A global community is collaborating to innovate in the blockchain space. Cardano is developing a competitive advantage by tackling big challenges with transparent communication and shared understanding. The Cardano Improvement Proposal (CIP) process was introduced to provide a forum where developers from around the world can be actively involved in the evolution of the network.
The art of cooperation is very nuanced and intricate. Before a successful collaboration can begin, a common understanding of the problems being addressed must be shared by those attempting to build the solution. To say Cardano is complex would be an understatement. The mission of ‘pushing power to the edges’ presents monumental problems.
The Cardano Problem Statement (CPS) concept is elucidated in CIP-9999 (“CIP minus 1”) by Matthias Benkort and Michael Peyton Jones. This CIP defines “a formal template and structure around the description of problems.” A CPS is a new breed of formalized Cardano document, “meant to complement CIPs and live side-by-side in the CIP repository as first-class citizens.”
The Cardano Problem Statement process seeks to foster new forms of utility and value by more efficiently leveraging the collective intelligence of the community. Every blockchain that develops and fine-tunes a system for enhancing collaborative capabilities will reap the benefits over time. There are very few problems we can’t solve when we recognize the importance of organizing for productive collaboration.
CPSs are meant to “capture a problem and a set of constraints and hypotheses.” The structure of CPSs must follow a general format, consisting of a preamble, abstract, problem, use cases, goals, and open questions. The ‘Goals’ section is meant to “make it easier to assess whether a solution solves a problem… Ideally, goals capture high-level requirements.” The ‘Use Cases’ section focuses on the end-users and clearly illustrates how addressing a specific problem will increase the usefulness of Cardano for everyone. The ‘Open Questions’ section in a CPS is “meant to save time, especially for problem statement authors who will likely be the ones who end up reviewing proposed solutions… [Authors should] state upfront the elements they have already thought of and what any potential solution should consider in its design.”
The process for proposing and editing a Cardano Problem Statement closely resembles that of the Cardano Improvement Proposal. Editors play the same role in both processes.
CPSs are given one of three ‘Statuses’ throughout the evolution of development: Open, Solved, or Inactive.
Cardano Problem Statement #1
Titled ‘Metadata Discoverability and Trust’, the first official CPS falls in the category of ‘Metadata’ and was authored by Bruno Martins of IOG. He describes three specific challenges presented by having a multitude of different types of metadata being used to describe “scripts, stake pools, script hashes, token policies and applications.” The problems are Discoverability, Correctness, and Trust.
The goals of CPS-0001 are listed below.
- Define how metadata can be associated with the subject.
- Metadata should be discoverable by wallets and applications.
- Associate some form of identity to a metadata claim.
Cardano Problem Statement #2
Andrew Westberg is the author of CPS-0002, which is in the ‘Core’ category and is titled ‘Cardano Pointer Address Removal’. He points out that “pointer addresses (having address prefix 0x41 or 0x51) have existed since the launch of Shelley Mainnet.” These addresses are shorter than the Cardano receiving address which most ada holders are accustomed to. Westberg describes three specific problems that would arise if pointer addresses were to become widely adopted:
- Require a secondary chain lookup.
- Anti-incentive pattern.
- Require additional steps for wallets to get user’s ada into a staked state.
Collaborating to Create New Value
Cheers to the brilliant developers contributing to Cardano’s ecosystem day in and day out! This is Web3, so let’s call it Decentralized Collaboration (DeCo). The process of DeCo has already helped Cardano generate innovations that other networks can’t duplicate. A truly global system of DeCo will benefit from the unique capabilities of people from all over the world, as well as their understanding of local context and culture.
There seems to be a general misunderstanding of the benefits of collaboration. It shouldn’t be seen as a way to offload work to someone else to save time and/or money. According to research done by the Harvard Business School, collaboration lowers costs for all involved while also providing superior aptitude for innovation via “rapid access to capacity, technical know-how, process expertise, and domain knowledge.”
Cardano Problem Statements are a new way to maximize our efficiency when communicating ideas and data related to complex challenges. We can all be stakeholders in this grand experiment, but we have to accept that also exposes us to complex problems. Luckily, it isn’t the problem that defines us… it’s how we define the problem that truly counts.
Many would agree that the world needs a new global financial operating system. As a global community, blockchain gives us a new set of tools to use as we work to create solutions to the multitude of problems facing our world. Cardano’s approach to problem solving is one of the most inspiring components of this immensely powerful network that is emerging before our eyes.
Cardano exemplifies a pioneering investment in the establishment of sustainable DeCo capacity that can improve and expand the network for years to come. Developing technology that improves the processes of Decentralized Collaboration may be costly, but it’s an investment that could pay dividends. Cardano is working on technical standards that enable seamless protocol upgrades and systems for documenting the shared knowledge and experience of participants. A new age of transparent global cooperation is upon us!