One of Etherteum’s cofounders, Charles Hoskinson was ousted from the project after losing out to Vitalik Buterin in the battle for Ethereum’s soul. Hoskinson wanted to accept venture capital investments and create a for-profit entity to govern the platform.
Buterin, on the other hand, was committed to decentralized governance and loathed the prospect of letting a private company control Ethereum.
After parting ways with Buterin, in 2015, Hoskinson and fellow Ethereum alumni Jeremy Wood founded IOHK, an engineering company most famous for creating the Cardano blockchain. Yet IOHK (since rebranded as IOG) insists that it doesn’t own Cardano, and these days, Hoskinson appears to have become a vocal advocate for decentralized governance. But some critics aren’t convinced.
According to Hoskinson’s vision for decentralization, CIP-1694 aims to usher in Cardano’s “Voltaire” era: the final phase of a staggered transition from private to public control of the network.
In the Volatire era, any ADA owner will be able to submit a Cardano Improvement Proposal (CIP), while stake pool operators and delegate committees will be able to vote on any proposed changes, much like the current Ethereum governance model.
Although CIP-1694 promises to loosen IOG’s grip on Cardano, the community is still concerned about centralization. One big sticking point that appears to have irked users recently is IOG’s acquisition of the Cardano browser wallet NAMI.
As one X user warned, the NAMI acquisition “rings monopoly bells,” and threatens to give the wallet an unfair advantage over alternatives.
What’s more, IOG’s move to purchase NAMI isn’t the Cardano the developers only controversial enterprise.
First announced in November 2022, Midnight is a privacy-focused Cardano sidechain with smart contract functionality.
However, after a widely cited interview with Hoskinson appeared to imply that Midnight would have some kind of back door for authorities, privacy advocates became suspicious of the project. Notably, Monero supporters have been quick to criticize perceived weaknesses in the proposed design of Midnight’s native token Dusk.
In response to recent criticism, on Wednesday, November 1, Hoskinson called out the “actively hostile” reception of Cardano products and services.
Calling for the support of the Cardano community, he said: “If we are going for number 1, then we need to stop being drama queens and focus on building, partnering, and welcome new positive developments.”