagine Ethereum running at visa level speeds. The DAO bug happens in one second, that contract is drained of all 150 million dollars.

Would that network have survived?

James Byrne 6:44
Like the Wright brothers versus a Concorde.

Lucius Gregory Meredith 6:47
Right, so we’re starting to see this next generation of platforms that are getting close to visa level speeds, but they don’t have this next level of security. And that’s what becomes absolutely essential, if we’re talking about, you know, the way I like to put it is:

you can have the angels themselves build the core protocol, but as soon as you have this programmable layer, all these pesky humans are writing programs on top of them, and they will make errors.

Lucius Gregory Meredith

And so unless you have this next level up, you will constantly be running into security flaws, and other kinds of financial risks that will bring these networks down. But we do have the tools and techniques to sort them out. And in fact, with RChain, this is exactly what we’re providing.

So we’re providing a data network first, right? So you can scale this, in fact, you know that these networks are not scalable, when they give you a fixed transaction per second number. If they’re telling you what their top transaction per second number is, they can’t scale. If you add hardware, and you get more scaling, well, that’s the way we’ve been scaling systems now for 40 years, 50 years. You can’t wait for the next software innovation to scale, right? You have to, you have to be able to say I’m adding more hardware, and it gets faster. So this is the kind of network that we’ll see in the next generation, and RChain is already there. Once you have that, then you must have these other security protocols to begin to go after them.

James Byrne 8:28
So you never trust a car with a speedometer, you want to be able to just go as fast as you can.

James Byrne 8:33
So we’ll go back to our resident mathematician, you know, the 51% is a problem in Bitcoin, someone could control it. And but you have another way of taking the 51% that you want to have 51% of transactions or computing power outside of your network. How does that work in the defi network?

Lucius Gregory Meredith 8:50
Actually, I think it’s a misunderstanding what I was saying. So I was I was simply pointing out that RChain is naturally sharded. And within the main net shard, we want to make sure that we have a good measure of decentralization. So one measure of decentralization is that at least 51% of those validators are not run by RChain Cooperative, right they’re they’re run by other parties throughout the world,

James Byrne 9:17
kind of like the internet.

Lucius Gregory Meredith 9:18
Yeah, exactly.

James Byrne 9:20

Lucius Gregory Meredith 9:20
Yeah, yeah, exactly. I mean, the real issue with with proof of work is that 51% attacks are realistic, we’ve already seen that multiple times now and, and and proof of ultimately becomes centralized because the data requirement like if you were to take a proof of work network, like Bitcoin, to the point where you had, you know, a good percentage of the global population actually conducting transactions, right, then the data requirements to go all the way back to Genesis they just balloon, and they balloon and they balloon, and then you don’t have any parties that can actually maintain that kind of that kind of data load. Right?

So RChain, for example is based on the CASPER proof of stake protocol, we actually have finalization, which means that validators can catch up, they only have to go back to the last finalized state in order to catch up. And that’s just as safe and secure and just as decentralized, but you know, if you take a higher perspective, the the thing that is is important, and I agree with the panelists here is that this, this kind of technology is here to stay. When we quibble over proof of stake versus proof of work. That’s really kind of down in the details, the real issue, and I think that it was really nice that, that we heard this in such prominence in such a prominent position in Dr. Rubini’s talk, the real issue is that we’re going to have to coordinate around climate change in a way that we have never had to coordinate in the history of humanity. I’ll give one very short example.

So if you waved a magic wand right now, and stopped all carbon emission, we’re still going to blow past 1.5 degrees Celsius temperature rise, that means that the tropical zone around the planet is uninhabitable, you get wet bulb conditions where the humidity and the temperature is so high, that you don’t even know that you’re dying because your sweat doesn’t cool you off. Unfortunately, there are 40% of the world’s population in the tropical zone. So that means that 2.8 billion people are going to have to relocate in potentially as little as 10 years. This is a humanitarian crisis, beyond the likes we have ever seen in the history of the human race, and what we need are coordination technologies, like the cryptocurrencies, like blockchain, in order to begin to coordinate ourselves, not not just out of this mess, but to coordinate for those people who are going to suffer inevitably.

James Byrne 12:25
Not to take away from that, but I think you just gave Fred his next big idea he’s gonna put Canadian Real Estate on the blockchain and we’re going to be started selling the tundra. So we’ll be ready for that in the wild and woolly north.

Host 12:36
Gentlemen, thank you so much, again, for putting this discussion. Round of applause, I think for into a really good context for the audience to grab, hold.

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