Open Source Matters

Flicking through r/cardano and noticed this post which compares Cardano and ERC-20 (the Ethereum Standard for on-chain tokens).

The comparison is interesting, although most seasoned Cardano followers will already know that the approach to native assets will be very strong compared to other implementations.

What stood out more was a comment that Polkadot had reused a lot of Cardano code for their implementation. Assuming this is correct (not been fact checked) then at first sight you may think (as the Reddit commenter did) that this is a negative to using an Open Source approach for the Cardano code base. After all it would seem to allow competitors to benefit from innovations that Cardano has developed?

However it worth reflecting on why the long term benefits of Open Source far outweigh the short term impacts:

  • Cardano is like Linux: it aims to be a universal Financial Operating system in the way that Linux has become a universal computing operating system.
  • Open Source allows all parties to peer review and check code, make improvements, audit and resolve security issues
  • By providing open access commercial and private organisations have the confidence they will not be placed in a weak negotiating position with future licence increases by a software vendor.
  • Open source still allows commercial support agreements. RedHat have built a fantastically successful business model supporting Linux, maintaining, developing and and contributing upstream to the code base.
  • It allows the ecosystem to occupy a neutral political position, important if the ecosystem aspires to enable critical national services (finance, identity etc) for nation states.