Update #5: Dapps and decentralization
May 09, 2018
by Hedera Hashgraph Team
Hedera is a decentralized public network where developers can build fast, fair, and secure applications.

Fundraising and beta testing

Currently, Hedera is conducting an institutional fundraising round, limited to whitelisted institutional investors, to launch the platform and accelerate development of distributed apps. A subsequent crowdsale to accredited investors may follow. We appreciate those who have expressed interest so far through our website. A global institutional base is vital for the long-term stability of the public network and these relationships have strategic importance to the project and will encourage and improve mainstream adoption.

As the public launch nears, developers and community members will be invited to beta test the network and will receive tokens for their contribution (regulations permitting). To apply as a beta tester, visit hederahashgraph[dot]com to register your interest. For those who have expressed interest in using our network, the Hedera team appreciates your support and we will be reaching out in the future.

Scam and phishing warning

Please be vigilant and take extra precautions against scams. We are not offering a crowdsale to non-accredited investors at this time. Beware of pools and sophisticated "sale" websites that look like legitimate invitations to participate in a Hedera token offering, but are hosted on a different URL. Hedera SAFT offerings will be hosted at the hederahashgraph[dot]com URL. Never click a link or trust an email or chat message soliciting investment, but rather type the Hedera URL hederahashgraph[dot]com directly into a browser, or use an existing bookmark. Read more on how you can protect yourself from phishing attacks.

Launch of the Hedera platform

We announced our plans for the Hedera hashgraph platform and governing council at our launch event in New York City. Hedera will bring to market a consensus ledger with the security and performance advantages of the hashgraph algorithm and, crucially, pairing it with a governance and a licensing model designed to inhibit the chaos of current public ledgers that will finally give governments, users, and enterprises a secure and stable public ledger. While we acknowledge the value of open source software development, we believe it is incompatible with cryptocurrencies – where the incentives, rather than keeping a community aligned, explicitly encourage forking. Read more on how we’re creating a larger developer ecosystem and providing users with more choice from Mance Harmon, Co-Founder and CEO.

Dapps launching on the Hedera platform

As Leemon discussed on a recent interview, as excited as we are about Hedera, it is just plumbing – what is truly exciting are those applications that are developing on the platform. If developers do not build on Hedera, then it becomes nothing more than a cryptocurrency – and we will have failed. It is exciting to have projects indicating their plans to build on Hedera – including Satori, CULedger, VMS Software, Intiva Health, WinFlow, Mingo, Carbon, and Artbit.

Patrick Harding joins the team

Patrick Harding joined the team as Senior Vice President of Products for Hedera Hashgraph. Patrick was the CTO of Ping Identity, one of the earliest investors in Swirlds. Patrick will work to help customers, partners, and prospects to further identify ways to use hashgraph technology. Learn more about our growing team.

Discussion corner

Decentralization is fundamental to the premise of distributed ledger technology (DLT). We seek to deemphasize undue influence that any one (or small number of parties) have over the determination of consensus. If power or influence is too centralized, then there is risk of that influence being compromised or abused.

Any discussion of centralization should make clear just what aspect of the DLT is being analyzed. For instance, do certain nodes have (even for a short period of time) special influence in the determination of consensus? Or is there a risk of centralization in the amount of coins or stake that actors have, with a corresponding ability to influence consensus, directly or indirectly?

Distinct from the degree of decentralization of the consensus mechanism of a ledger, we can examine if there is centralization in the decision making process over the evolution and maintenance of the ledger, also known as a ledger’s governance. Decentralization in consensus and governance are mostly orthogonal. A very decentralized consensus ledger could have a very centralized governance model.

On-chain governance models place the power over such governance decisions to the end-users of the platform, rather than some smaller number of representatives with special insight and expertise. Regardless of the degree of centralization, a governance model must be able to make decisions in an informed and timely manner.

Another consideration is whether centralization is by design or accidental. Delegated proof-of-stake (DPoS) public ledgers embrace a degree of centralization in the determination of consensus – arguing that the efficiencies in performance gained are worth it and that they retain sufficient decentralization to inhibit collusion and attacks. Other DLTs, such Bitcoin, are extremely decentralized in theory, but the emergent mining centralization on these platforms means they are not so decentralized in practice.

When talking about decentralization, it is important to know why the distributed ledger is being used in order to mitigate undue influence. Is the consensus mechanism centralized, whether intentionally or not, or is it the governance model that is susceptible to misuse? While both factors are important to inhibit concentrations of power, they are often disconnected features that should be analyzed independently when discussing this new era of decentralization.

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