Cardano is currently the third largest cryptocurrency in terms of total market capitalization. The network has seen significant growth during the current bull cycle, bringing its current valuation to $ 76 billion at the time of this writing.

Over the years Cardano has received serious criticism of its approach, with naysayers arguing that the billion dollar market cap was completely unjustified for a network with no usable applications.

For those who don’t know, the project took a different route to marketing. Cardano’s peer-reviewed standard is loved by some and disproved by others, but the fact is the team behind it produced numerous papers and spent a lot of time developing theories before actually implementing it.

Nonetheless, the aforementioned criticism was partially silenced on September 12th when the network went through the much anticipated Alonzo mainnet upgrade – the hard fork that brought Cardano smart contracts functionality.

Of course, like everything else in the industry, she has encountered both serious criticism and passionate optimism – pretty much on either end of the spectrum. This piece aims to look at both sides of the story.

The Alonzo Hard Fork – What does it mean for Cardano?

As CryptoPotato reported earlier this week, Cardano went through the most important upgrade of its mainnet – Alonzo.

Alonzo is part of the current Cardano development cycle. According to the project’s official roadmap, it is part of the Goguen era. Cardano has five development cycles on its roadmap – Byron, Shelley, Goguen, Basho, and Voltaire, and we’re currently in the third.

The main part of the Goguen era is the integration of smart contracts – which we will do on Dec.

In fact, Charles Hoskinson – the founder of Cardano – spoke on the subject who said:

This upgrade is the culmination of six years of incredibly hard work with some of the brightest minds on the blockchain and beyond.

It’s also worth noting that the Goguen era also included efforts to bring the network to a much wider audience through Marlowe. This is a special language for financial contracts on Cardano and allows those contracts to be written in financial language instead of a general purpose language on the blockchain.

The focus now is on further improving the platform and ensuring that Cardano is adopted by businesses and governments. – Hoskinson added.

In essence, however, developers can now write smart contracts and encode various protocols on Cardano’s mainnet – similar to other protocols like Ethereum, Solana, Binance Smart Chain, Polkadot and so on.

Not without controversy

Before going live on the mainnet, Alonzo’s smart contract functions were on the network’s testnet, where developers had time to play with the code and test its functionality by creating various protocols and applications.

When the update was first introduced on the testnet, however, the team was faced with a few points of criticism regarding a parallelism problem. These often manifest themselves in a way that prevents multiple users from interacting with a protocol at the same time.

In the case of Cardano, critics argued that this may be due to the lack of a “Cardano Virtual Machine” – a global state like the Ethereum Virtual Machine – that enables the simultaneous processing of smart contracts.

To be more specific, a user encountered a transaction error while trying to swap tokens with the first DEX based on Cardano’s test network – Minswap.

cardano_img1Source: Reddit

As reported by CryptoPotato, the Cardano team has dealt with the problems in depth in some parts. In the meantime, we also got in touch, and an IOHK spokesman said:

Claiming that Cardano is facing a scaling “problem” with parallelism is like claiming Tesla has a distance problem due to fuel shortages. It completely fails to recognize that the parallelism from the Cardano protocol to the ETH is handled very differently.

In fact, Charles Hoskinson went into serious detail in a one-hour video to explain how exactly the protocol deals with smart contracts and what challenges they are trying to overcome.

When a developer tries to move an application architecture from an account-based chain to an eUTXO chain such as Cardano, he is faced with problems similar to those reported by the developer concerned.

Cardano’s approach to concurrency actually offers higher throughput along with lower costs, transparency of upfront fees, and no fees or losses from ADA if a transaction fails. “

This is where you will find all of the documentation developers need to understand and properly use these different approaches.

Smart contracts now live, what’s next?

There have been arguments that the adoption of Cardano’s smart contracts features wasn’t overwhelming. Still, Hoskinson said:

Within 24 hours, over 100 smart contracts were executed in the network on the platform and the first decentralized application has already been made available.

As already mentioned, the team will work towards the further introduction of the protocol and its native cryptocurrency – ADA – in the future.

Looking at the official roadmap, the next era in Cardano’s development is Basho, and it’s all about scaling. It is an era of “optimizing, improving the scalability and interoperability of the network”.

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