The Hedera Governing Council has voted to purchase the intellectual property rights to the hashgraph consensus algorithm from Swirlds, Inc., the original creator of the hashgraph consensus algorithm and founding member of the Hedera Governing Council.
The Governing Council members further made a commitment to make the code open source under Apache 2.0 license in 2022. The Governing Council members have voted to take this step to enable broader community participation. In addition, Hedera believes technical controls are in place to ensure that the Hedera network state cannot split, so the hashgraph patents are no longer needed to be able to be used defensively to protect Hedera ecosystem participants. The open sourcing of the consensus layer will serve to further accelerate its development and expand the number of contributors. The Council members also announced that the network code will be out of beta with the next mainnet upgrade.
The Governing Council members are a diverse group of leading enterprises and organizations that collectively promote the advancement of the Hedera network technology and determine allocation of the Hedera treasury, as evidenced by the recent announcement of the allocation of 10.7 billion hbars (approximately 20% of total supply) towards the expansion of the Hedera ecosystem and hbar economy. Governance has continued to grow from the original five members to the current 25, with these diverse, distributed Council members participating in running the network nodes, governing the network, and recruiting new Council members.
“The vision has always been for Hedera to be a council-member driven organization, enabling the most decentralized governance and therefore broadest-reaching public network on the market,” said Scott Thiel, Partner at DLA Piper, one of the original Governing Council members. “We believe now is the time to enable the fastest adoption possible of the Hedera network, to capitalize on growing demand for public DLT.”
As such, the Council members have also made decisions that enable broader market participation by both startups and enterprises. The development and management teams and related personnel currently employed by Hedera Hashgraph, LLC will move to Swirlds. Mance Harmon,CEO of Hedera Hashgraph, and Dr. Leemon Baird, Chief Scientist of Hedera Hashgraph, will leave those positions, which are being dissolved, and will continue to participate in the Hedera ecosystem as peer members of the Governing Council through Swirlds, where they are CEO and CTO, respectively. In addition, Dr. Leemon Baird will continue to serve as Co-Chair of the Hedera Council’s Technical Steering & Product Committee, which is responsible for technical and roadmap decisions affecting the Hedera network, and Natalie Furman, who is resigning from the position of General Counsel at Hedera Hashgraph to lead legal efforts at Swirlds, will continue to participate as one of the member representatives in the Council’s Legal & Regulatory Committee. Tom Sylvester is being promoted from Associate General Counsel to General Counsel at Hedera Hashgraph.
“From day one, I have had a vision to enable ‘Shared Worlds’, where anyone can gather, collaborate, conduct commerce, and control their own online footprint,” said Dr. Leemon Baird, CTO of Swirlds and Co-Chair of the Hedera Council’s Technical Steering & Product Committee. “With the completion of V1 of the network code, open sourcing of the hashgraph algorithm, and an engaged Council making key decisions about the future of the network, the foundation of that vision is complete. The next challenge is for the broader community to develop products and services beyond the Layer 1 protocol, to deliver products and services that enable others to leverage the power of the Layer 1 protocol to create value. Swirlds is the best place for us to work on that, while fostering an ecosystem where all can participate equally.”
“Under high uncertainty and growing complexity economies, knowledge- and technology-intensive industries can maintain sustainable growth only by promoting open models of highly interactive and collaborative, multidisciplinary and multidirectional innovation. Innovation ecosystems are generally difficult to build because they are characterized by open non-linear dynamics, high receptivity to feedback loops, and persistent structural transformations,” said Prof. Paolo Tasca, Executive Director University College London, Centre for Blockchain Technologies, the first academic partner to join the Hedera Governing Council members. “I believe in non-hierarchical governance models which enable self-adaptability to rapid change via multilateral cooperation between innovators, developers, industry and academia. Therefore, I praise the Hedera team for their majestic work towards the broadening of the Hedera innovation ecosystem through open sourcing the consensus layer and further governance decentralization.”
The Hedera Governing Council has also entered into an agreement to outsource several essential services to Swirlds for the foreseeable future as the Council focuses on core network governance, industry standards, public policy, and treasury management.
“Achieving V1 of the Hedera network code is an important milestone for the Council and community, providing a robust network for anyone, anywhere in the world to build and deploy decentralized applications,” said Saiprasad Raut, Chief Technology Advisor, Crypto & Emerging Business for Worldpay from FIS, and Co-Chair of the Hedera Council’s Technical Steering and Product Committee. “And purchasing and making open source the underlying hashgraph algorithm will ensure that network development continues to be collaboratively produced, shared freely, published transparently, and developed for the good of the community. The ongoing collaboration between members of the Council, including Swirlds, gives us the best structure to facilitate exponential growth of the world’s most advanced public ledger infrastructure.”
“The towering importance of trust & transparency has become more critical than ever as digital technologies prodigiously tether us all with each other & our items,” said Pradeep Iyer, Ph.D, Research Fellow, Materials Group for Avery Dennison. “Recent pivotal organizational changes within Hedera hold the promise to seamlessly scale & secure a public DLT platform, catalyzing ubiquitous adoption. I see exciting opportunities to provide trusted tethers between physical items & their digital identities, for example, to accurately measure & mitigate environmental impact and help achieve ESG goals.”
The Council is also pleased to announce that Brett McDowell was unanimously elected by the Board of Directors for a two-year term effective January 1, 2022, as the first Chair of Hedera Hashgraph after serving ex officio in that capacity since the founding of the Council in February of 2019.
“It is an honor to be entrusted with this responsibility,” said McDowell. “The Governing Council has made meaningful progress over the past three years, growing from the initial five members, to now, twenty-five members across different industries, and geographies. I am excited about the changes being made by the Council at the beginning of the year, positioning the Hedera network for unprecedented growth in 2022.”