Kadena — Cryptoverse AMA

11 min readOct 1, 2020

Date : 15th September 2020

Guest : Will Martino : Co-Founder & CEO

Doug Beardsley : Director of Engineering

Q: Please briefly introduce yourselves and Kadena to our community?

Will Martino : I’m Will Martino, Co-Founder and CEO of Kadena. Before Kadena I was lead eng for Juno, JPM’s first blockchain and what became JPMCoin v0. Before that I was at the SEC as the lead eng for a quant group that was building forensic tools that are now deployed nation wide. When I was at the SEC I also was the founding tech lead of the SEC’s Crypto Working Group. My co-founder Stuart Popejoy and I met at JPM and founded Kadena to address the shortcomings we found when we tried to get the EVM/ETH to do more than simple tokens/debt at an industrial scale. This required substantial innovations in both smart contract and base layer technology, which we’ve spent the last 4 years shipping.

There’s a *lot* to the Kadena platform, as it encompasses a private/enterprise blockchain (Kuro), a re-imagined smart contract language Pact, and the only beaconless (aka not hub-and-spoke) layer-1 sharded platform to ever launch. There’s a lot that makes us unique, but I feel that the easiest differentiator to grok is that we managed to solve the decade-old cryptocurrency question, “can you scale a public blockchain and keep decentralization?” with just POW. See explorer.chainweb.com to see sharded POW in action.

Doug Beardsley : Hi I’m Doug Beardsley. I’ve been writing software for 17 years professionally and for quite awhile before that while I was in school. I’ve worked in defense, finance, and building full stack web apps. I’m Kadena’s Director of Engineering and am having a blast working with this team to make our product into something that will change the world.

Q: What is the main usecase for kadena / What problem does it solve?

A: Kadena is a layer-1 proof of work smart contract blockchain that scales. We proved that we can scale about a month ago when we transitioned mainnet from 10 chains to 20 chains [1]. On top of Kadena is a smart contract language called Pact. Pact is purpose-built for the needs of blockchains applications and has transparent multi-sig, accounts with key rotation, and a bunch of other features designed to make smart contracts easy to write. So in that sense, it solves the same problem that Ethereum solves. But Kadena won’t have the high gas price problems that ethereum has because if we get too many transactions, we’ll increase the number of chains to handle it [2].



We have some Pact tutorials at

and the Pact language reference is here

Q: What is Hybrid Blockchain? What makes #Kadena stand out and be different from similar projects using Hybrid Blockchains: Algorand, Polkadot?

A: Hybrid blockchain is the idea that, by having a platform that has smart contracts + real layer-1 sharded scaling (aka beaconless) + layer-2 permissioned/sidechain integration, applications can have part of their data and logic run on the public layer-1, the rest run on the permissioned layer-2, and leverage interop to span the gap between layers. Thus, the applications are a hybrid of public and private.

This is different from Cosmos/Polkadot/Algorand approach in that have some variant on a beacon/hub/most important chain that’s fundamentally low throughput, and thus not a great idea for deploying logic directly on, thus requiring a second layer for the app logic to run on (otherwise the hub/beacon will get congested).

At a business level, hybrid is what our time at JPM showed us that crypt would need for long term adoption at the business/industrial level. Much of the Kadena platform is designed from this perspective: _assume that crypto is fully adopted by 2030, what are the key features that businesses needed to cross the chasm, and build those features today.

The biggest non-smart contract/dapp difference between KDA and it’s competitors is that KDA scaled w/o giving up on POW… instead we figured out how to leverage what makes POW special to launch the only decentralized state-sharded platform. Proof of Work *Works* … so why drop it for POS, which still is unproven, if we can just fix the throughput problems of POW directly.

Q : What is “multi-sing” and what is its role within Kadena service stations?

A: Multi-sig is the ability to have multiple keys associated with a single account. Multi-sig is built into Pact from the ground up using what we call “keysets”. So you get this by default out of the box. Ethereum, by comparison, doesn’t have multi-sig built in so you have to do it with smart contracts using things like Gnosis Safe. This costs more gas and is generally more complicated to work with.

I think that easy multi-sig will really help improve blockchain usability because it will allow you to add new keys to your account easily. So instead of going to great lengths to back up your keys by putting a copy in a safe, a safe deposit box, and maybe with your lawyer, you can add a key on your phone, your watch, your laptop, etc. Then if you lose any one of them, no big deal. Just remove that key and replace it with a new one.

I assume “Kadena service stations” is talking about gas stations. Gas stations are a separate concept that also will really help usability because they allow people to do transactions without already having KDA. Multi-sig is a separate concept. But they both really help improve the usability of the blockchain.

Q: As i see, there are many Products of Kadena Platform like Pact, Kadena, Kuro, KadenaMint, etc many More!

Could you explain in Details about these Products of Kadena Blockchain

A: This could easily take up the next hour, as there’s just too much to the platform to summarize in detail.

Pact: Kadena’s cross-platform smart contract langauge, is designed to be *the standard* in smart contracts long term, much like excel/sql are standards in spreadsheets/databases. Pact has native support for: multi-sig, contract interop, cross chain interop, cross-chain merkle proof verification, coroutine/async execution, formal verification, etc… Pact more or less has every feature you’ve ever heard that a contract language should have, and a number of features that you only realize you need AFTER you ship the features that are critical today like formal verification (which leads to finding out that verifiable interfaces/ERCs are critical as well).

Kuro: Kadena’s permissioned layer-2 blockchain designed for enterprise-grade applications, and is now fully FOSS. It’s the evolution of JPM’s first blockchain Juno, and was battle tested in the labs of multiple fortune 500's.

Kadenamint: Kadena’s partnership project with Cosmos, and was designed to further to goal of Pact as an industry standard by putting Pact on top of Tendermint, so that Pact could joining the Cosmos ecosystem.

Q: What are the advantages of Pact smart contracts using “formal verification”? How does Pact detect and remove critical errors in contracts?

A: Formal verification allows you to prove things about your program *for all possible inputs*. This is significantly different from the normal way of testing code by trying a few values and making sure you get the answer you expect because it can find problems that you never would have thought to test for. You can see an example of this at

where we have a program that has a very subtle bug and returns a negative number only when a very complicated condition is met. It’s very difficult for a human even looking at the code to figure out when that program gives the wrong answer, but if you hover over the yellow triangle on the left you can see that the formal verification system finds the problem pretty much instantly.

Q: Can you share #KADENA opinion on DeFi ? What steps are already being taken towards the future progress of #KADENA ?

A: We have been following the developments in the DeFi community very closely. It’s clear to us that this is where a lot of people in the crypto space are focused, so we are making this a significant part of our Q4 roadmap. We will be announcing more details about that in the near future, but we are looking at all the possibilities. We want to get partnerships with existing DeFi projects as well as work on creating the building blocks of DeFi. Things like bridges, stablecoins, DEXs, etc are very much on our minds and you can expect to see new developments in these areas over the coming weeks and months.

Q: 70% of KDA token allocation is for miners, what happen if almost all of the KDA token has been mined?

A: 700MM KDA is mined out over the next 120 years (20 year half life, monthly emissions adjustments). If all the KDA get’s mined, and KDA is still relevant, we’ve changed the world quite dramatically. tl;dr — we’re not worried about it.

Q: Security is really important and valued by users. Would you mention Kadena security measures? How is its wallet protected against being hacked, and in case it does, is there insurance for users?

A:Our wallet Chainweaver takes security very seriously. It is built on the same low level crypto stuff that Cardano uses. It also makes it impossible for the user to get the private key out. This seems like it makes things hard but I am becoming more and more convinced that it’s the right decision. We also have this community-driven project for secure key generation [1] that helps you generate keys completely offline with secure sources of entropy like casino-grade dice.

Q: Can you list 1 or 3 killer features of #KADENA that makes it ahead of its competitors ?? What is the competitive advantage your platform has that you feel most confident about ?

A: #1 KDA is the only decentralized state-sharding layer-1 to honestly launch. Beaconchain aka hub-and-spoke are nice, but they suffer from the trilemma, we don’t.

#2 Pact, kadena’s smart contract language, is just unparalleled

#3 On KDA, Sharded-Dapps are already safely in production — the KDA coin itself is the genesis contract of the genesis block.

Q: Why did you decide to design Pact? What motivated you to do it? What makes it different from the other smart contract languages?

A: I talked about this in a presentation I gave at the Rethink Trust conference here:

Briefly, smart contracts are programs that can’t be changed. They also deal with money. They also can’t do things that a lot of other software can do like query a web page (because they have to always and forever give the same answer and if the web page goes down that won’t be possible). These characteristics raise the stakes significantly when it comes to bugs in smart contract development. Because of this, we felt that a completely new language was needed that was designed with these factors in mind.

Q: What are the uses of $KDA?

A: KDA is a standard POW coin, so think ETH.

> Besides being listed on Bittrex, where else can I trade $KDA?

Coinmetro is officially supported, though it’s on coinex and hotbit too.

> What are the medium and long-term benefits for stakeholders?

The biggest benefit is that you *don’t* need to stake the token to maintain it’s value. You. Can. Just. Hold. It.

And don’t have to worry about it getting slashed accidentally…

Q: What do you mean when you say that Pact is Turing-incomplete. Can you briefly explain that concept to us?

A: In a normal programming language, you can loop over a portion of the program indefinitely. This is a feature of programming languages, as they need to iterate to find solutions and sometimes those iterations can take hours/days.

In a smart contract language, you have a limited amount of gas that a computation can consume before it’s stopped. This is a feature of blockchains, as an infinite loop would stall/dos the network.

Turing completeness is related to the idea of an infinite program, and while powerful turing completeness makes it MUCH easier to write bugs. Because things like ETH have gas limits, there’s zero reason that the EVM should be turing complete… except it is, so it has way more bugs in contracts.

Pact isn’t Turing complete, meaning that even though you can stick together a program that loops 1MM times, you can never make it infinite. While for people a 1MM-iteration loop, and an infinite loop, seem similar… to a computer they are very different, and thus a computer can make/check pact programs for safety in a unparalleled way.

tl;dr — Pact can’t run forever, and thus a computer can fully understand what pact code does, so it can “check you work”, which makes it dramatically safer.

Q: Kadena uses the PoW algorithm, and due to the computational capacity required, it is expensive and energy intensive. Do you plan to migrate to PoS consensus in the short term? How committed is your project to the ecosystem?

A: The reports about PoW’s problems with energy consumption are based on bad data and have been pretty well debunked [1]. Electricity cannot be transmitted anywhere in the world for free. Transmitting electricity causes significant power loss over distance. PoW miners almost always operate very close to cheap green power where there is surplus electricity. This actually makes PoW a better way to transmit power around the globe. Instead of having to have an armored truck drive a bunch of gold up to Denver, you can have really cheap electricity near a hydro plant in Canada do some computations and those computations allow us to do the same value transfer that the armored truck would have done! This is actually really amazing when you think about it.

When you’re looking at the electricity consumption of PoW, you have to compare it to the existing thing that does the same job…i.e. the global banking system. How much power do you think that uses? Whatever it is, it’s enormous. PoW allows us to get many of those benefits while leveraging the cheapest and most efficient power in the world.

We don’t intend to migrate to PoS because PoS is unproven. It is our opinion that the only reason people are investigating PoS is because they couldn’t figure out how to scale PoW and the reward for scaling is too big to ignore. We figured out how to scale PoW, so we’re going to stick with the tried and true. If you really sit down and think about it, PoS is really rule by the wealthy. If the original stakeholders don’t want to sell, it’s impossible for anyone else to control the network. That’s not the kind of system that I want to use.

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