The Importance of Open Source: the Cardano Foundation looks to the future of blockchain

17 August 2022 • Press Releases
Renagh Mooney
Global Communications Director

Combining open source with Cardano’s public permissionless blockchain reinforces decentralization and brings a wealth of contributions to the ecosystem

Frederik Gregaard, CEO of the Cardano Foundation, and Dirk Hohndel, Chief Open Source Officer, recently sat together for a lively fireside chat where they discussed some of the fundamental principles of blockchain and open source. These included how the two fields intersect, why this happens, and what those similarities mean—from the possibilities they enable to their crucial role in anchoring blockchain as a financial and social system fostering positive impact for generations to come.

The Cardano Foundation views open source as a key step in ensuring blockchain remains a thriving technology. Legacy systems require technologies that accommodate their specific needs and are adequately updated to incorporate new possibilities. With the Cardano blockchain working towards minimal viable centralization, the Cardano Foundation sees a need to actively engage in open source. Therefore, we have heightened our commitment to this area.

Synergies between open source and blockchain

Decentralization sits at the very core of blockchain technology and open source software. They share a drive to improve transparency and both sprout from a belief that technology should not remain dependent on or controlled by a single entity. Instead, the influence and guidance of a varied community should help technology grow. To this effect, blockchain and open source alike require frameworks that not only invite participation from those looking to contribute, but also clearly show what is being done by whom and how decision-making happens. Moreover, these environments ought to value true representation from a diversity of voices, experiences, interests, and needs.

Hohndel considers there are significant opportunities for blockchain to help open source efforts. For one, it could be used to establish a model whereby the maintainers of critical pieces of open source infrastructure would receive compensation for their contributions. It may equally prove instrumental in supply chain security.

Software shared across multiple segments of an ecosystem or business field is generally an excellent candidate for open source development. At the same time, the core features of blockchain technology ensure the permanence of information along with the ability to verify it. Blockchain becomes a vehicle for transparency, ideal to track and trace the various components of a supply chain and authenticate their origin. An open source solution built on blockchain could therefore be perfect to secure the full data records of supply chains.

The Cardano Foundation knows this type of solution calls for a vigorous collaboration between enterprises and developers. Indeed, we are committed to simultaneously foster and facilitate such dialogue. In this regard, we again recognize the advantages of an open source approach. As Hohndel made clear, open source has a long and successful record of de-risking different software stacks for enterprise use.

Expanding the utility of blockchain

With more enterprises and organizations beginning to understand the advantages of a public permissionless blockchain—where the value proposition is connected to security infrastructure and to the interaction with users and customers—, the Cardano Foundation has experienced a considerable increase in the volume of inbound enquiries. This growing interest also points to the importance of a blockchain that is both technologically sound and properly prepared for enterprise deployment.

Gregaard explained how an enterprise critical technology must ensure the reliability, resilience, and predictability of the middle layer between the software stack and the operating model. Similarly, the technology has to guarantee an adequate uptime and a compliance with the expectations of regulators. For this reason too, the Cardano Foundation maintains its unwavering dedication to engage in conversations with organizations, businesses, and policymakers.

Success of a technology or software component is measured through its use. Likewise, open source broadens the functionality and impact of a component by attracting a vast array of people to get involved in a project. The effect proves exponential: The more a software stack is utilized, the more contributors it captivates, the more energetic the developer community grows, and the better the software becomes.

The Cardano Foundation places a special emphasis on blockchain utility and steadily works to diversify the uses of the Cardano blockchain. This requires frequent conversations with enterprises around the globe to correctly understand what they necessitate and consider an added value. We wish to ensure these insights and feedback are factored into the development of the core infrastructure as well as into the middle layer connecting the blockchain infrastructure to enterprise use.

We strongly believe that a close symbiosis between open source and Cardano’s public permissionless blockchain will bring a wealth of outsider contributors to our ecosystem who not only build on the blockchain but also, and crucially, help to build it. As the Cardano Foundation encourages the open source maturity of the Cardano blockchain, we welcome anyone interested in joining us.