Welcome to 2018! The end of 2017 saw a run on cryptocurrency assets unlike few if any markets have ever seen. Flush with this newfound capital, the industry is poised to accelerate execution and development throughout 2018 and beyond. We are excited for what is to come!

To that end, we have several workstreams in progress to build upon our work in 2017, including cryptocurrency asset management, information and advisory products and services, and blockchain technology consulting. Much more on these fronts is to come.

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Onward and happy new year!


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Individuals and companies featured in the BlockIntel Influencer Report merit your attention. BlockIntel provides background, insights, and analysis on how these organizations and people are shaping, disrupting, and contributing to the blockchain ecosystem. For more, visit our archive
Charles Hoskinson
Founder and CEO of IOHK, a software engineering and research firm focused on cryptocurrencies and blockchain technologies

Charles Hoskinson - Founder of IOHK

DOB: Charles Hoskinson is estimated to be in his late 30s to early 40s. He changed careers from medicine to mathematics in the mid-2000s after being accepted into medical school. He studied mathematics and cryptography at the University of Colorado at Boulder from 2008 to 2010, setting up his interest in cryptocurrencies soon thereafter.

His company, IOHK, was founded in 2013.
CURRENT: Charles Hoskinson is the Founder and the CEO of IOHK (Input Output).

WHAT HE DOES: Hoskinson is an ardent advocate for the cypherpunk* ambition of emerging cryptocurrency and blockchain technologies. Hoskinson’s firm, IOHK, provides research and development and software engineering dedicated to supporting the ecosystem, in particular projects that most closely adhere to Hoskinson’s cypherpunk principles and ideals.
*Definition of cypherpunk: Any activist advocating widespread use of strong cryptography and privacy-enhancing technologies as a route to social and political change. Originally communicating through the Cypherpunks electronic mailing list, informal groups aimed to achieve privacy and security through proactive use of cryptography. Cypherpunks have been engaged in an active movement since the late 1980s. (via Wikipedia)
IOHK is incorporated in Hong Kong, and has about 70 employees throughout the world. Hoskinson and IOHK currently support the Ethereum Classic and Cardano projects with software engineering and other resources, in addition to supporting clients from the academic, financial and other industries.
Ethereum Classic: Born after “The DAO” fiasco, Ethereum Classic is a fork of the Ethereum protocol. In early 2016, an ambitious project was set forth by many within the Ethereum community to create a decentralized autonomous organization (aka “The DAO”) on top of the Ethereum protocol. This organization was designed to provide governance for the burgeoning protocol without central control of any one person or company. The side project was well funded, generating more than 11.6 million Ether (the cryptocurrency of the Ethereum protocol) from its backers, many from the core Ethereum team. In May 2016, it was discovered that a flaw existed within The DAO infrastructure - a flaw that a single hacker subsequently exploited on June 17, 2016, sucking nearly 3.6 million Ether (today worth nearly USD 4.9 billion) from The DAO’s coffers. As with any public chain, this siphoning was irreversible. Unless.

In July 2016, the team behind Ethereum decided to revert to the blockchain to the block just prior to The DAO breach while also closing the flaw exploited by the hackers. This move returned the Ether lost in the hack to their original owners, but also breached what many believe is a foundational characteristic to public blockchains: that they are and must remain immutable.

Hoskinson and the IOHK team believe in this foundational principle, and therefore have joined the broader Ethereum Classic team to take up the original unchanged Ethereum blockchain, which to this day still includes The DAO hack. (Of note, the hacker has yet to move the Ether s/he siphoned off).

Ethereum Classic is not only a truly immutable version of the Ethereum protocol; they are also pursuing a different, still evolving technical roadmap with a particular focus on supporting blockchain implementations within the “Internet of Things” use case. For more, see https://ethereumclassic.github.io/.

Cardano: Cardano is pitched to be a “next generation” cryptocurrency protocol, taking the good of Bitcoin and Ethereum and combining it with current academic research. Hoskinson is one of the key drivers of this strategy for the protocol. The key differentiators between Cardano and preceding projects is its adherence to peer-reviewed academic research and the broader scientific method in its execution. For more, see https://www.cardanohub.org.
WHY HE MATTERS: Hoskinson has been involved with some of the most innovative and potentially consequential projects of the emerging cryptocurrency and blockchain ecosystem. He has exhibited, through several actions, a fierce adherence to the core cypherpunk principles at the expense of forging support for projects he helped incubate and/or potential future profits.

He is developing a team of engineers, academics and others under the IOHK umbrella and deploying them to the projects congruent with his views. In a similar vein as Joe Lubin of Consensys, Hoskinson is putting to work his expertise, capital, and reputation to drive these ideas from thought to action.

TARGET AUDIENCE: IOHK’s target population is the three billion people who don’t otherwise have access to financial services.


CURRENCY OF CHOICE: Ethereum Clasic (ETC); Cardano (ADA).

BACKSTORY: Hoskinson attended Metropolitan State University of Denver and later University of Colorado at Boulder from 2008 to 2010 to study Number Theory and Mathematical Logic prior to moving into cryptography. Until deciding to study mathematics and cryptography, Hoskinson pursued a career in medicine, going as far as being accepted to medical school. He developed a course on how to get into medical school published in April 2012.

Bitshares: Hoskinson’s first leadership foray into cryptocurrencies was as CEO of Invictus, an organization set up to drive the launch of the Bitshares protocol in early 2013. Bitshares is a stack of financial services including banking and exchange on blockchain. The project continues to this day, though Hoskinson is no longer actively involved. For more, see https://bitshares.org/.

Ethereum: Hoskinson helmed the Ethereum project for approximately six months in 2013 and 2014 in the run up to its initial launch. Ethereum is an open-source, public blockchain-based distributed computing platform featuring smart contract functionality. In effect, it provides a decentralized virtual computer that can execute programs using an international network.

Ethereum was proposed in late 2013 by Vitalik Buterin, a cryptocurrency researcher and programmer. Development was funded by an online crowdsale that took place between July and August 2014, one of the first such executions of this now infamous means of raising capital for open source projects (also known as an ICO).  The system went live on 30 July 2015 (after Hoskinson's departure as CEO of the project). For more, see https://www.ethereum.org/.

THE NUMBERS: Ethereum Classic (ETC) has a market value of USD 3.7 billion. Cardano (ADA) has a market value of USD 18.6 billion and has grown over 6x in the last  month.

SWOONWORTHY: Hoskinson was the Founding Chairman of the Bitcoin Foundation's Education Committee and established the not for profit Cryptocurrency Research Group in September of 2013, to teach others and further evangelize the potential for cryptocurrencies. He produced a course on the potential of cryptocurrencies in 2013.

QUOTEWORTHY: “People say ICOs are great for ethereum because, look at the price, but it’s a ticking time-bomb. There’s an over-tokenization of things as companies are issuing tokens when the same tasks can be achieved with existing blockchains. People are blinded by fast and easy money.” – Bloomberg, July 2017
BLOCKINTEL'S TAKE: Charles Hoskinson is no doubt a major player in the burgeoning cryptocurrency and blockchain ecosystem. He has already had lead roles with projects that today represent over USD 146 billion of value and close to 20% of the total cryptocurrency market cap. His academic focus provides valuable bases for his ideas and submissions to the various projects and communities with which he engages. His development of IOHK to more than 70 people (so far) suggests he is working to further his influence and support.

The fierceness of his views and opinions has turned many off to working with him. Risk exists that he is too dogmatic in his views, causing him to miss alternative paths or necessary concessions towards execution and progress.

However, he and the projects in which he engages at least make a material if visceral attempt to root their foundations in core principles and academic rigor. To us, his engagement in a project signals a strong foundation of thought and diligence, a signal that is not too common among emerging projects riddled with scams and niaivity. Only time will tell whether his persistence and adherence to strong, dogmatic principles is a blessing or a curse.

MORE INFO: Hoskinson's LinkedIn   @IOHK_Charles IOHK
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