Published on: April 28th, 2021 • Duration: 89 minutes
Real Vision senior editor Ash Bennington hosts Silvio Micali, founder of Algorand, to discuss Micali’s journey into crypto, the founding of Algorand, the power of randomness, zero knowledge proofs, and future of evolvability of blockchain protocols. When Micali discovered Bitcoin and Buterin’s blockchain dilemma—that no blockchain can all at once be decentralized, secure, and scalable—he knew there had to be way to solve this problem. He explains that in cryptographic systems, it’s easy to spread communication and messaging, but verifying if a message has been received or achieving common knowledge is difficult, which can prevent the achievement of security and trust in the system. For Bitcoin, Micali states that the blockchain has an ad hoc mechanism to reach agreement on a common block; on the other hand, Algorand uses a Byzantine Agreement on the block, utilizing the strongest form of consensus and mitigating the risk of “bad actors”. It also prevents the block from ever forking and, thereby, ensures that a block appearing on the chain will remain there forever, and this provides users the confidence to transact without worry of loss. Filmed April 16th, 2021.
Key Learnings: Contrary to Bitcoin where miners represent the decision makers in achieving a secure blockchain, Algorand utilizes what Micali calls pure proof of stake where members of the network are randomly elected, who then vote and represent the direction of the system. At the basis of Algorand is a cryptographic lottery that prevents the ability to change probability, ensuring fair selection and randomness to the system. Micali believes that a blockchain that functions well is built on the foundation of transparency, security, decentralization, and ultimately, trust, and a blockchain that can achieve that can truly transform finance. With randomness at the core of Algorand—from driving consensus on the block to password protection and true decentralization—Micali believes a system that diminishes the probability of bad actors and builds trust is the best way to achieve that ideology.