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Hashgraph and The Future of Blockchain

 

Step Aside Blockchain, Make Way for Hashgraph

Podcast Transcription. Originally Aired 10/9/18

John Best chats with Mance Harmon, CEO and Co-founder of Hedera Hashgraph. Join John and Mance as they explain how Hedera Hashgraph is working to use the hashgraph algorithm to create the first public network. Learn about Hedera’s history, Hashgraph’s strengths and weaknesses, and what sets its apart from blockchain. Finally, peek into the future with their views on where hashgraph, blockchain and cryptocurrency are headed next.

 

Relevant links:

For more information about Hedera 18, visit www.hedera18.com

For more on Hashgraph, visit www.hashgraph.com

John Best:

Hello everyone and welcome to this exciting edition of the BIGCast. My name is John Best and I am the CEO of Best Innovation Group. We love to do cool things for banks, credit unions and lately, lots of different people. You can find us at www.big-fintech.com. I’m excited. It’s another incredible summer day in Colorado Springs. I just got back from Moab. I want to give a shout out to my friend Alex at Mountain America Credit Union who turned me on to going to Moab. If you’ve never been…we climbed the arches, we went through and did canyon lands. It was an amazing two- or three-day trip over the weekend. Unfortunately, now I am just completely wasted, but I’m excited to be back because so much is going on. We have seen so many things moving lately in the FinTech industry. It is very exciting.

I have a very special guest today. Someone I’m proud to say is my friend as well as a business partner and someone who is shaping the world right now in the distributed ledger space. I’d like to introduce Mance Harmon. He is the CEO of Hedera Hashgraph.

Welcome, Mance!

Mance Harmon: 

Hey John! Thank you. I’m very glad to be here.

John Best:

It’s awesome to have you. Mance and I have an interesting history. It’s interesting how we discovered each other, but before we do that, let’s go real quick for the listeners. Tell them what Hedera Hashgraph is, what you do and what’s been going on. Can you give us the thumbnail?

Mance Harmon:

Yes. Very quickly, Leeman Baird, my business partner, my co-founder, and lifelong friend invented the hashgraph algorithm back in 2015. He started in 2012. He had a breakthrough in 2015. Hashgraph is an alternative to blockchain. It has some superior properties in terms of performance and security. Hedera Hashgraph is an organization that is chartered to use the hashgraph algorithm to create the first public network based on that technology. So, Hedera as an organization is both a network and a council. We’ll talk more about this, but at scale, this will be a council of 39 global blue-chip organizations that are cross-industried, geo-distributed and will provide the governance of the global network. The global network is a public DLT. It has a set of services that make it possible for developers to build arbitrary distributed applications. That’s it in a thumbnail.

John Best:

I love when you describe that because when you talk about Leemon, it takes me back to Back To The Future and Doc Brown. One day he got hit in the head and had the idea for the flux capacitor. That’s the way I think of Leemon. He is obviously very technical and also an excellent leader. He’s come up with something pretty amazing. I think I happen to be sitting near your old haunts. I am right outside the Air Force Academy, which is where my home is and where I’m broadcasting today. Isn’t that where you and Leemon met?

Mance Harmon:

We didn’t meet there. We actually met prior to the academy working in a lab for the Air Force senior scientists, for machine intelligence. We started in machine learning back in 1993. From there, we ended up at separate times, going to teach at the Air Force Academy. In fact, for those in your area, Leemon lived just outside of the north gate in an apartment complex.

John Best:

That’s where I live right now. I’m just outside of the north gate. Not in an apartment complex.  That’s very cool. I was saying that we have an interesting history. As you’ve evolved, it’s been interesting for me to watch because I have been on a separate track. I met you guys before you had anything started. Someone called me and said “You need to hear this guy out. His name is Leemon. There’s a gentleman from Ping Identity that wants to talk to you.” I was started to scratch the surface of identity within the credit union space. I was called down and got to sit with you guys. That was very early on for you. I didn’t realize that until just recently.

Mance Harmon:

I think that was before Swirlds existed. If I recall correctly, this was in the spring of 2015.

John Best:

It was.

Mance Harmon:

I was the Head of Labs and Architecture for Ping Identity. I had been looking at blockchain back then. The term blockchain wasn’t even really used in the market. It was still Bitcoin. Bitcoin was at the height of the height curve. Blockchain was on its way up but hadn’t really hit popular use yet. At this stage in early 2015, it was clear that Leemon was going to eventually figure it out. He was on a path of research that looked very promising. He didn’t actually finish off the algorithm as it were and have it solid in terms of what it is today until later in the summer/early in the fall of 2015. We absolutely knew that we were on to something exciting and it was just a matter of time before Leemon cracked the nut, so to speak.

John Best:

I still think it’s weird that he had to use plutonium, but you know. That’s another Back to the Future reference. I couldn’t help myself.

Mance Harmon:

It’s appropriate.

John Best:

When I met you guys, you shared what this was, because my biggest challenge as I went through this was the fact that everything I played with was too slow. As you know, I came from a home banking background where my phone rings if someone can’t login in three seconds, or really, under three seconds. As I was toying with all of this technology, the consensus mechanisms were just too slow for me. I was just starting to walk away, going “I’m not sure this is going to work…” In my head, I had started to write it off. When you guys started sharing it, at first, I was blown away by both of you. Leemon is like working with that dude from A Beautiful Mind. He was starting to crank up things. He got past my math pretty quickly. As I became to understand, basically, what he was doing I realized, “Oh okay, my biggest issue is speed, but this also solves a lot of other problems.”  Interestingly enough, when you say it began to look like Leemon was going to figure this out, I think a lot of people picture him writing code, tapping a button, and checking something, writing code, tapping a button and checking something, but really it was more like a mathematical proof, right? He was close to the end of doing this math that is the kind of math we use to shoot rockets to the moon. My dad was that kind of dude. It has to be solid if you’re going to use it. This was more of a mathematical thing, wasn’t it?

Mance Harmon:

Absolutely. It’s an important point. It’s not the case at all that Leemon was writing code to try and solve these problems. You write code once you understand the solution and you know what the algorithm is, and not before. What this looks like at the practical level is Leemon deep in thought, using paper and pencil to come to conclusions about the math. Just like you said, it is a set of equations and there are math proofs that are associated with it but it has nothing to do with code in the early stages of this. The code comes later when you have figured out the math. So, it started with first principles, building an algorithm that made it possible to achieve something called Asynchronous Byzantine Fault Tolerance. That’s the very best level of security in the field of distributed consensus. The goal from the beginning was to be able to achieve that Asynchronous BFT level, be both theoretical optimal at the algorithm level in terms of security but then also, not sacrifice performance. It turns out that Leemon was able to maximize both. He achieved Asynchronous BFT and he was able to make the bandwidth usage as efficient as possible. Previously that had been the big problem. These distributed consensus algorithms, going back decades, voting algorithms, in particular, were able to achieve ABFT but at the expense of bandwidth usage.

John Best:

Yeah, it was super chatty. I had to vote, you had to vote, everybody had to vote. We had all this voting going on.

Mance Harmon:

Over the network.

John Best:

Exactly. I like to think of this. This is how I explain it in my feeble brain. Do you remember the old simplex phones? We’d have these conference calls and someone would dial in and if someone got on a roll on the other side, you were done. You couldn’t break in because it was simplex, which meant that they couldn’t hear you while they were talking. Not like we have right now. I like to think of what he did as almost full duplex. It’d be like if you and I could just start yakking at each other and somehow listen and talk at the same time. That’s kind of what I think. I like to explain it like that to people, from my small brain.

Mance Harmon:

The end result was a huge improvement in performance in both cases, going from single to full duplex that qualitatively that was a huge improvement and the same is true here. Being able to go from five transactions per second with Bitcoin and proof of work to an anticipated 100,000 TPS or better in terms of cryptocurrency transactions. That’s night and day. That’s the difference between a computer and a calculator.

John Best:

To give people some perspective, and I have to look it up, but Visa, in order to accomplish what it does, turns about 15,000 transactions per second and what’s interesting about that is people misunderstand what a transaction is so let me just give a little clarity here. Some people say logging into a home banking platform is a transaction. Nope. Login is like 600 transactions to achieve what looks like a login. A transaction is a round trip for data, regardless of what it does or how it is, it isn’t necessarily defined as a login or something like that. I think people often misunderstand TPS, or transactions per second, I think it’s good to qualify that. That’s why those high numbers are necessary.

Like, a Visa transaction isn’t just “Oh, I did this, a round trip on servers.” There are several back and forth that happen depending on how you go and which part you use and who the vendor is and who the merchant is. All of these things. So, tell me this Batman, why is Hedera Hashgraph so much better than what’s out there beyond just it being fast?

Mance Harmon:

When you look at the market and you try to understand what are the obstacles to mainstream adoption. Some of those are technical. The performance hasn’t been there. Security, if it’s going to be the case that these public DLTs are going to process trillions of dollars of value, then you know they’re going to be attacked. Everyone knows that they’re going to be attacked. And if you know that, then obviously you want to start with the very best building block that being an ABFT algorithm, because the house you build from those blocks looks very different than if you don’t start there. So those are the technical obstacles historically. There are a couple of soft obstacles and one is stability in the market, stability in the platform. Everyone knows that the public platforms that exist today, because they’re open source are going to hard fork and split into two competing platforms or competing cryptocurrencies. That’s a real problem that most people really haven’t yet really understood and I can explain the problem very simply. If we were to create a security token, a token that represents ownership of a hard asset. Let’s pretend that we have the Mona Lisa and we’re going to tokenize the Mona Lisa and sell fractional pieces of the Mona Lisa to the market using a security token.

John Best:

If the token were a fiat currency, we would say it was a dollar, right?

Mance Harmon:

Yeah.

John Best:

And if the Mona Lisa is worth $50 million dollars.

Mance

Harmon:

Yeah, the Mona Lisa is $50 million of value. We have $50 mil dollars, we’re going to sell dollar shares in the Mona Lisa but we’re going to do it with a token, in sort of a similar way to an ICO. This token represents fractional ownership of the Mona Lisa. The ledger that sits on top of this public platform records the ownership. It says “Alice owns X number of tokens of this Mona Lisa token, shares of this Mona Lisa asset. And that’s true for all the ownership.  If a hard fork occurs on that platform, then all of a sudden, what we have is a situation where the ledger is now running on two different platforms, so you have now two “official” records ownership of the Mona Lisa and you have these software clients that are used to make updates to these ledgers connecting to a network and they don’t know which one is the official network. So, they connect to one or the other, they make trades and the ledger is now in chaos. Who knows who owns the Mona Lisa? This is a fundamental problem when public ledgers hard fork. And it’s not just security tokens. It’s any application that has a state, that stores its state on the public ledger, has this problem. And so, what we’ve done is, we’re different. We’ve actually patented the hashgraph algorithm and because we have a patented algorithm, we’re able to make a promise to the market that Hedera, as a public network, will never fork. You don’t have to worry about the stability of the platform or the chaos that ensues when there’s a hard fork. Now we’re treating it like an open source project, by and large, meaning that the source code is going to be open for review just like the other projects are.

John Best:

It’s already out there isn’t it? It’s already out there in GitHub, isn’t it? 

Mance Harmon:

There’s been versions I know that have been out there, but with version one, the full source code, the full code base will be released and all the services that are part of Hedera will be released for review. And there’s no license. You just use the public network like you would Ethereum or any of the others. You don’t have to get a license to use it. But we can provide stability. The other piece of this, of course, is the council. There are the two technical components, the performance and security and the two softer obstacles, one was stability and finally governance. The goal of governance is to provide the market the certainty and trust that there’s an organization behind this platform, this network that is qualified and will do a good job making the decisions for the platform. What’s the product roadmap look like? What are the features? When are they going to happen? What’s the prices on the services? In our case, it’s a council of 39 global blue-chip organizations deliberately chosen to be representative of the entire industry. So, we’re trying to get representation from 18 sectors of the market. It’s not a bunch of banks. There’ll be two banks, maybe three.  Banks, tech giants, telcos, global insurance organizations, global law firms, retail, etc., etc., and they’re geo-distributed. We already have representation from Australia, Asia, The US, Europe, India, South America. We’re missing the Middle East and Africa but I’m confident that we’ll get representation from there as well. This council is designed to be the most decentralized governing body of any of the public platforms. When you compare this governing organization to the others, well the competition is a set of core developers, maybe some miners that are making fundamental decisions for the network as a whole. Maybe there’s a foundation behind the network with a half-dozen members. Maybe there’s a single company with small ownership that are making decisions for this global network. In our case, we’ve designed it to be the most inclusive and distributed council that we can think of. And those are the four.

John Best:

When you say “blue-chip,” that’s Fortune 500 companies, right?

Mance Harmon:

Yeah, exactly. Each company individually represents tens of billions of dollars of market cap and they have the very best brands in their industry. That’s critically important. We want the markets. The developer out there that’s working for a big enterprise that has a 2-million-dollar budget to build a distributed app, we want them to have confidence in the organization behind this global network and so we’ve set the bar very high in terms of who can be the governing council members.

John Best:

So, can you name any of them? Are you allowed?

Mance Harmon:

Not yet, but we will soon. The way we’ve approached this is we first gotten letters of intent from organizations of our choosing to be distributed in the way that we’ve described and then we moved from LOI to negotiating and signing a full membership agreement. So, structurally, this is a limited liability corporation, an LLC.  Ultimately there will be 39 members of this LLC and we’re at the stage now, in fact, we just had our first council meeting last week in NYC where a large number of these organizations got together, met each other face to face for the first time, and we are very close to having that first tranche of council members sign that LLC agreement which  makes all of this official and at that stage, then we’ll be announcing who that first tranche of members are.

John Best:

That’s awesome. So, coming back to this, and what a great definition, that people can build on this Hedera Hashgraph. You mentioned that it’s going to be open in the sense that people can look at. I think the only difference here is that if someone found something and wanted to make change to code, they would just tell you and you make change to code, but other than that, it very much operates like an open source system.

Mance Harmon:

It does. Even the open source projects, people say “if it’s open source then you have hundreds or thousands of developers contributing.” That’s the theory but the reality is very different. The reality is that in all these open source projects, there are a core group. In fact, they call them core developers. And those core developers really have the stature within the community and for the project that, you have to have their buy in and blessing for anything that gets added to the main baseline. What that means is that in that case there’s a set of core developers that are really the ones making the decisions about what goes into the code base. We’re no different in that regard except we’re making it clear that this is proprietary at the foundation. There will be opportunities to be true open source for services and features outside of the core parts of this. We’ll talk more in the future about what those contributions can happen but, by taking this approach, we’re able to bring much needed stability to the global network where none exists. Actually, what we’re doing is bringing an option to the developer community that previously did not exist, and that is a stable platform.

John Best:

Right. It’s not dependent on the goodwill of the community. That community could wind up in conflict and fork, which is what’s happened over and over again in different areas.  Talk to me a little bit about nodes in that regard. This is my segue into private permissioned versus public permissionless. I know there’s a difference, because I knew you as Swirlds. Hedera was (and I’m glad to be a part of it) but it was like “Ah! Okay. That makes some sense.” In my mind, you’re still Swirlds. Unfortunately, you get lumped into the first time John met you because I’m old and that’s the way it works, right? I assigned you an IP and that’s the IP that you get. You have a lease until I die.

Go ahead and talk to me a little bit about “If I wanted to run a node on Hedera, is it proof of work? Proof of stake? Is there value in that? Can you actually do it?” And then, what does it look like if someone needs to write something separate?

Mance Harmon:

It’s not proof-of-work. It is proof-of-stake and the model in our proof-of-stake system is really very simple. That is that instead of one computer, one vote, which is what you’d have in a permissioned network, it’s one token or one coin-one vote in the public network, the-proof-of stake network. So, the vote that you cast is weighted by the number of tokens you have in your account. So, there is this place where we have to start where the tokens have really low value, or relatively low value and we want to grow the value, or increase the value of the token over time, such that it becomes practically impossible for a bad actor to buy up enough tokens in the market to unfairly influence the voting in the network. The math works out such that as long as less than a third of the tokens are owned by a bad actor, then they can’t disrupt the network. So, the question is, how do you get there? We can’t just create a crypto-currency, throw all the tokens into the market with them having relatively low value because a bad actor potentially could at that stage, buy up a third of the tokens and do bad things to the network.

John Best:

Right, which you just did a crowdsale for that.

Mance Harmon:

We did, but importantly, what we’re doing is making sure that the treasury, Hedera treasury, holds at least 2/3 of the tokens for a very long period of time. In fact, on day one when the tokens are released to the market with general availability of the network, next year, by the end of Q1 is the target, only 6% of the total token pool will be floated to the market, meaning that 94% of the tokens will still be in Hedera treasury, under Hedera control. Hedera will continue to sell out, and not just treasury selling out, but the investors, their tokens will become unrestricted over time and only at about year 5, is the current plan, by the end of year 5, will Hedera treasury have control of 2/3, or go past that 2/3 threshold where we sell down beyond 1/3 into the market. By doing that, we can hopefully by that point in time, guarantee that the value of the token is high enough that it’s practically impossible for a bad actor to have a corner on the market of the tokens. What that means though, initially, the 39 members will run 39 nodes and those nodes will have the voting weight of 1/39th of Hedera treasury. That’s where we start. The next step beyond that is to go multi-sharded. This will be a sharded solution, meaning there will be lots of sub-networks around the world, each running their own hashgraph consensus algorithm, voting and coming to consensus and then there will be an intershard messaging protocol that makes it such that the entire network as a whole, maintains the asynchronous BFT property and allows us to scale to internet scale, to tens of thousands or beyond in terms of number of nodes in this network. But the starting point is with the 39 and it’s for these technical reasons and security reasons that I’ve described. We have to bootstrap the value of the cryptocurrency before we go into a fully sharded solution.

John Best:

So, the multi-shards. Is that going to reduce significantly any of the transaction speed?

Mance Harmon:

The interesting thing is that if you can have multiple shards, each shard, running say, at 100,000 TPS or better, there are some applications that can parallelize their work and take advantage of each shard individually in parallel. If they are in shards, and your application can parallelize its activities, then you can do Nx10,000 TPS. So, if there were 10 shards, then you could do a million TPS. Other applications simply, by the nature of the way that their data patterns work out, they can’t parallelize. In that case, let’s assume the worst case, that they can only take advantage of one shard at a time, and in that case, we still have 100,000 TPS, in our case is orders of magnitude faster than the other public platforms in the market.

John Best:

So, you’re still good on coming to consensus. You’re guaranteed double-spend proof. You’re guaranteed finality. You’re guaranteed fair order. All of those things in your shard, and that doesn’t really matter to the rest, but if you have something where your product is double spend proof by nature or that doesn’t really matter, then you could parallelize across all of them and use them almost as big giant processors, almost a supercomputing algorithm. You could say “Hey, I could send this vote over here and this over here and this over here and exponentially increase the speed of what I’m doing.”

Mance Harmon:

In both cases, you don’t have to worry about the security. A double spend can’t happen no matter whether you can parallelize or not. If you can’t parallelize, you can be spending transactions and multiple shards at once and the algorithm itself protects against. Both the hashgraph algorithm within a shard as well as the intershard messaging protocol and how we achieve sharding protects against double spend which is important and required. So, the security that is maintained across the network in its entirety regardless of the application that you build. Some applications will just be able to take advantage of all the shards at once or multiple shards at once and others won’t by the nature of the application itself.

John Best:

I get it now. One of the coolest things about this, that blew my mind was as I was working with this, I have all these moments like moments where Leemon had six years ago, where I finally come to “the light hits me” and one of them was the clock on your pc literally doesn’t matter as long as overall, 1/3 of the organization have clocks that are somewhere close because it’s all about relative context. It doesn’t really matter. That blew my mind. That’s a big problem in a lot of other networks. Clock skew is a huge problem.

Mance Harmon:

We have a consensus time stamp and to your point, the way it works is that if I submit a transaction to the network. Say I’m a node in the network and I submit a transaction to the network, yes there is a timestamp on my transaction, but that’s not what matters. What matters are the timestamps placed on the transactions, not by my transaction, but by those that receive it. So, if there are ten nodes in the network, of course there’d be far more than that, but let’s just go with ten, if there were ten nodes in the network, when each one of the ten receives my transaction, they put a received timestamp on that transaction and then we simply line up that transaction, the received timestamps in order, and we choose the middle timestamp, or the median timestamp, and that timestamp, as long as not more than a 1/3 of the nodes in the network are evil, meaning that they’re trying to skew the timestamps. Even if 1/3 say that the timestamp is a million years in the future or a million years in the past, and they’re colluding together, it doesn’t matter as long as not more than 1/3 are colluding to influence the timestamp, then we will get an accurate average, or median timestamp. That then comes the consensus timestamp for the transaction. All transactions go through the same process and get a consensus timestamp and we simply line the transactions up in consensus timestamp order and now the community has an ordering on the transactions and they can apply them to the underlying ledger in the same consensus order. That’s the algorithm in short hand.

John Best:

Yeah, it really is. It’s cool that you explained it that way because for fintech and banking, that’s really super important. If you were a bank that runs the debits before the credits, you’re not going to be very popular with your members or your customers. Nobody likes that. “Hey! Couldn’t you have put my paycheck in first and then run all these things you that you seem to want to run?”

Let’s talk a little bit about Swirlds. Is Swirlds gone? Does it no longer exist? Is it all just Hedera now? Are you still the CEO of Swirlds, or did you guys turn that into like a cleaning company or something because that does sound to cleaning supplies to me, I’m just saying “I use Swirlds to clean my windows and you should see how clean they are!”

Mance Harmon:

You’re right. It does work well for a cleaning agent. So, Swirlds continues to exist.
The reason that we started Swirlds first, was we were just a couple of guys with no reputation in the DLT space. We had a brand-new algorithm. Obviously, we understood the value of the algorithm, but no one else did in that early stage. We knew that we had to get some market validation of the technology prior to the point where we could convince global 100 organizations to buy into participation in this governing council for this public network. We had to start with Swirlds addressing enterprise use cases, necessarily closed or permissioned network use cases and of course, John, that’s where you and I met. BIG and Swirlds were working together to create a private permissioned network using the hashgraph algorithm for the credit union industry and CU Ledger and that’s where some of that early market validation came from. We got to the point a year ago, a little bit more than a year ago now, where we had enough traction behind us and market validation that we realized we could create a public network and so we spun out Hedera and of course Hedera is where it is today. Hedera as an organization is focused entirely on the public space. It will become a sales channel for Swirlds and where appropriate will provide Swirlds products for permissioned use cases and Swirlds continues to address the permissioned market. So, yes. Both organizations continue to exist but focused on entirely different spaces, different markets, different business models.

John Best:

That’s where BIG has been very close with you and why we still know you as Swirlds because we have been focused in a lot of financial applications. Unfortunately, we have struggles with regulatory issues on putting it on a public network. Like it or not, it’s not technical issues. It’s really more regulatory issues and that’s where we’ve really learned that this product is doing well. We’ve partnered with you.

Mance Harmon:

Your organization was the very first. You were the first partner to ever use the hashgraph SDK. You’ve definitely got a longer period of experience with this probably than anyone else in the world.

John Best:

And we’re proud of our partnership with you. We have been doing some implementations of the private permissioned networks for organizations and it’s interesting to me, Mance, we’re both old enough to remember the internet coming around and when I think of the internet, there were people who were really smart. Leemon level, Mance level smart, and they were stuck. They were stuck on a problem, just like Leemon was for a long time and suddenly the internet shows up and it is a solution to their problem but they don’t find that out right away because it takes time for, I’ll call it the legend of the internet, (that sounds like a cool thing. Maybe I should start a podcast called “The Legend of the Internet…) But, you know, the internet, and what it does, and its value proposition and its properties to proliferate out to these folks who suddenly learn that having a ubiquitous network with some protocols and some standards wrapped around it is very valuable and could solve this problem for me or that problem for me. Do you think that hashgraph is in a similar situation? When I first talked to you, nobody knew who you were. You were down in Texas doing your thing. Now I look on YouTube and it’s the Mance and Leemon hour. You’re in Singapore. You’re in Australia. You’re everywhere. Do you think that, if you had to put it at a percentage, where would you say the message is right now and what do you think we are if you were to say “Hey? this is a marathon. Are we at mile one or mile ten, or mile thirteen, or where are we at?”

Mance Harmon:

Market timing is everything. That’s what made this so exciting back three, four, five years ago when Leemon was working on this. We recognized that Bitcoin as a technology was making the market for distributed consensus and certainly what Leemon was working on, if he could pull it off. If he could actually solve the problem, we recognized the value is going to be huge. So, remember, Bitcoin was introduced ten years ago and it’s taken that long for us to get where we are today. We’ve always assumed that there would be a crash. When the ICO market really took off in early 2017, and just started a little bit prior to that point, we’ve always assumed there would be a crash in the market, the cryptocurrency market and from that would arise a handful of players that really have good quality core technology that solve real market problems that the market can trust to be around for the long term. So, every decision that we’ve made has been to that end. We started understanding that there would be a crash and we wanted to build something that the market would trust for the long term. Definitionally, from our perspective, this is not a sprint. This is a marathon. We are trying to build a 100-year company. I think that we will get there. I think we are on track to getting there. In terms of overall, “Where are we in the market?”  I like to use the web as an analogy because most of us have been around, back in the Mosaic days, and I feel like we are sort of in the early Netscape days. We’re a little bit past Mosaic. Mosaic started in version one, and then there was Netscape, and then IE, Internet Explorer. We’re past version one. We’re sort of in that next generation and I think Hedera Hashgraph represents the generation beyond that. We really have to go from where we are today in the market, which I like to use calculator as an analogy. It demonstrates this proof of concept but real-world use-cases require far more than five transactions per second. We have to solve that problem. I think we’re just at the cusp of introducing the market to a technology that will be around for the long term. Are we in that downturn? Is this the crash?
Certainly, it’s been a bad market for crypto, all year, this year but even so, the infrastructure continues to be built out. The regulatory environment, in my opinion, is improving. I think the regulators are grappling with how to make it possible for this market to exist while still protecting consumers and we will get there.  With that regulation and certainty, comes the ability for large partners, the big money to speak, institutions, etc., to actually begin to participate in a more meaningful way than they have in the past. So, I think that we’re on track to maturing as a category and I’m very bullish on the next five years. I don’t think it’s going to take that long for this to break out and we see a huge influx of investment and new players that are built on top of the next generation product. I don’t know if we’ve seen the crash. I could absolutely believe that the crash is underway and maybe is going to go much lower than it already is, but I also equally believe that we will come out of that as an industry and we’ll end up having a good core set of quality platforms that the world will be developed on top of.

John Best:

I like to think of it as “we’re in the Napster stage.”

Mance Harmon:

I can believe that as. That’s another good analogy.

John Best:

iTunes is being built. Everybody likes the idea of being able to get one song at a time but nobody really wants to do it in nefarious ways, so if there was a way…I like to think of it as you guys are building this stable iTunes kind of a moment.

Mance Harmon:

Exactly. It’s the difference between Napster and the iTunes store with the Apple model. Lots of analogies.

John Best:

I think we’re at the Rice Krispy moment, just before we get to Captain Crunch. So, Mance, thank you so much for being on. I know we’re at time here. If someone wants to learn more, they have questions. They are listening to you and going “I got to get me some of this, I want to talk to this guy!” What do they do?

Mance Harmon:

There is the hashgraph.com website with the full white paper and resources there. There is a Telegram channel for Hedera Hashgraph. I think we’re at about 40,000 members there. There is a developer discourse channel with roughly 5,000 members and we have Meetups everywhere. It’s hard for me to keep up. I think in the last year we’ve had more than 10,000 people show up at Meetups in 250 cities.

John Best:

I ran my own Meetup here in Colorado Springs and I had a lot of people show up.

Mance Harmon: 

It’s hard for me to keep up with all those numbers. We’re everywhere. The point you made earlier, if they want to learn, they can always go to YouTube and search on…

John Best:

Yeah! Search on Mance Harmon and watch one of the ten thousand videos you can watch. All of them are really well.  Listen Mance, it’s always a pleasure. Thank you for taking the time to talk to me today. I know you’re extremely busy. We’re looking forward to the release of all this. BIG is a proud partner of both Swirlds and Hedera and we’re excited about Hedera’18! We’ll have a little advertisement for that here. For those of you listening, Hedera’18 is going to be a big meet up, hackathon, a whole bunch of stuff that’s being put together by Hedera and their group. That’s in October. We’ll have some details on that on the web. And by the way, if you’ve heard any of this, we’re going to post a couple of the videos that really explain some of the stuff on the website www.big-fintech.com. We’ll pull down some of those YouTube videos, we’ll sort through them and pick out our favorite Mance moments and then we’ll also make sure that we post all of these other references that Mance made.  Mance, thank you so, so much for your time.

Mance Harmon: 

Nah. Thanks John. I appreciate it and I’m glad to be a partner with you.

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