Interview with Frederik Gregaard CEO of Cardano Foundation

November 27, 2023 by
Interview with Frederik Gregaard CEO of Cardano Foundation

In this interview with Frederik Gregaard, CEO of Cardano Foundation, , we spoke about the latest innovation in blockchain and the most anticipated Cardano summit happening in the Dubai, U.A.E. 

During this discussion, we explored the remarkable evolution of Cardano since its inception, especially focusing on the key milestones achieved since Frederik took leadership in 2020.  Furthermore, he shared insights on the Dubai Summit and its importance for the Cardano community and the broader blockchain industry.  

Rudy Shoushany: Good morning, good afternoon afternoon. We are privileged today to host our excellent foundation, excellent person, excellent CEO. I think we're going to be having one of those foundational talks if we're going to say and then there's a lot happening in UAE, in Dubai. There is a lot of things that are ongoing. We're going to be discovering what's happening. We're going to be discovering what's happening in November also in the worldof blockchain. First, let's welcome Frederick Gregaard the CEO of Cardano Foundation. Welcome Frederick! I just want to set the stage could you briefly introduce yourself to those who don't know you, I'm sure there's a lot of people who know you but still we'd love to grow our community and love to grow also the Cardano community. 

Frederick Gregaard: Sure, thank you for welcoming me here. My name is Frederick Gregaard,  I'm the CEO of the Cardano foundation and yeah we're coming to Dubai in November to have a huge Summit around innovation around interoperability around industry bridging with blockchain, it's going to be.  

Rudy Shoushany: Yeah I'm personally excited I was involved last year and then I know what are we talking about and then especially now talking I'm from Dubai and UAE and then I was speaking with some officials why don't we call October or November the whole month you know, blockchain month because the amount of things that are happening especially from the 10th of October till the 10th or the 15th of November is really crazy and this is where we want to start understanding a little bit about how Cardano, since its inception and since you yourself taking the leadership back in 2020, what were and what are those key milestones that have been achieved so far? 

Frederick Gregaard: 

Cardano is basically working on a sort of an epoch-based development cycle so first and foremost super excited to really to talk about shelly, which is decentralization so the introduction of decentralization is the foundation for any good public permission isblockchain and we are if not the most decentralized blockchain in the world then up there and the fact that we went from you know federated entities or pioneering entities to running thenetwork to over 3,000 Stake pool operators is just simply you know mind-blowing and that's what we called Shelly. 

That's the Shelly era and what's sort of even more mind-blowing aboutthat is we are now in a situation that not only does 3,000 stake pool operators run Cardano  but the uptime of Cardano is over 2,000 days which is again amazing you know? what kind of banking infrastructure, critical infrastructure do you know of who has an uptime of 2,000 days?
I mean this is unparalleled the only one I’m sort of familiar with is Bitcoin right so  the difference between Bitcoin and Cardano and I'm really careful here because I think this is two very complete different things. 
Cardano has the most code commits out there at the moment around the blockchains right? so that means we're  changing the code while we're flying the airplane and we haven't been down knock on wood for over 2,000 days so I think what you really see here is this decentralization coupled with the the architecture of Cardano, it really works and you can really trust it to build critical infrastructure applications on Cardano whether that is for a nation state, whether that is for a new financial market infrastructure, a new type of currency or basically bridging web 2 and web 3 together. 

The other thing that happened was Gogen. Gogen was the introduction of smartcontracts for those of you who don't know so much about Cardano. Cardano is a peer-reviewed research-based blockchain and that means that we are a little bit slow and boring. 

When I say slow and boring it is because we go through a peer-reviewing process and we've you know, we issued more than 180 peer-reviewed papers and some of them are the most cited within cryptographic and decentralized distributed networks in the world so we've really been trailblazing some of that and a lot of other large protocols is building the architecture-based and research done by Cardano at large I think that's amazing but smart contracts is also within the three-year time frame you are mentioning so the fact that we not only do we have smart contracts but we have two different types of representing digital assets whether that is just database entries or real digital assets on Cardano. 

The first one is what we call Native Assets so it's a pure native representation of it which you're actually not able to do on many blockchains and what it does is that you can sort of think about it that you can do a token who is sort of near like a first citizen level as the utility token itself is needed be and there are different gradients of native assets and that and we have, I think you know 5-6 million Native Assets represented on Cardano and the other one is the Smart Contracting Language the Smart Contracting Language, you know is built on Haskell, we call it Pluto and we are now in Pluto version 2 so in the three-year time frame you talked about we actually went from version 1 to version 2 but more than that we now also have a Smart Contracting language called ikon which is coming from an open source bootstrap by the Cardano foundation.
And it gives you actually an easier way to write smart contracts on Cardano and what I mean by an easier way I really mean that we are getting to a level where even we know of many solidity developers who, you know completely engaged and really enjoy writing in Ikon because it's easy to to engage with, it's cheap right and it's very fast and yeah that’s a really you know good opportunity here. 

Then after that we introduced a lot around what we think about is Basho, which is scaling and we are still delivering in the basho area so this basically is the ability to have more transactions per second you know faster relays, you know layer 2 opportunities and a lot of other things there and finally where we're spending a lot of time at the moment right now is in the area which we call Voltaire, which is this governance area and I think what people don't really truly appreciate is that outside Bitcoin, every other blockchain protocol sort of starts a sort of a level of centralization and it's on a journey towards decentralization and I'm super excited about that Journey for the Cardano blockchain and is going really well so what we're establishing right now is all the tooling which we call CIP so Cardano improves since 1694 which basically allows us to really you know build an on-chain government, with you know a legislative body, a constitutional body, etc…and I think that's going to be sort of a not just a great exercise for Cardano but I think the learnings both in terms of technology and social systems we're going to get through that journey is going to spill over in many many nation-states and city-states but also in corporate governance for you know registered shareholder company and and privately held shareholder companies at large so I think that's just to mention a few of the amazing things that happened in the three-year time span you're talking about On top of that, we now have over a thousand companies deploying on Cardano which is also super exciting right? and that's just the ones we know of right? that's, you know all the time those companies who never heard about before and they are all so amazing.

Rudy Shoushany:  Yeah I wanted to ask you about the innovation part but I think you just mentioned them all and it's very important to follow the amount of innovation, amount of updates or amount you know you mentioned the example of banking for example because banks can adopt your technology, they can fully take out their systems and then adopt such technologies but they don't see it yet and then they don't want to be super transparent that's something we also see this is where transparency is a differentiator for good ones but for some others it becomes a threat to their business regardless, you know the blockchain environment has a lot of impact and it's actually a growing concern. 

How Cardano is really addressing those issues and what are the steps being taken to promote the environment, sustainability knowing that, you know, there's always that reference to the bitcoinand then Bitcoin mining and then electricity and whatever regardless of you're working on a different proof of stake but the idea of how we are contributing and I know there's a lot of issues things that your guys are contributing on. 


Rudy Shoushany: Yeah, and that's that's an interesting part talking about this but we cannot talk about any blockchain or Cardano or anything without mentioning crypto market we're not going to go into pricing of course but what are the potential of the future of growth of such a market in general? 

Frederick Gregaard:  Well, the way I think about it is that because Cardano is built differently as I just alluded to with that we have the option of having native assets and smart contracts and we have the really good opportunity in terms of some layer two mechanisms such as what we call Hydra, which is a type of isomorphic State channels you actually start having a situation where you can think about having a token issued on Cardano which will have you know a 100x or 1,000x marketcapital of what Cardano has which is sort of interesting when you kind of think aboutit right so and the other part what we see is that the involvement  of Internet of things and sensors plus the maturity of the Cardano blockchain has led us to a situation now that the um any industry out there.

I have not been able to find an industry who can not harness the power of something like Cardano in terms of transparency and accountability and working with multiple stakeholders across different architectures. 

They can benefit of it as we've seen that the financial infrastructure has been challenged by blockchains right so if you kind of think about what was what is sort of represented on blockchains today a lot of that is capital markets or you know Investment Banking use cases right was just now on a different infrastructure and they have a different sort of audience because they can do the capital intermediation without going through banks right you know but that's just one industry I'm talking about you know hundreds of industries being able to adopt this now because blockchain doesn't stand alone anymore as it did in the early days.

It now stands in conjunction with other innovations right so an example of that is we just launched for the world across cross championship we launch some, some jerseys, some bumper jackets and so on which doesn't sound that sexy right but what happens is that there's a radio beacon embedded in the fabric and now the magic happens because that means that you now have a NFT right a non fundable token in real life in a shirt or a bumper jacket right now that means you can track the supply chain you can track authenticity and providence of this including footprint from you asked about environmental print and so on we can track all of that right on the flip side of that going in we can change the user experience in real life you know think about you're wearing your T-shirt you're walking in on the stadium and you can walk directly over to the VIP entrance and you get in there because you have the right T-shirt on and that can be verified using a blockchain and it cannot be counterfeited right so basically, you can sort of navigate the physical experience completely different because you build that radio beacon into the shirt and you can go all the way from drones being able to track that signal and take a picture of you while you're sitting in the stadium in the first row and you can sort of think about complete new products you can build into that experiences here we're talking another dimension completely different right and then for the younger generation maybe your generation or even younger right who sort of into gaming and web 3 right you can then take that experience and bring that back into your favorite computer game right because you now have something which is also represented in the digital world.
Right so you can actually you know in your avatar whatever game you're playing you now can verify that you have an authentic brand you know costume in there right and you can you know you can prove and say that you own the original right um so that can also bridge into the web 3 world so I think some of those things now are finally after years and years talking about it some of those things are really coming together now in a cheap effective and scalable fashion using the Cardano blockchain or other blockchain. 

Rudy Shoushany: Very very interesting and we want to take Cardano know into another level which not many. does that I know you're involved in a UNHCR project and UNHCR initiatives can you tell us more about such initiatives and why most importantly why Cardano is prioritizing these and why they are important to give back.

Frederick Gregaard: So I'm an economist of trade or Investment Bank or depending a little bit on how where you draw the line in between right and as an economist I'm very interested also in history and ensuring that you know you know history has sort of this ability to repeat itself right, our ability to store knowledge in our brains is sort of very limited at the moment so one of the things we sort of observed was that with any new emerging technology who has exponential power such as blockchain, internet, AI, and so on what we see is that the technology is being weaponized to start with and that's basically because there's a few people who has the ability to benefit from it before the masses benefit from it so we think about this as in information as symmetry right so very few people can benefit from this very early on and we see a few industries you know of your use cases who goes again and again right so when drones came around you know the weaponization of drones and so on and the same goes with blockchain right so one of the things we're focusing on as the Cardano foundation is to be a counterbalance to the weaponization of public commissioners blockchains because we need sufficient use cases to show the world that it's not just bad things happening on a blockchain it is also things who change the social systems who improves the world at large who makes us to come together as a society and with more and more people forcibly displaced than ever before.
I think we're talking about 110 million people is forcibly displaced and now lately in you know in in the Gaza Strip in Israel we're seeing even more right finding new ways to support refugees and humanitarian missions is vital and I think Cardano’s unique architecture has made this partnership possible so that means that ada holders can now delegate to a stake pool and any reward will automatically go towards supporting Switzerland for UNHCR with 80% of the reward generated going directly to operations supporting forcibly displaced people, now as a part of this project the foundation also launched the kind of hoofs initiative with gold tribe, a prominent act on the Cardano ecosystem selling exclusive NFTS featuring iconic goat stressed in Switzerland for UNHCR merchandise and an initial 24 auctionwas followed by a sale of these NFTS which was sold out in 48 hours so when you sort of take this apart right you're saying oh is this just a new way of funding displaced people? 

Well actually is more than that this is about how do we upgrade you know an NGO as big AS United Stations to use web 3 technology in their architecture right this is not just about you know an IT organization doing some NFT drops or something like that now what we're talking about is  educating and enabling UNHCR to use blockchain infrastructure to help you know forcible displaced people around the world and ensuring that more people so democratizing that that if you if you don't give 10 million to this how can you also be a voice in the ecosystem and get the transparency as somebody giving a 100 million has right you spoke about before these banking systems and so on and transparency and the cost of transparency so the goal of course is that we get to a situation that you know that you have much more transparency you have much more direct influence about you know where your money goes and you can track your money and those kind of things and that starts by these use cases but it also starts by showing how you can actually do some something as a force for good using public permission infrastructure.  


Frederick Gregaard: Yeah I think I can do that with different lenses so you need to direct me a little bit if I get off topic right but I think the first thing people don't realize is that there is a very big regulatory push against centralized platforms right so you see you know Facebook has been fined and you know people have been breaching data security and all those things I think the regulator in many ways without even knowing it are basically saying stop this is enough we have enough centralization on some of these sort of huge platform plays there is out there. 

On the other side we've seen some regulators such as Singapore, Switzerland, Dubai, UAE to a certain extent Saudi coming around now as well who's saying you know this is not about tomorrow this is about the next generation of infrastructure and they basically made long you know plans so 10 20-year plans about how is this infrastructure going to be treated how are we going to enforce on that how are we going to do different things and in other words they brought clarity and the willingness to engage with it and I think this is truly unique and here our team has actively engaged and international policy discussions through direct meetings with policy makers, contributions to articles participation in interviews as well as the submissions and responses to formal consultation processes right, so we are very actively involved in that and also Vara would actually be in the Cardano summit so we actually would see that there will be regulatory people in in panels and we're really trying to encourage that now you will always say Hey you know why didn't you bring even more? and like yeah well we have to start somewhere right and we are in Dubai at the summit so I think having the local regulator there is really appreciative and we're going to have some policy makers there

Rudy Shoushany: I'll be looking forward to meeting them also myself because we would love to have this dialogue. 

Frederick Gregaard: Yeah the other thing which is sort of maybe important for people to understand is that you know Cardano the infrastructure is not regulated and this is sort of a little bit of an epiphany many people sort of think about because they say oh hold on a second but if I build something on Cardano it can be regulated but the infrastructure is not regulated how does that fit in and then other places we have sort of like in Japan where we have a what's called a wide listing of the infrastructure right mean that the the the people who looks at public infrastructures basically said you know Cardano has the necessary  security, the necessary operation resilience and so on that you can build on that being you know a large enterprise so this this it's a very complex sort of environment we're navigating in but the fact that we are in close contact with regulators and policymakers around the world and we are being invited to these discussions I think we take that as a positive sign because normally the regulator mainly concerns about the people they're regulating of course that's their job right right and I think that we're being invited to the tables around the world to participate and give our view and and Clarity I think that's a good sign. 
The second thing is we actually just launched U Cardano Explorer for regulators and policymakers so we actually made an explorer sort of recTech Explorer which clearly shows you know some of the business processes including staking the staking life cycle on Cardano and this is one of the topics which is being discussed a lot at the moment what is staking? What isn't staking? you know what about you know login periods what about ownership change? you know do you need to have slashing for it to work? and there we very concretely show how it works in Cardano uh with real data where you can really go in without knowing the computing code that you can verify your opinion of what Cardano does and doesn't do and I'm hoping that you know by also making this Open Source by the end of the  year that other blockchains and other projects will take and adopt that and build tools for regulators and policymakers around the world so we can enable much more innovation much more job creation and much more uses of blockchain in the general world. 

Rudy Shoushany: I like how you approach the regulations also from this aspect where you created an open not open source but an open platform for them to be joined on this very interesting take and I also advise the other blockchains to jump on this is I think pioneering, now I just want to focus on what's happening in 21 days almost the summit itself, why Dubai what's the significance of this event for Cardano and its community and the broader blockchain industry. 

Frederick Gregaard:  Yeah so we are extremely excited to be hosting the Cardano summit 2023 in November with the main statesevent in Dubai but besides that there's actually going to be 20 Community  events happening worldwide sort of in the same same time period I think this is particularly significant for us as this is the first Cardano summit main event to be held in the Middle East and we're trying to the reason we are moving it around has been because we're really trying to acknowledge that we are a global project for the spaceship called Earth not for one culture, not for one country ,not for one use case, but this is much larger and we see Dubai as both abusiness hub and an emerging blockchain hub and therefore an ideal location and it's very hard to navigate blockchain at the moment without actually having to cross over with Dubai because Dubai has just been made such an attractive place to operate and such an attractive placewhere different technologies and different cultures and trade lanes come together. Now the summit 2023 will see uh the unveiling of the foundation's third Global impact challenge, it will be building on the success of previous partnerships with very tree and Switzerland for UNHCR the summit also allowed the communities to showcase their ongoing upcoming innovations  to potential investors and other community members so we're actually going to have sort of we call it the battle of the builders so we're we've attracted some liquidity providers from blockchain but also outside blockchain where projects can pitch towards them think a little bit like shark tank meets blockchain right um there's going to be opportunities for businesses and political leaders of the Mina region to meet with those building Cardano so I think you know if it's just code it's easy but when people interact with code it gets hard and what we've seen is that this opportunity for you know the people who build Cardano and are building Cardano to sit down with the with the local regulators and the political leaders this is incredibly important you cannot just hide like we do today unfortunately between the computer screens right you know we are talking about trust and we're talking about you know humans you know  contributing to trust through distributed leer technology right and I think this networking collaboration is invaluable for the future development of blockchain innovations but it's also invaluable for supporting greater adoption not just in Dubai and Mina but across multiple blockchains and that's why there will be other blockchains also attending the Cardano summit and there will be other projects who's not building on Cardano and there will be Industries like the har authorities and other who's going to be there on the ground to try and understand you know how do they harvest the benefits of this kind of infrastructure, so I'm really really excited about it and as you rightfully said you know there's so much happening in Dubai and I think my only concern at the moment is uh to ensure that people get maximum output out of this in terms of not just talking about things but deploying things not just proof of concepts and an innovation thing but critical infrastructure, actual implementations, yes I want to see it on the blockchain I want to be able to go on an explorer and verify the use cases that's what we're getting at. 

Rudy Shoushany: Very good, if I was a general user and then I'd like you to pitch in for me to attend the summit what would you tell me? why should I attend other than what you mentioned? 

Frederick Gregaard: That's a good question, I think that has been so much hype around cryptocurrencies and blockchain and  many people might be a little bit disappointed now why the whole world hasnot changed, so I think if you want to get a fresh breath of optimism from some from a blockchain who has had you know double-digit growth even in the bare market across all measurable components and you want to meet you know people who's really living on this building on this and doing this in critical infrastructure environments and want to ask sharp questions and curveball questions about if this is real, well you need to be in Dubai in the start of November to the Cardano summit because this is your chance where the world meets Dubai and the world goes on Cardano and other blockchains and you'll be able to have the sharpest minds but also the most critical minds will be in the room, we have people who really dictates blockchain who's going to challenge us and they want to see the truth right and I think we have something in blockchain where we says trust but verify and I think it's hard to trust in the world today but coming to the Dubai Summit you will get the tools to be able to verify this is real. 

Rudy Shoushany: Alright, this is the link summit do join, do register we still have time so we'd love to see everyone joining we reach out to our Mina Community Mina Cardano community and then we ask them a question which you answered but I'm just going to ask them because to remember them that they question was answered, what role do we see Cardano playing in the future of finance and decentralized? I think we did mention in different points so I'm not going to ask you to mention it due to the time also and I'd love to leave the floor for you to wrap up what key messages or key takeaways we'd like to leave for viewers about Cardano and the of course most importantly the summit that's happening soon. 

Rudy Shoushany: Great so I'll be happy to see all of you I'll be happy to meet you in person this time we spoke before in last year's summit I'll be also speaking in this event part of the panels, I'llbe more than happy to share my experience and most importantly to connect with the community because this is the only thing that we'd love, I'd like to thank you for being with us today Frederick and really sharing your insights I'd love to wish you all the best and all the luck because not just the luck because there's a lot of hard work I know involved into this and when we say you have the highest committed changes I totally understand it, big thanks to our viewers most importantly to tuning in and don't forget to watch this on our channels and our recording until next time don't forget to register and then we'll put it in the description and in the chat thank you Frederick thank you for this thank you Cardano Foundation and then we'll see you within 21 days or 22 days have a good one. 

Frederick Gregaard: Thank you very much have a great day