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Cardano Roadmap in Plain EnglishDownloadSubscribe

Cardano Roadmap in Plain English

Cardano is a smart contract platform created by Charles Hoskinson, the co-founder of Ethereum. Although Charles helped to get Ethereum off the ground, his vision for how the project should be run was different than the rest of the team. That caused Charles to give up his place at the head of Ethereum so that he could create his own smart contract platform: Cardano.

What makes the Cardano protocol unique is that it’s being rolled out in stages, one major release at a time. This is a very different approach than most other projects. Ethereum, for example, was released all at once. The advantage of releasing everything at once is that it lets the project gain adoption. Currently, Ethereum has the largest developer community and a big head start in adoption versus Cardano. The downside is that by releasing everything at once, there will be bugs that can make the protocol susceptible to attacks.

By rolling out the blockchain in stages, Cardano can release better, cleaner, more secure code at the expense of sacrificing the first-mover advantage. Which strategy is better? It’s too early to say for sure. We’ll need to wait and see what the Cardano adoption is like once the project is fully developed.

In this article:

    Cardano Roadmap

    Cardano is rolling out in five phases. An overview of each phase is presented below.

    The full Cardano roadmap is available here


    Phase 1: Byron

    Byron marks the initial release of the Cardano (ADA) blockchain. A little known fact is that Cardano’s ticker symbol, ADA, refers to Ada Lovelace, who is often considered one of the world’s first computer programmers.

    Released in September of 2017, Byron brought Cardano to the market with an MVP (Minimally Viable Product). Users could send and receive transactions, as well as store their coins in the official Daedalus wallet. That was about it. The real potential of Cardano would only be revealed in later releases.

    Phase 2: Shelley

    Shelley was a big deal because it brought staking to Cardano. The cryptocurrency community loves staking, and in the months leading up to the release of Shelley, Cardano’s market cap increased significantly.

    The Cardano team refers to Shelley as the decentralization milestone since the introduction of staking will decentralize validators. Put simply, in phase 1 there were a small number of validators securing the Cardano network. Now that phase 2 has been implemented, anyone can become a validator. This creates a more robust, more secure network that’s difficult to compromise.

    Cardano intends for staking to be as simple as possible so that anyone can do it. Users can stake directly from the official Daedalus wallet or a third party wallet like Exodus. Staking Cardano with Exodus is super easy.


    Phase 3: Goguen

    The Goguen update will bring smart contract capabilities to the protocol. If there has been one consistent criticism of Cardano, it’s that Cardano is a smart contract platform that doesn’t have smart contracts. Even three years after its initial launch in 2017, it still isn’t possible to create smart contracts on Cardano. Currently, the slated release date for Goguen is Q4 of 2020.

    One of Goguen’s most exciting features will be the Marlowe programming language. The idea behind Marlowe is that it will allow people with no programming experience to create smart contracts. Loads more information about Marlowe and how it will work is provided on Cardano’s website.

    Another of Goguen’s features is that it will bring token support to Cardano. Developers will be able to create both fungible and non-fungible tokens, the equivalent of the ERC20 and ERC721 token standards on Ethereum.

    Phase 4: Basho

    The main feature of Basho is that it will bring sidechains to Cardano. This will help the network to scale so that it can handle significantly more transactions per second.

    Sidechains are a way for transactions to happen on a side network that’s separate from the main Cardano base layer. The way a sidechain usually works is that transactions take place on a sidechain. Periodically, all of these transactions will be batched together and validated on the main chain. Because the transactions are happening on the sidechain, they remain unaffected by congestion on the main chain.

    In terms of an analogy, a sidechain is like a road running next to a highway (the main chain). Cars can drive along the road (sidechain), and then at periodic intervals, they can access the highway via an onramp. There can be multiple sidechains running alongside the Cardano highway, and they can be customized to support different design requirements.  

    Phase 5: Voltaire

    The final phase will bring governance to the Cardano network. Like other networks, Cardano holders will be able to use their coins to vote on how the Cardano treasury should be spent and what kind of development work should be done on the network.

    Cardano coin holders will be able to propose changes to the network, and then other users will be able to vote on those proposals. Cardano hopes that this decentralized approach to network maintenance and improvement will be more beneficial than having one centralized organization make all the decisions.


    Cardano Future

    Cardano is an ambitious project aiming to consolidate all of the most high-tech features of other blockchains in one place. Smart contracts, a Proof of Stake consensus mechanism, scaling via sidechains, and a decentralized governance model. All of it requires a lot of work, and more time than anyone would like, but the results should be pretty impressive.

    This content is for informational purposes only and is not investment advice. You should consult a qualified licensed advisor before engaging in any transaction.

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