Today, we’ll be diving deeper into the Cardano roadmap. In our previous blog, we went through a lot of things that Charles Hoskinson said about what he’s been doing with Cardano. So now, we’ll go back and see where Cardano is today and then we’ll move our way forward.
So, the story really begins with the Byron phase in 2015, with a vision of addressing the three strategic challenges facing all blockchain networks – scalability, interoperability, and sustainability. After thousands of GitHub commits and hundreds of hours of study later, the first version of Cardano shipped in September of 2017, and from there began the Byran era.
The first incarceration of Cardano allowed users to buy and sell Ada cryptocurrency. This is on a network running the groundbreaking Ouroboros consensus protocol. The harder the Cardano network, Ouroboros is the first proof-of-stake protocol on the basis of academic research with a mathematically proving level of security.
The Byran era also saw the delivery of a wallet delivered by the main developer. It also saw the Yoroi lightweight wallet, which is also from their sister company. Yoroi was designed for quick transactions in day-to-day use. As much as the Byran era was about the first crucial technology developments, it’s also about building a community and getting people involved in creating the blockchain of the future.
So Cardano’s grown from a small group of enthusiasts to a global community at this point. With Ada hosted on more than 30 exchanges and with an average market capitalisation that makes it one of the leading cryptocurrencies in the world to this phase. So, essentially, the Byran phase was about building a foundation.
Then, the Shelley followed up on the Byran era. This phase of Cardano was for the growth and development for the network. Unlike the Byran era, which began at a single point time, when the main net was launched, the transition to Shelley was smooth and low risk, without service interruptions.
The Shelley era encompass the clinical early steps in Cardano’s journey to optimize decentralization. Unlike any first steps, these will be gradual and significant. During the Byran era, the network was federated. However, as the Shelley era progressed, more and more nodes were shifted towards being run by the Cardano community.
Once the majority of the nodes were run by the network participants, Cardano became more decentralised, and since then it enjoyed greater security and rewards. The Shelley phase also introduced delegation and incentive schemes – a reward system to drive stake pools and community adoption.
As a proof of stake network, users stake their Ada to participate in the network. This delegation and incentive scheme allowed and encouraged users to delegate their stake to stake pools. These are always on, community-run network nodes that in turn rewards for honest participation in the network.
By the end of the Shelley phase, Cardano became 50-100 times more decentralised than any other blockchain network. It achieved all this with the incentive scheme designed to reach equilibrium around a thousand staking pools.
Current prominent blockchain networks are often controlled by less than 10 mining pools. This exposes them to the serious risk of malicious behavior and its consequences. And this is something that Cardano avoids with a system inherently designed to encourage greater decentralization.
Not only that, but the entire Cardano network runs on a fraction of the power. It only uses electricity equivalent of a single household rather than a small country, which lot of the PoW networks take.
The Shelley era represents the natural maturing of the network. It makes the network more useful, rewarding, and valuable for users that are new and old. It also prepares for the future. Shelley sets the stage for a future distributed network and an entirely new application ecosystem.
Next is the Goguen phase, which came into effect in September of 2021. With the integration of smart contracts, the Goguen era represents a big step forward in the capability for the Cardano network. While the Shelley era decentralized the core of the system, Goguen has the ability to build decentralized applications, or dApps, on Cardano’s solid foundation of peer-reviewed research and high assurance development.
Now, users from technical and non-techical background can create next functional smart contracts on the Cardano network. This is a huge movement for the Cardano network. One of the goals for the Goguen era was the creation of Plutus. It is an execution platform using the functional programming language Haskell. Plutus brings the benefit of functional programming to small contract creations.
It also allows one codebase to support both on and offchain components. This helps in improving the coherency and usability of the development experience compared with existing smart contract implementations.
Goguen also brought improvements to the core Cardano offerings. Most significantly, the addition of the multi currency ledger extended the usefulness of Cardano even further. This ultimately enabled users to create new, natively supported tokens. This allows the creation of fungible, as well as non-fungible tokens.
The Goguen era represents a step into the abilities of Cardano. It opens the way to development of enterprise level, mission critical, decentralised smart contract applications.
The Basho phase is the next phase that we’re entering into right now. This Basho era of Cardano is an era of optimization, improvising the scalability and interoperability of the network. While the previous development eras focused on decentralization and new functionalities, Basho is about improving the underlying performance of the Cardano network to better support growth and adoption for applications with high transaction volume.
One of the core developments of Basho will be the introduction of side chains. New blockchains, interoperable with the main Cardano chain, with immense potential to extend the capabilities of the network. We can use side chains as a shorting mechanism. It can work by offloading work from the main chain to side chains to increase the capability of the network. They’re also capable to introduce experimental features without affecting the security of the main blockchain.
Overall, the Basho phase will see Cardano become one of the high performing, resilient, and flexible blockchains platforms in the industry. This will provide a network infrastructure with the capability to scale into a sustainable, secure way, as well as the ability to add new functionalities without compromising the reliability of the core of the network.
And finally, we have the Voltaire phase. The Voltaire era of Cardano will provide the final pieces required for this Cardano network to become a self sustaining system. With the introduction of a voting and a treasuring system, the network participants will be able to use their stake and voting rights to influence the future development of the network.
For the Cardano network to become truly decentralized, it will require not only the distributed infrastructure introduced during the Shelley era, but also the capacity to be maintained and improved over time in a decentralized way. To that end, the Voltaire era will have the ability for network participants to present Cardano improvement proposals that the stakeholders can vote on, leveraging the already existing staking and delegating process.
To fund the future development of the network, Voltaire will also see the addition of a treasury system, whereby a fraction of all transaction fees will be poured to provide funds for development activities undertaken following the voting process.
When both of voting and treasury system are in place, Cardano will truly decentralise, and will no longer run under the main management. Ultimately, Cardano’s future will be in the hands of the community, who have everything they need to grow and evolve Cardano from the secured, decentralized basis established by the original founders.
The original founders are working on more content for the era of the roadmap and will be updating this as we go forward in the future. Meanwhile, you can find all the new updates on the main founder’s website IOHK.
That ultimately explains the Cardano roadmap. Thank you for sticking with me to the very end. We hope this has been valuable information to your journey to skyrocketing with Ada. You can keep track of our blog or YouTube channel to stay updated about Cardano every day. And as always, make sure to keep your kids protected with CleanRouter and CleanPhone. This lets you have the ultimate parental controls with how your kids use their phone 🙂
If you’d like to learn more about the roadmap, kindly check out the video below:
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