Ongoing testnet rollout is underway, giving the crypto community its first glimpse of the so-called Ethereum killer’s features in the wild.
Cardano has gained a significant following since it was founded in 2015, with the ADA currency following two years later. Cardano positions itself as the ‘Ethereum killer’, a smart contracts platform that will offer functionality beyond anything currently on the market.
Cardano has set itself apart in a number of ways. The project, maintained by Charles Hoskinson and IOHK, prides itself on taking a research-first approach, with a conservative development philosophy. Features are guided by academic peer review, though the more cautious style means development has been slower than for other projects, and Cardano is behind schedule as a result.
Cardano claims to offer dramatically enhanced scalability thanks to its layered architecture and ‘provably secure’ proof of stake consensus. The original protocol was written in Haskell and smart contracts in Plutus – two less-known languages, at least at the present time – while Shelley’s codebase is Rust. While it promises much, and the slowly-but-surely approach is a welcome change from many protocols’ ‘move fast and break things’ dev philosophy, it has meant that IOHK has maintained control of the network until now. But that’s about to change.
So far this year, Cardano is trading up 100%. Amid bullish sentiment for crypto overall, there is a major upgrade on the way for the network. On Tuesday, Charles Hoskinson tweeted:
Update on testnet, we are doing a rolling release this week with some of the stakepool taskforce getting emails today and tomorrow and then following this with a general release on Friday with the new website. David will also do an AMA on Friday covering the release
Speaking in Japan recently, Hoskinson warned the community that control was about to shift from IOHK to them. ‘I’m not in charge, you are. Every one of you has to be armed with a lot of facts, a lot of information. Very soon, our protocol is going to begin rapidly decentralizing. Shelley is coming.’
Shelley marks Cardano’s transition to decentralised Proof-of-Stake, meaning that decision-makers will be coin holders rather than IOHK. While this is a necessary step for any decentralised protocol once it reaches a certain point of maturity, it means developers and founders necessarily have less control. It’s the moment when Cardano flies the nest. For the record, it’s a different implementation of PoS than Ethereum’s Casper, Nxt’s consensus or other forms. You can learn more about Shelley from Cardano’s recent blog post.
Cardano is also building partnerships alongside these infrastructure updates. From Hoskinson’s Twitter feed, you can see he’s been busy signing MOUs with Georgian institutions and authorities to use Cardano for credential verification.
Over the coming days and weeks, the Cardano network will become progressively decentralised and community-maintained. When it reaches full decentralisation, we’ll start to see how the slow-but-steady dev philosophy cashes out in the real world – whether it’s been worth the wait, or whether it means Cardano has lost ground and opportunities to other projects that have taken more risks and moved faster. If IOHK have built good foundations, there’s a chance that it will become adopted more widely among organisations that prize this research-led approach, particularly universities and other institutions.
Naturally, the impatient Cardano community have been anticipating stellar price rises on the release, but it’s always worth taking the uber-bullish predictions with a grain (or ton) of salt. ADA might be strongly up in USD terms this year, but against BTC it’s heading back to its bear market lows. And this is crypto: people always sell the news. Whatever you think of Cardano as a potential Ethereum killer, be warned about how the market reacts to these events.
For more information, visit https://www.cardano.org
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