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IOHK Launches Secure Smart Contracts Technology for Cardano blockchain

IOHK is launching powerful tools will enable start-ups, the financial services and fintech industries, and academia to prepare blockchain contracts that will run on Cardano. – Plutus and Marlowe. The two were first launched in test format at the first PlutusFest conference in Edinburgh, Scotland, a public event including academics, business professionals and developers. Plutus provides a general purpose programming language and tools for Cardano.

IOHK CEO Charles Hoskinson said:

“We’re really excited to release testbeds of Plutus and Marlowe so developers, finance professionals and academics can test how they can use smart contracts on Cardano. Both technologies are a major step forward for the blockchain industry. They have been rigorously designed by a team of leading experts in programming language design, with the aim of reducing the kinds of software bugs that have led to huge losses totalling hundreds of millions of dollars.”

Philip Wadler, the area leader for programming languages at IOHK, said:

“IOHK is unique among cryptocurrency firms for its insistence on basing its development on peer-reviewed research, and one of the few to support rapid and reliable development by using the functional language Haskell. Plutus continues these trends. Where programming Ethereum requires coding in two languages, Solidity for the on-chain code and Javascript for the off-chain parts, and other systems suffer a similar split, Plutus is the only system that provides an integrated language for both, based on Haskell”

“Its core language for on-chain code has been kept extremely simple to make it future-proof and so it supports verification. The core is taken directly from the work of the French logician Jean Yves Girard and the US computing researcher John C Reynolds, who independently invented the same system. We have a crack team of world-leading researchers and developers designing, implementing, and formalising Plutus.”

IOHK’s scientists and engineers have combined the discipline of the Haskell functional language with Cardano to create a platform for fintech developers to write secure and robust smart contracts. IOHK has provided an easy-to-use exploratory development and testing environment for Plutus contracts based on a novel blockchain emulator, called Plutus Playground. These contracts are ready to be deployed to the blockchain itself.

For non-programmers, Marlowe is a simple way to generate code and create software products. It is an easy-to-use tool that enables professionals in the finance industry who have no programming background to build automated financial contracts on the blockchain. Marlowe comes with its own web-based testbed, Meadow.

Potential benefits from applying blockchain technology are massive. Renewing and reviving the infrastructure of the global financial system will bring costs down and allow the emergence of new companies as digital disruptors in financial services and other industries. In financial trading alone, Goldman Sachs, the US investment bank, has estimated that blockchains could cut out errors in clearing and settling trades in cash equities, leading to savings of $11 billion a year.*

The International Swaps and Derivatives Association (Isda) – which sets standards for a market with notional amounts outstanding of almost $600 trillion – has recently published its Common Domain Model**. This common foundation will allow distributed ledger technology such as Plutus and Marlowe to be introduced to the industry.

Building on their experience from the launch of Ethereum, Charles Hoskinson and Jeremy Wood, the founders of IOHK, have created a groundbreaking strategy for the Cardano blockchain. This combines academic rigour with the formal discipline and correctness of Haskell in the hands of a world-class development team to bring an unparalleled level of reliability and security to Cardano and the ADA cryptocurrency.

This strategy, with its focus on mathematical probability for security and reliability, puts Plutus and Marlowe at its core for developing smart contracts to run on Cardano for real-world applications when the network is decentralized in 2019.

The first PlutusFest, which brings these innovations to prominence, will be hosted by the Edinburgh Blockchain Technology Laboratory at the University of Edinburgh in December 2018. This facility was established in February 2017 as the headquarters for IOHK’s network of global university partnerships. Edinburgh is the centre for Scotland’s financial services industry, the largest in the UK outside London.

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Richard Kastelein
In his 20s, he sailed around the world on small yachts and wrote a series of travel articles called, 'The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Seas' travelling by hitching rides on yachts (1989) in major travel and yachting publications. He currently lives in Groningen, the Netherlands where he has set down his anchor to raise a family and write. Founder and publisher of industry publication Blockchain News (EST 2015) and director of education company Blockchain Partners (Oracle Partner) – Vancouver native Richard Kastelein is an award-winning publisher, innovation executive and entrepreneur. He has written over 2500 articles on Blockchain technology and startups at Blockchain News and has also published in Harvard Business Review, Venturebeat, Wired, The Guardian and a number of other publications. Kastelein has an Honorary Ph.D. and is Chair Professor of Blockchain at China's first blockchain University in Nanchang at the Jiangxi Ahead Institute software and Technology. He has over a half a decade experience judging and rewarding some 1000+ innovation projects as an EU expert for the European Commission's SME Instrument programme as a startup assessor and as a startup judge for the UK government's Innovate UK division. Kastelein has spoken (keynotes & panels) on Blockchain technology at over 50 events in 30+ cities.
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