Today’s release of Marlowe Playground marks an important milestone for Cardano—the beginning of its Goguen era. Charles Hoskinson, the CEO of IOHK, looked back at why introducing semantic clarity between various users of a blockchain’s infrastructure took so long and the impact it will have on the future—both Cardano’s and the global one.
Cardano’s complexity reflects the huge expectations from blockchains in 2020
Cardano’s product updates, which became a regular occurrence for the company after Shelley’s July launch, have started to become exponentially longer and more complicated as time goes by. The company’s October product update was its longest yet, with heads of Cardano’s multiple development teams laying out the progress they made throughout one of the company’s busiest months.
The enormous complexity in Cardano, which was more than evident from the product update, is a result of high expectations the market has for blockchains in 2020, Charles Hoskinson, the CEO of IOHK, said in his latest video.
Addressing the latest development from Goguen, Hoskinson said that the volume of things going on simultaneously behind the scenes at Cardano shows both the quality of the teams working on it and the reality of running a commercial blockchain in 2020. In 2013, when Hoskison was involved in co-founding Ethereum, expectations were very different—all effort was put into writing and reviewing code on paper. Hoskinson said that while the notion of native assets and extended smart contract functionalities were certainly discussed, tailoring the platform for the emergence of DeFi and the rise of the ERC-20 standard was something nobody thought about at the time.
In 2020, however, if a platform wants to be competitive, it needs to think about even more complex factors, he explained. To be competitive and invite real use and utility at a scale of millions and billions of users, which include both people and organizations, a platform needs to have unparalleled functionality and answers to almost all of the pervasive questions regarding governance and security.
An important step towards achieving this functionality was taken by releasing Marlowe Playground earlier today. Hoskinson said that the platform, which enables those without programming experience to write and test out smart contracts on Cardano, leverages more than 30 years of history in domain-specific language design. While the release might look low-key to those not familiar with the smart contract system, the Marlowe Playground is actually the first time in history that semantical clarity was established between all participants of a complex system.
In practice, this means that the developers building applications, the people writing smart contracts, the entrepreneurs leveraging the applications, and the financial infrastructure services utilizing them all speak the same language. Aside from drastically shortening the time needed to build and deploy complex systems, this will also open up a whole new world of possibilities to everyone using Cardano.
To get to this state, Marlowe needed to go through four years of evolution. That evolution, however, is what will enable it to grow as time goes by. Hoskinson said that the Marlowe Playground will go through a huge evolution over the next six months, with the number and quality of the templates available on the platform drastically increasing. This will enable applications to be built on the platform that will, once deployed on Cardano, support cross-chain communication.
The ramifications of a unifying programming language
The importance of Marlowe Playground lies in its design—it was built in a way that enables those using it to prove that the applications they’re working on are correct. And while this might look like overkill in a world where projects like Sushi, Kimchi, and the likes dominate the crypto space, Hoskinson believes that the slow and steady approach adopted by Cardano is the only way to ensure stability in the future.
The point of a domain-specific language (DSL) such as Marlowe is to give clarity to people in the industry, he said. It has a wide array of uses in various industries—for example, the benefits of a unifying programming language can be felt the most in the healthcare industry. With a DSL brokering their movement and storage, medical records will no longer be such a burden on the system. Semantical unification will be created between doctors, patients, hospitals, insurance providers, and all other participants of the system.
Giving more weight to Marlowe is the fact that IOHK seems to be looking way, way ahead into the future. Hoskinson said that what DSLs lack in importance right now will be replaced tenfold in the following years.
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