Frederik Gregaard, CEO Cardano Foundation, on Operational Resilience, Making Blockchain Immortal, and Cardano | Ep. 285

In an exclusive interview with cryptonews.com, Frederik Gregaard, CEO of the Cardano Foundation, talks about the future of the Cardano Foundation, policy developments in the blockchain space, and Cardano Foundation’s recent engagement with regulators.

About Frederik Gregaard


Frederik Gregaard is CEO of the Cardano Foundation. A leader in fintech and blockchain, Fred has a background in banking, wealth management, and asset management.

Gregaard joined the Cardano Foundation in 2020 and leads work across the Foundation’s three core focus areas: operational resilience, education, and adoption. These focuses guide all of the Foundation’s activities. Gregaard’s work enables expedited value creation for inclusive and equitable growth using Cardano, with the overall goal of decentralised, efficient, and secure economic empowerment for all.

Frederik Gregaard gave a wide-ranging exclusive interview, which you can see below, and we are happy for you to use it for publication, provided there is a credit to www.cryptonews.com.

Highlights Of The Interview

  • Introduction to the Cardano Foundation and its work (primarily its three core focus areas of operational resilience, education and adoption)
  • Cardano Foundation’s recent projects: merchandise partnership and Georgian wine partnership
  • Cardano Foundation’s Third Global Impact Challenge.
  • Policy developments in the blockchain space and the Foundation’s recent engagement with regulators
  • Cardano Foundation’s plans for the coming year

Full Transcript Of The Interview

Matt Zahab
Ladies and gentlemen, welcome back to the Cryptonews Podcast. It’s your host, Matt Zahab. We are buzzing as always. And I’m super pumped to have today’s guest on the show. This gentleman might have the nicest and best beard in all of the crypto sphere. We have Frederik Gregaard, coming in hot today, the CEO of the Cardano Foundation, a true leader in fintech and blockchain, who has a background in banking, and wealth management and asset management. He joined the Cardano Foundation in 2020 and leads work across the Foundation’s three core focus areas, operational resilience, education, and adoption. These focuses guide all of the Foundation’s activities, and his work has enabled expedited value creation for inclusive and equitable growth using Cardano with the overall goal of decentralized, efficient, and secure economic empowerment for all. Been waiting for this one for a hot minute. Super pumped to have this lad on. Fred, welcome to the show, my friend. How are you?

Frederik Gregaard
I’m doing excellent. Thank you for asking and thank you for having me.

Matt Zahab
Pumped to have you. I got to start with the beard. You have the most electric beard in all the crypto. How long have you been supporting that bad boy for?

Frederik Gregaard
That’s a really good question. I don’t know, like eight, nine years probably, something like that. When I started losing my top hair, I was getting really frustrated. I thought, hey, what can I do? And it turns out I can grow a beard.

Matt Zahab
Have you ever, so it’s been eight years, even me. I mean, I think I’ve gone baby face, I want to say two or three times in the last three years. And every time I do, I’m always like, holy crap, you look so young, like you look so different. Have you ever put yourself in any of those like AI image generators to see what you look like without the beard?

Frederik Gregaard
No, I haven’t, but I’ve been dappling into AI and also longevity treatments for quite a long time in terms of sort of projection also where society goes. So I put myself into one of these aging things, right? But not just an aging things in terms of, you know, an image of me looking really old, but also sort of like where you get into a virtual reality experience and you actually sort of experience based on some life choices, how you will be in your age, right? So in this case, it was a virtual reality experience where I was, I think, 115 years old and I was sitting in this flat and I was having problems moving. And that was definitely not the place I wanted to be, right? Because it was sort of like a two room apartment with no view and, you know, there was a microwave oven. It was not a lot of green and sustainable food, right? It was sort of packaged food I was supposed to eat and that came sort of elated to sort of mend me and treat me. And, you know, it opens a few eyes, you know.

Matt Zahab
100%. No, I love how we started this. Before we get into Cardano Foundation and obviously your business past, I’d love to let myself and the listeners learn a little bit more about the guy who is running Cardano Foundation more on the personal life, some habits, some rituals, maybe even we can keep buzzin on the longevity aspect. Me myself, I’m a big sauna ice bath guy. I know everyone thinks it’s cheesy, but it makes me feel incredible. It’s an easy way to get the heart rate up. Whenever I get out of an ice bath, I feel like I’m Superman. It’s only time today. I feel like a superhero. The dopamine lasts for literally hours. Do you have any rituals or habits that really move the deal for you?

Frederik Gregaard
Yeah, I tried to get out in nature. So at the moment, I’m fortunately injured because I did some very big projects over the summer. But a couple of times a year, I go for a very long run in the mountains. And I learned a lot by being in nature, specifically in remote nature. And one of the things I use the most, sort of in my daily job, is the ability to ask for help. And sometimes you can be a kind of a proud person and you say, I know everything, I’m the CEO, and I’m supposed to be able to have all professions sort of catered into one personality. But that’s simply isn’t the case. So this ability to ask for help is very strong. And then the other part is the humility when you’re out in nature and you feel the vibrance and the sunlight and the ice going through the glacier seas and stuff like that. It’s just very cool.

Matt Zahab
It’s the absolute best. When you’re saying long runs, how long are we talking here?

Frederik Gregaard
So I think the longest sort of recorded run I have is probably around 240 miles. So that’s quite a distance. And I tend to sort of be in the range of 100, 240 miles. And I do that maybe twice, three times a year. But it’s sort of always sort of special projects, you know, a special community where you can give something back. It’s always in the mountains. It’s sort of always tend to be sort of somewhere remote.

Matt Zahab
And it’s crazy the mental clarity you get from going on a long walk or a long run, just like all the clutter, all the nonsense, all the BS, I always find it just always goes away. I absolutely love that. Let’s jump into your past here before becoming CEO of Cardano Foundation. Fintech Background did a whole bunch. Walk me through a little bit about what you did, and then we’ll get into the Cardano and all the crypto fund stuff here.

Frederik Gregaard
Oh yeah, where should we start? Just before I, you know, Cardano was working for PWC and I built up two things with PWC. I built up what’s called the blockchain go to markets, including sort of the general strategy. So that includes advisory, audit and legal and so on. And then I built up and we call it an experience center. And many people went there to get exposure to emerging technology, whether there was sensors or AI or machine learning or blockchain. Or whatever that was. But the true nature of the experience center was actually using something called MG Taylor, which is a methodology made by an architect and a Montessori kindergarten teacher, which is about how you align a large group of people. So imagine if you could take 50 to 100 people into a room, lock them in for two days, and you don’t manipulate them, you don’t, you know, force and view down on them, you find a topic which they’re completely aligned on and you let them lose into a business. And that basically accelerates businesses incredible, right? Because, you know, you suddenly don’t have 100 individuals, you have like an army of change makers which you’re sending back into the business. So it uses a lot of elements from design thinking, from, you know, smells. So we already had several ovens in the facility in PWC. We’re always baking bread. So then when people came in, the sort of the sensors were opening up for that smell. We were playing music. We had a grand piano there. Of course, it was machine learning and AI enabled, but we had a grand piano. And if you have a large group of people, there’s always somebody who can play the piano and it’s very rare you can do that on a grand piano, right? So, you know, we use sort of different elements to basically open up people’s life and facades and take away those things and let them be humans interacting with humans and let them be motivated about the things they are motivated about and then basically get the business out of them and then send them back with a, you know, a plan and how they work together to enable large changes in organizations.

Matt Zahab
That’s so cool. And this was developed by a kindergarten teacher.

Frederik Gregaard
Yeah, an American kindergarten teacher and she uses a philosophical Montessori, which I think probably a lot of people have heard about. And then an architect, you know, a house architect basically thinking about buildings and you know, how should rooms be constructed? So they were looking at the world and they found that the world was sort of not really going in the direction where there was more love and more alignment and more sort of positive things coming out of humanity was more going in a direction where we saw that people were seeing more disaster, more macroeconomic disaster events, more, you know, evil centralization of power to the wrong persons, et cetera. And they said, you know, what can we do with the skillsets we had? And then they invented this called MG Taylor, which is now sort of a subgroup of people. It’s probably close to a thousand people worldwide working with this methodology. And it’s literally changing war zones today. So some of my colleagues has been working on stopping wars. Most other has been working with United Nations World Economic Forum. I spent some time both with the World Economic Forum but also with blockchain. That’s actually how I came in contact with Charles Hodgkinson was due to some of the work I did there.

Matt Zahab
That’s so cool. And Fred, you just teed me up for my next question here. Taking this job must have been, again, you had multiple incredible jobs at very high level firms, obviously PWC, even the big four consulting firms as well. This must have been a bit of a headscratcher or perhaps I’m wrong. And it was a no brainer. But when you took this job and when you met Charles, what were sort of the key factors that made you be like, damn, I got to do this.I got to help take this thing to the next level.

Frederik Gregaard
I was probably my daughter. I was actually thinking I would go back into banking and build a bank for the actual users of the bank and really align the incentives because the thing banking has gone astray is not really helping the people who really need the expertise. So I was thinking and going back to banking and Cardano was one of my clients, you can say, in advisory, right? And then one day my daughter woke up and she had a nightmare and she came down to me and I had sort of basement office and she was asking, you know, crying and said, you know, what are you doing dad? And I was like, well, I’m helping some dude earn more money. You know, and she was like, why? And I was like, well, I actually don’t know because I already took the decision to leave PWC and I was sort of like, yeah, why am I actually sitting up at two o ‘clock messing with my, you know, a sleep schedule and, you know, away from my family to help somebody, you know, earn more money on an account. He was not really caring about anyway. So, you know, after she left and I talked to her in and she fell asleep, I was sort of thinking about, you know, maybe as an investment banker, there is another route I could do. So I started looking into my portfolio and, you know, I think I was always very impressed by Cardano, specifically the vision and the mission. The purpose of Cardano is so different than many of the other blockchains back then. So I thought, hey, this is actually a way where I can, you know, deploy my skill set and do something with the bank I normally can’t do. And that is to be a part of potentially, you know, I was about to say saving the world, but that sounds so big, right? But at least ensure that the world becomes a better place for every working day I have compared to just optimizing money in a pyramid scheme somewhere in another industry.

Matt Zahab
That’s wild. This is also a masterclass in storytelling. My goodness. I’ll be listening to this over and over again. This is an absolute masterclass. We just touched on Cardano and he talks about, you briefed on Cardano’s foundation and obviously not the Cardano foundation, but it’s foundational elements and three core focus areas, operational resilience, education and adoption. I absolutely love this. I think this needs to be injected into everyone’s veins in the crypto space and everyone who wants to learn more and jump in as well. I’d love if you could touch on these three core points, why they’re so important and how you and the team are moving the needle to bring the next million users into Web3.

Frederik Gregaard
Sure. So we have a concept in the Cardano Foundation called blockchain for good. And I think not knowing your listeners, I need to go one step back before we go to blockchain for good. So just keep that as an anchor point. But if you think about what truly makes a public permissionless blockchain special, is the ability that it does not cancel everybody out. It doesn’t belong to the canceled culture. It does not belong to the culture where you have to be born in a certain country to have a certain identity, to be able to get access to health care, to capital market services or just to vote or whatever that might be. And we have about two billion people around the world who actually don’t have an identity. And we have a huge digital divide between the people who has and the people who haven’t. So unfortunately, the way the world is structured at the moment is that everything is centered around this sort of centralized identity service, which you cannot create yourself where you’re depending on certain trust anchors or institutions who gives you the access permissions to be you, to be who you are. And that, of course, is very dangerous when you then come and say, no, everybody can gain value from Cardano. Everybody can contribute to Cardano and everybody can take something from Cardano and bring that back to your community. Because what it also does is it battles or dabbles with the control, you know, the enforcement control, which we built into society to ensure that people behave, right? And it also says, you know, we are not the one who polices the blockchain. The blockchain is a social good, is a utility. So when the Cardano Foundation speaks about blockchain for good, we mean it in two aspects. The first aspect is sort of an ESG aspect, right? What we’re saying, you know, if something is available for everybody to do and there is an information asymmetry, and I think about when the start of the internet came, there is a couple of use cases where it’s very frequently being used, so very few people benefit on behalf of the masses. So you’re actually saying you’re seeing a well skewing in the wrong direction, right? So we set forward to say, OK, what can we do? And how can we measure us externally to ensure that we can open up the eyes for what’s possible to add value to the global society or the spaceship we call Earth today to bring people more together and to show that blockchain can be used for social good? That’s why we did the tree planting project called Very Tree in Kenya where we got close to planting a million trees where every single tree is actually an NFT who lives on the blockchain. And you can verify who was the planter, and you can get data, so dynamic metadata on a quarterly basis that the tree actually exists and there’s no double counting. That means it doesn’t go into the normal greenwashing and all those things you see there. But it’s also the same rationality and why we work with United Nations, humanitarian crisis organizations and so on. So the idea here is really we’re taking, OK, if we are not policing the blockchain and we don’t have a view, we need an external framework to define what is good. And there we use United Nations Sustainable Development Goal. And there’s 17 of those and we say it has to take a few boxes, huh?  The other part of blockchain for good, sort of the double meaning of the word, is the longevity. So the Cardano Foundation is into the longevity of blockchain. This is a marathon, an ultramarathon. It’s not a sprint. So most blockchains, they are actually not economically sustainable. And that means that they will run out of juice or gas or funding or whatever you might call it over time, right? And what we’re really looking at is saying we need to get to a situation that the blockchain becomes immortal. If you want to get to a situation that the blockchain becomes immortal and truly fulfills the promises of being there for humanity across the generations and centuries to come, we need to get to a situation that when you go to a dinner party and you bring your own food to the dinner party, there’s always too much food because you have this mentality that you bring a little bit more than you can eat yourself. If you go to a centralized dinner party, if I’m cooking for you, right, you’ll probably eat all my meat and drink my red wine and you eat too much, really, because it was good, right? And we’re actually short of resources. So what I’m trying to say is that these blockchains to be immortal, we need transaction diversity at a scale who covers the incentives for the generations to come. And nearly no blockchain, if any at all, has solved that yet. Therefore, the Cardano Foundation set forward and said, if we look at those two use cases, those two hypothesis of how to enable that, what do we need to do? And the first thing we came to was saying, we have already over a thousand companies who’s deployed in Cardano. If you want to have business critical infrastructure or humanity critical infrastructure or identity on Cardano, operation resilience is very important. And as you probably know as being a blockchain affinato, the way the blockchain is structured is a complete different security architecture than what we know from the internet and other settings. And that means that for us, operation resilience is one of those things you cannot go down on. I’ve been quoted at the moment for saying, boring is good, right? So Cardano has actually been up since 2017. It never missed a beat and we processed over 78.3 million transactions or something like that, right? So it’s really a lot. And we have no downtime, knock on wood. And what we’re basically doing with the foundation is we have built a real-time network monitoring tool, including the ability to look into the networking stack and other things to ensure that when things are happening, we have a pre-warning, we have ideas about how to do disaster recovery in a decentralized distributed network. We have experts who understand this is again a little bit boring, sorry about that. What’s the key point when SOC 1 is, which is really these kind of risk mitigations you use when you run a central bank or if you run a hospital or if you run, you know, pacemakers and stuff like that. You cannot just produce a pacemaker and get a hospital to put it in. You need to go through a set of qualifications who allows you to do that. So that’s the operation resilience. We truly believe that if a blockchain is fast and brave, that’s probably not what you want if this is going to be the foundations of society forever, right? You want something who is peer-reviewed, academic, who has a very tough operation resilience, specifically when you know that the product to market fit is not a straight fit, right? So if you look around the blockchain and crypto world, we have all these discussions about the regulatory environment in the US and we have all these, you know, what is the use cases and maybe blockchain had over promised a bit. And what that basically tells you is that the actual huge use cases of blockchain in the future has not been there yet. They’re coming, huh? So you need a way also to adapt the code base to ensure that this product to market fit in the future will be there. Now how do you adapt the code base? Well you have to start thinking about who is going to tell you what features they need in order for them to use the blockchain. Secondly, do you pay them for it or do they do it because there’s business value? And therefore education actually became a very important part of us because when we looked into the education landscape, everybody speaks about tokenization, everybody speaks about CBDCs, everybody speaks about Bitcoin, people speaks about how Ethereum was able to replace Wall Street in capital assimilation. But they don’t speak about identity in Ethiopia for students. They don’t speak about supply chain for 100,000 bottles of wine from 22 different wineries signed off by the National Wine Agency in Georgia. They don’t speak about scattered random diamonds who can be injected in cancer medicine so you can track and ensure that that is the exact medicine. Now that’s what we are touching upon in the Cardano Foundation because we think this is actually what’s going to kickstart the blockchain revolution. So this part of having free available high quality education who can get business people to understand the magic what engineers and IT people already know so they can understand where does the use case fit and where doesn’t it fit is why education is so important. Secondly, by writing these scripts as the foundation has now done in public, where you can get that for free, you can translate it, you can build an app on it, you can do whatever you want with it, it’s under an open source or public source license. So that basically means that there’s a business model to be had to do it in Arabic or to do it in Japanese and do a learning platform. But we provide all the content for free because we want the whole world to understand blockchain, not just Cardano. And the other part of that is of course when you look into the regulatory space, which is difficult, right? Because as I told you in the start, when you have public permission as blockchains, you’re giving away enforcement power, right? What it really does is it opens up the opportunity to address the regulator and tell them about that blockchain is more than capital markets. The blockchain is more than a utility token or security token. The blockchain is value creation, is job creation, is changes democracy, it does a lot of things, right? So this ability for us to do that also led us to building a REC TEK tool. So I think we are the only Layer 1 blockchain we ever built a REC TEK tool for policy makers and regulators who basically takes down the pants of a blockchain and says, you know what? We are very open to talk to you about staking. We are open to talk to you about incentives. So let us tell you how exactly staking works in Cardano. And you will find there’s no slashing, there’s no login mechanism or period, there’s no ownership change. So if you look into current capital markets infrastructure, you can now see with your own eyes why we are different than many others. And not only can you see that, you can verify that all the way down to the actual blockchain and to the code, depending on your knowledge level. And then we took the educational content and we pushed that into that workflow diagram in our Explorer to show that. And we now been in contact in the last two, three months, I think, with close to 10 different regulators and enforcement agencies and showed them this. And they are just like completely excited. One of them said, you’re bringing trust back into blockchain, which I think is a very powerful statement, but also is a testament to where we as an industry might have misjudged the environment a little bit. So those two anchors into what we’re really trying to do with this adoption. So what you really need is you need a multitude of different use cases on the blockchain whether that’s Cardano’s blockchain or another one, is actually a little bit irrelevant. But you want to get as many people to live on the blockchain as possible, because specifically how Cardano works is that when you do a transaction on Cardano, the transaction fees is being rooted through the treasury into the incentive structure, and that basically pays the state pool operators for operating Cardano. So the more transactions you have, and the more diversity in transactions, and the more they use the blockchain for what it was meant to do, so smart contracts and native assets, the higher is the transaction fee is by the way the terministic fees in Cardano, so you can calculate that down to the cent, the more economic sustainable it becomes. So this anchors into this sort of idea about blockchain for good, right? That you need to have those components in place to allow the legacy world, the Web2 world, but also the legacy in real world, you know, the supply chain companies and commodity companies and supermarkets to go on a blockchain, you need to answer a few questions and you need to show that your technology stack is ready for that.

Matt Zahab
I love that. Fred that was absolutely electric. I love the spiel there. So many points we can touch on. We do need to give our sponsor of the show a quick shout out. But before then, one of my favorite things that you just discussed in that little spiel was just one of the best things about Cardano and you said, it’s a little boring and it’s sexy. It’s a little boring and it’s a little unsexy. It does what needs to be done. It is a perfect layer for powering all these applications and projects that want to come on the blockchain and a shit ton, pardon my French, of real world applications. And that’s what we need for the blockchain to grow. It can’t just be, hey, we’re a coin, number go up, number go down. The financial incentives needs to go away. There needs to be some real world use cases and we are going to get into that in one second folks. But until then, huge shout out to our sponsor of the show, longtime friends of cryptonews.com and longtime friends of the Cryptonews Podcast. You know who we’re talking about. That is PrimeXBT. They offer a robust trading system for both beginners and professional traders. It doesn’t matter if you’re a rookie or a vet, you can easily design and customize your layout and widgets to best fit your trading style and take advantage of their highly reliable market data and performance. They are giving all of you guys a sweet promo code that will give you 50% of your deposit credited to your trading account. The promo code is CRYPTONEWS50. That is CRYPTONEWS50, all one word to receive 50% of your deposit credited to your trading account. Now back to the show with Fred. Fred, let’s jump into some of the recent projects that you and the team have done at Cardano Foundation. I am not going to lie. I love a good glass of vino every once in a while. Red, white, rose, you name it. When I was doing research for the show, I learned about the George and Wine partnership. That is so friggin’ cool. You got to give us the TLDR. What happened there? How did you guys make this happen? I think this is absolutely brilliant and I would love for more of this to happen in the space.

Frederik Gregaard
Wow, the truth of this is probably starting all the way back in the Soviet Union. So when the Soviet Union collapsed, something new happened. And that is what people don’t realize is that wine was most likely invented in Georgia. But under the Soviet Union, they were only allowed to market their product within the Soviet Union. So when the Italian wine and Spanish wine were sort of living on this marketing grace, you know, and building these strong for the world’s best wine, well, they had communism, right? But it means also that for them, wine is their identity. Every single family nearly has their own wine receipts and they work together with local vineyards and so on. So when we came in contact with the agricultural ministry there, what we learned was that the quality controls for their wine is extraordinary high. And they were talking about how do we export the Georgian culture and how do we show the world what Georgia is made of? You know, obviously they’re thinking about, you know, business opportunities, they’re thinking about tourism, they’re thinking about the country Georgia’s brand and what do they have to offer. And their wine was a big thing. So we were in competition with a couple of other blockchains, even a specific wine blockchain even, very specialized. And it turned out that due to us, you know, being who we are in terms of academic reviews and being able to answer those questions around disaster recovery and, you know, business continuity and all those kind of things, we were elected to do that. And we found a local partner in Switzerland because blockchain alone does not anchor into a physical product. So we worked together with a company called Scantrust who does high definition QR codes. And the first thing we did was authenticity. So the ability to authenticate that the wine you have is actually the real wine who comes from the fields. Right? So, you know, on the internet, you have all these sort of copycats and you never really know what you buy. And what I thought was, oh, hey, this is really good. This is engine room stuff. You know, this is about, you know, security and so on. But what it turns out was that this small winery was actually a female wine producer called Bayer. She got sold out of, you know, within for a year or something like that. So people in Norway and Korea was buying Georgian wine where there was never any commercials about Georgia at all. Because there’s a new generation on the internet with you and I probably belong to, which I think about as blockchain citizens. And we actually want to verify what we buy if that’s actually the right thing we buy, because we’ve been through the the treadmill of getting, you know, fake iPhones home or get, you know, Chinese copies or whatever it is. Right? And the other part was that she was able to very cheaply portray herself through the user experience. Right? So she could talk about her field and her history and those kind of things. And what we now done this year is we turned it from an authenticity solution into a track and trace solution. So we’re actually putting the right now just labeling it, but we’re talking about 100,000 bottles of wine from the region of Bolnisi. And what’s very interesting here is that the government of Georgia is signing every single bottle on the blockchain that has been through the export control, including customs are signing off when it leaves the country. And that means that you’re suddenly relying on something where this blockchain was made to do, but it’s very hard to do. And that’s something called verified credentials. So the ability to verify that you are the right trusted authority to sign this data on the blockchain. And you as a consumer will then be able, if it has a business value for you, to track every single one of those 100,000 bottles and get the story of the vineyard, including the fields and the grapes and the produce and all of that through the user experience. And you can then verify that with the, you know, national wine agency under the agricultural ministry. And you can, you know, see if it’s really true, right? So we do that together with Scantrust and the country of Georgia. And my hope is that here sort of in Q1 when they finish bottling, that’s going to be hitting, you know, worldwide. And everybody out there who buys a Bolnisi, one of those 100,000 bottles will be able to insight with the Cardano blockchain and understand a little bit better what blockchain actually can be used for, both in terms of exporting culture, but also in terms of verifying track and trace and authenticity.

Matt Zahab
That’s so cool. I’m not here in Mexico at the moment on the east coast. And I’m, I do know a couple people in the wine game. So I’m going to be hitting them up after the show and I’ll see if I can get my hands on one of those bottles. That would be absolutely incredible. Also, thanks for the history lesson there. I did not know that Georgia was like the sort of birthplace of wine. I would have guessed it was like you said, you know, one of the Spain, Italy or France or one of the like, but so cool. Another topic I’d love to get into Fred is obviously the global blockchain landscape. Do you guys are front runners and leaders and actually speaking with the big boys and the big gals at the top of the food chains in the regulatory space? What are some of the conversations that are happening right now? I know you obviously can’t spill all the beans. I mean, we’d love a nice little breaking news flash on the Cryptonews pod, but what are some of the policy developments going on in the blockchain space right now from a regulatory standpoint?

Frederik Gregaard
Yeah, so to be honest, right now the US is actually quite quiet. And I know this sounds a bit odd, right? Because obviously you see a lot of headlines and so on. But, you know, I think we’re going into election season there, right? And all they’re building up cases or they’re running cases, right? In Europe, the big thing is MiCA. MiCA is sort of the, let’s call it the stable coin and a couple of other things, regulation on cryptocurrencies, which is coming into force. And there is a sort of a grace period to be compliant there. And there’s a couple of things, sort of curve balls who are thrown into that mix. And I think in a certain way, this is sort of is very good policymaking from the European Union. Conceptually, I’m a little bit questioning a few points. And one of the points is, I think you should not hinder innovation. So they’re basically protecting the inner market of the European Union and ensuring that if you are having a stable coin, it actually needs to be issued by somebody under MiCA license. So, for instance, probably see Tether and USDC and others will, you know, very quickly need to figure out how they get, you know, a European issue. But we’re already in discussions with MiCA 2. And MiCA 2 is going to cover more than stable coins and then utility tokens is also going to go into most likely things like NFTs and yield farming and staking and other things. And that’s going to be very interesting. And I hope that more Layer 1s will start engaging in that. Out of Japan is really interesting. They’ve come up with some really good regulation. It’s very protective, but it’s very clear. And as you probably know, Cardano and ADA, our utility token has been whitelisted to the JBCA there for years. So we’re really ready to engage. And we just spent some time together with the Swiss regulator in a workshop, but also the European banking authorities and European security and market authorities sort of like equivalent to the SEC and the FCA in the UK and showed them the REC TEK tool I spoke to about earlier. And the two things that really starting to ask questions about which are really interesting, the first one is they start understanding they cannot be technology agnostic. Before they were like, OK, a blockchain is a blockchain. It has to be fair game if it’s a blockchain. It’s equal. But now they’re saying, well, there’s so big differences in terms of the blockchain. It’s not just if it’s, you know, a proof of stake or proof of work. It’s actually also if it’s a proof of relevant history, a proof of history. But it’s also is it multi-party computation or zero knowledge proof. And, you know, what is the incentives in there? You know, do you have like a slashing or do you only have positive reinforcements like Cardano? So they’re really asking very good and detailed questions. And they were very positive when we showed them the Cardano Explorer with these regulatory tooling in there where they can verify how Cardano is built. The other thing we sort of surprised me a bit was that they had a lot of questions on business continuity and a disaster recovery. And what that makes it means is that they are not just looking and saying, OK, I have a little use case, a little token on top of a blockchain. Well, they actually start looking at, OK, they have requests from large counterparties to move some of the infrastructure who normally would be in a centralized, you know, environment to a distributed, decentralized environment. So they had really deep questions around, you know, block propagation around centralization of staking or mining, how you monitor the network, how you flag certain actions, can you do front running in and those kind of aspects. And luckily, I’m sort of coming from a world of building banks and my chief legal officer is coming from the Swiss regulators and he has a specialty in distributed systems. So we were able to have these dialogues with them. And I think on one hand, this is scary and on the other hand, this is very positive. I look at it very positively because it means that we are getting into the place where blockchain is accepted much more. But we are still playing a finite window where we could end up with some not so good regulation in terms of really utilizing the value of blockchain. So there is definitely if I have one cry out for your listeners, is find as many non financial use cases you can on a blockchain. Doesn’t matter which one and start tweeting about it, start talking about it, speak to your friends, do your elevator pitch? Because the more people realize that the blockchain is not associated with capital markets and banking only, but it’s a worldwide industry optimization game, the better it is for everybody.

Matt Zahab
I love that. Very quickly, Fred, before we move on to our next question here, and I know we’re getting a little tight for time as well. The overall sentiment, though, from the regulators, there’s no way that it’s not better than what’s a couple of years ago. I feel like every couple of years, they become more educated. They learn more about blockchain as a whole and understand more potential use cases that are non-financial, incentive, and capital markets related. Would you say that that’s true?

Frederik Gregaard
I think that’s true for some regulators. So I mean, I was a little bit scared of highlighting people or pointing fingers, right? But I would say definitely the Swiss regulator, Luxembourg, FCA, MIS in Singapore, Hong Kong, has definitely taken, and the European Union has taken huge steps forward. I really truly feel that. I think I can agree with your sentiment there.

Matt Zahab
I love that. And last little thing, then we will wrap up here Fred, Cardano Foundation. You guys had an incredible year and obviously we are recording mid November. This episode will air mid to end ish November. You guys just did Cardano Summit 2023 in Dubai. That looked like an absolute bang or that looked like an incredible time. I’d love for you to touch on that. And then a little forward looking here, what’s on the docket for 2024? What do you have on the back burner? What are you in the plan? What are you and the team have planned for 2024? Can’t wait to see all this stuff pop off.

Frederik Gregaard
That was a good question. Let’s see where we start. I think what was truly unique about the Cardano Summit in Dubai, and by the way, we did 30 different locations around the world at the same time as we did Dubai, so plus minus two weeks. So it’s not just Dubai is really around the world. I think what people really paid attention to was the fact that we had regulators and policymakers to a Layer 1 event present, but not just present like members of parliament in the actual crowd. We had them on the stage, really discussing and nearly brainstorming each other with how we do and how we can do better in enabling that. So a big thank you for the city of Dubai to basically host us there. The other part was the attendance. What a lot of people told me was, hey, this doesn’t feel like a crypto bro event. This feels like industry blockchain. We had the World Trade Organization there. We had the United Nations there. We had Fortune 500 companies. We had large industry companies like Trade Zones, who has 23,000 companies in their trade zone who was there. And that combined with all the engineers and the blockchain affinados who were sort of mixing together and finding out what works and doesn’t work and signing deals and doing things. So I think this dynamic where you really feel the blockchain is getting maturing in terms of the industry adoption, I think that was fantastic and really high quality content as well. If you miss some of it, some of the YouTube videos is now live. And specifically some of this stuff on the technical side, with side chains and interoperability, its identity is really key to understanding where blockchain is today. On your other question, so what’s happening next year? So Operation Resilience will continue. I think we will never stop there. So Operation Resilience, Mainnet Monitoring, Cybersecurity, Bug Bounty and those kind of aspects. I think this is truly important. As you’ve probably seen, Cardano is the large Layer 1 who has the most GitHub commits, right? So it basically means we are adding more and more code as more and more companies are relying on Cardano. And that obviously means that we need to be much more careful there and we need to get the right Q&A and things in process. The other thing which you can expect as you’re going to see a lot more open source from us. So already this year we did Python libraries and Java libraries, but most importantly we did a project called Icon Boot Flap from the Foundation in full open source. And if you saw the adoption circle, so the amount of time it took to develop this in the true open source format and the amount of adoption, plus that it actually is 10 times faster and 10 times easier than the original smart contracting language on Cardano, you got to be wondering, isn’t that the future for solving the product to market fit on blockchain, right? I think this is like true amazing. So we’re going to build on this icon, which is called, on the learnings there and also our connections to the Linux Foundation and the Apache Foundation and what we learned and interacting in those ecosystems. And then we’re going to do a lot more in open source and not just sort of small things, but we’re really going to try and see if we can push the envelope there. Then Technical Enablers is still a big thing. So you saw our ledger sync came out this year, which is a database you can see. We did some changes to the command line interface and we did some changes to… a couple of other things. So what we’re hoping to get out with is what we call a metadata bus, which we already, actually, Bolnisi Wine is living on that. So think about a combination of how you structure metadata, identity and transaction building in a tool. So basically to lower the cost of operating on Cardano. So tooling and those kind of things is some of the things we really want to deliver, but tooling in a way that business architects can get full value of it. And then obviously we are, as you know, in Cardano, we are in the age of Voltaire, which is the governance era. So we’re going to, hopefully, we’ve been working very hard on that with the community. We had over 50 workshops around the world. We’re going to vote in the, what we call the Cardano Improvement Proposal, CIP 1694, which is the tooling for true decentralized governance. So it’s voting and PKI’s and a lot of beautiful things that really allows the community to take over the lead on decision making. And so that’s going to be really cool. And then there’s going to be a longer discussion and hopefully a finalization of what we think about as the guardrails for Cardano. Because when you have something as big as Cardano, what you want to do is you want to keep the essence of Cardano or make it very hard to change, but still you can change it, right? And then smaller things like transaction fees or, you know, other things, block sizes that you can very easily change that as sort of when you need to, right? So then these are different in terms of the democracy there and some safeguards around that. So that’s going to be one of the last work chunks we’re going to do next year as well.

Matt Zahab
Incredible. Fred what an episode you were a human electric factory today and very grateful and Incredibly pumped to have you on hopefully we can do this again in the future Before you go, can you please let our listeners know where they can find you and Cardano Foundation online and on socials?

Frederik Gregaard
Sure. So, cardanofoundation.org is the best place to find the Cardano Foundation. We would like to have a new, more exciting webpage and we will have that in the future. cardano.org is a very good place to go, specifically the forum. In the forum there’s a lot of different threads, also in different languages, and the community is one of the biggest, if not the biggest and best community in the whole blockchain. So if you can’t find anything, just write help somewhere and the community is super helpful. There’s also a whole set of Discord channels and then there’s our developer portal. So if you go on our developer portal through cardano.org you can see use cases, containers, tooling and other things that can help get you started. And then we have a large sort of venture funding bootstrapping system called Catalyst. And on Catalyst you have the ability to look for funding or look for business partners and other things. So that’s also a cool place. I’m not so active on socials to be honest, but you can find me on Twitter and on LinkedIn under @F_Gregaard or Frederik Gregaard on LinkedIn.

Matt Zahab
Amazing. Frederik, thank you so much, incredible episode. And hope to have you on for round two, wishing you and the team all the best moving forward. This was incredible. Thanks again, mate.

Frederik Gregaard
Thank you, it was very fun and looking forward to next time.

Matt Zahab
Folks, what an episode with Frederik Gregaard, CEO of the Cardano Foundation. Easily one of the best episodes we’ve ever had. He was dropping knowledge bombs left, right and center, human electric factory and just a masterclass in storytelling. I had a blast and I hope you guys did as well. If you enjoyed this one, please do subscribe. It would mean the world to my team and I speaking to the team. Love you guys so much. Justas, my amazing sound editor. You are the man and back to the listeners. Love you guys. Thank you for everything. Keep on growing those bags and keep on staying healthy, wealthy and happy. Bye for now and we’ll talk soon.