Decentralised Big Tech, with Leemon Baird of Hedera Hashgraph


Decentralised Big Tech, with Leemon Baird of Hedera Hashgraph

Hedera is the most used, sustainable, enterprise-grade public network for the decentralized economy. In this episode of The Metaverse Podcast, host Jamie Burke speaks with Leemon Baird, their Co-Founder, about how he stumbled upon a mathematical problem that led to the development of Hedera Hashgraph.

Posted by Decentralised Big Tech, with Leemon Baird of Hedera Hashgraph - April 2022


Decentralised Big Tech, with Leemon Baird of Hedera Hashgraph Outlier Ventures

  • Co-Founder and Chief Scientist at Hashgraph
  • Has a PhD in Computer Science from Carnegie Mellon University
  • Has held positions as a Professor of Computer Science at the US Air Force Academy
  • Has been the Co-Founder of several startups

Hashgraph As A Distributed Ledger Technology

Decentralised Big Tech, with Leemon Baird of Hedera Hashgraph Outlier Ventures

  • In a blockchain, there’s a chain. As it starts to branch off, branches are chopped off
  • Blockchains just mean Distributed Ledger Technology (DLT) — a ledger
  • For Hashgraph, a whole lattice is created and placed in order
  • Hashgraph is fast, secure, asynchronous, and Byzantine fault-tolerant

What Led Him To This Problem?

  • Started as a hobby because he likes math problems

And it wasn’t that I wanted to make a better blockchain, I wanted to solve a fun math problem. I have a whole bunch of math problems that I play with for years. And sometimes I will literally go decades and just keep working on the problem. And I’ll probably never solve it, but it’s fun.

– Leemon Baird

  • Was trying to convince himself that it was impossible to have speed and security at the same time
  • He thought about the problem over a few years
  • Realized that if you were to include hashes of the last 2 messages at the bottom of every message, all of the messages could be tied together:
    • The last message you received
    • The last message you created
  • This enables both speed and security
  • Started Hedera with his co-founder Mance Harmon

How Long Has This Problem Been In His Head? How Has It Been Informed By His Background And Experience?

💡 Leemon Baird has founded multiple startups. Has been involved in both research and commercial settings.

  • Has been doing research his entire life. Had fun solving math problems and algorithms
  • Started a number of businesses. Had to be careful about building businesses that are cool but have no real-world practicality

The longest math proof I ever did was like 20 pages long. I’ve been publishing in math journal and it is 100% useless. No one will ever use it for anything.

– Leemon Baird

  • Started thinking about this problem in 2012
  • In 2015, he realized that they could make a graph with hashes tying together a hash graph

Their Governance Framework

  • Their ledger is public and anyone can use it
  • Running a node requires permission
  • Their governance is decentralized
  • Have over 27 council members who are enormous organizations, top 10 universities in the world, and fortune 100 companies in different industries
  • Each serves as a check and balance on one another

How Do They Balance The Mix Of Council Members?

  • Has diversification in geographical location and industries
  • Has representation from tech, banking, telcos, and legal firms

So do I trust a big tech company? Of course, I don’t trust a big tech company. Do I trust a lawyer? I really don’t trust a lawyer. But do I trust a diverse group like this, to be able to act as checks and balances on each other? Well, yeah, I trust that more than a dictatorship.

– Leemon Baird

The Spectrum Of Use Cases That He’s Seeing In The Context Of The Metaverse

  • Use cases he has seen:
    • Financial remittances
    • Tokenization of assets
    • Tracking of COVID vaccines
    • Marketing
    • Looking at the provenances of diamonds, pharmaceuticals, and others
  • The Metaverse embodies all of the above. It is an ecosystem of worlds that are connected to one another
  • Users can do plenty of things with the Hedera consensus service:
    • Offload consensus and trust to Hedera
    • Has encryption to enable privacy
    • Communicate with others who use the same consensus service

Building The Metaverse On Hedera

  • Have Hedera Improvement Proposals (HIPs) where people can suggest new features or standards
  • Interested to go to Standard committees and getting Standards
  • Standards are needed for interoperability
  • Putting a lot of effort to make Hedera easy to use
  • Other ledgers could use a plugin that uses Hedera’s consensus service and encryption as a kind of hybrid model
  • Hedera could be used for anything — from tiny ad-hoc networks to giant public networks that are built for centuries

Decentralised Big Tech, with Leemon Baird of Hedera Hashgraph Outlier Ventures

This podcast summary was prepared by The Reading Ape in collaboration with Outlier Ventures. The Reading Ape is a humble servant of the written word.

We can be reached here: Twitter | Substack