Blockchain North Founder & CEO, Florent Thévenin, in conversation with the Founder of Cardano, Co-Founder of Ethereum, and CEO & Founder of IO Global, Charles Hoskinson, at the Blockchain Futurist Conference in Toronto, 2023.
Charles: We’re building a digital nation. If you really think about it, you’ve got money, millions of people, voting, supply chain, and digital identity. Ultimately, nation states are going to use this [blockchain] as their backend, so you need a governance system that’s transnational and fair for everybody.
Sign Up To Our NewsletterMonthly updates on the blockchain industry in Canada + globally -
sign up for articles, a monthly news roundup, community submitted content + more!
Continue to listen, watch, or read below:
With that in mind, could you speak a little bit about the importance of CIP 1694 and the proposal?
1694 is basically our best approximation, as a community, of how to do what’s called a minimum viable government. The basic idea is that the government can be recursively used to make a better government. Every few months, you just keep upgrading it and growing it.
It’s like going from the iPhone of 2007 to the iPhone of today. Back then, it was revolutionary, but no one would buy the iPhone of 2007 today because the world has moved on. Similarly, when you think about governance, the goal there is to say, can we get something out where the government can build a better government and then that government can build a better government? It’s this recursive concept, but then it can run the system.
The Treasury of Cardon has half a billion dollars in it right now. It’s inaccessible, it’s locked up until a government turns on. They’re actually in charge of that budget. They get to decide how much should be spent on marketing or on development.
This is by the people, for the people. It really is like a nation state. You’ve got voting and campaigns and delegated representatives. It’s really cool to design that. We’re having a lot of fun with it.
Do you ever, in your wildest dreams, hope that blockchain would actually be adopted by governments?
I think blockchains need to make governments irrelevant.
It’s kind of a weird thing that we have these nations’ state borders or artificial ones, especially when you see the Canada/US border.
You’re out in the national forest, and you’re like, ‘Okay, over there is Canada and here is the United States.’ Come on. It’s made of stuff, just like money.
The point of a government is to provide services to us that the private sector can’t because you can’t trust the central authority. You probably don’t want your local bank being in charge of the US dollar, for example.
The blockchain is a third option where it’s neither a government nor a company. It’s a protocol and a new tool for governments and corporations to use to get rid of corruption, improve efficiency, and ultimately make the system, as a whole, fair and more equitable for everybody.
You also spoke about the responsibility of the blockchain community in terms of the power that blockchain represents. Can you expand on that?
This is the first social exponential system of our lifetime. It’s something where a small group of people can build something that could influence and change the lives of millions of people: how their government works, how corruption works, how money works, for both good and bad.
You could build CBDC and combine it with social credit, and then suddenly AI gets to decide whether your money is on or off today. And that’s what China’s doing with their digital currency.
On the other hand, you could build a system where a small group of people can build something to expose corruption at the highest levels and completely change the government because they have a whistleblowing function.
So, it works in both directions. The difference between old systems and this one, is the old systems were the providence of powerful people. Only a small group of people got to play with those tools. With these systems, everybody gets to play and any one person can change the world. It’s very exciting, but you have to have a lot of wisdom in the process.
I’ve spent two years of my life in Africa, and I know you’ve spent quite a lot of time recently in places like Mongolia. How have those trips shaped or evolved your vision of blockchain over the years?
It just shows you why we do what we do. People deserve to have economic identity. That’s a human right.
It’s not OK to have 3 billion people that are left out. It’s also not OK to have the other people who aren’t left out take advantage of the 3 billion people who are. Kook at the lithium mines in Congo. We have these amazing battery-powered cars, but where does that come from?
And it’s been too long since we’ve had this social myopia. We live in one world with one human race. The point of blockchain technology is to remind everybody of that, and go from there shouldn’t be evil to there can’t be evil by design.
What are your surest predictions in a macro sense for blockchain and adoption over the coming years?
Over the next 10 to 20 years, I think blockchain is going to grow to hundreds of millions, and eventually, billions of people in nation states who are going to run on it. I said that years ago. Now you’ve got El Salvador and a lot of other things coming. It’s happening in real time because people are tired. They would just want to be treated fairly.
Blockchain is a way for them to come together, just like we did with unions back in the day, and create a new way to run the world. It’s a lot better for everybody and allows us to live in a safer, more peaceful world.
You have a connection to Canada via Ethereum. Do you have a message for Canadians that’s particular to them?