The third cryptocurrency in the world as of writing, Cardano with almost $40 billion in market cap, put the cat among the canaries this February when the blockchain’s native token ADA gained almost 245% during a bullish month across the board for cryptocurrencies.
Surely, it was not the only Ethereum competitor that rose – for example, the ATOM token performed well, too. And yet, with its latest fork “Mary”, Cardano can finally oppose the play of the opponent as was promised during its multi-billion dollar initial coin offering splurge.
Let’s take a look at this blockchain again and see if it now has all the trumps in hand to outperform Ethereum.
What is Cardano?
Cardano started in 2015 when Charles Hoskinson left Ethereum. A Colorado-based technology entrepreneur and mathematician, he thought that the smart-contract platform should have stayed non-profit and decided to develop a separate idea of his own from scratch.
He was thinking of a platform free from financial middlemen, more inclusive and sustainable than Ethereum.
Fast forward two years, and Cardano accumulated $62 million during the ICO presenting to the public their proof-of-stake Ouroboros protocol. The protocol was developed on the basis of academic research, offered a mathematically-proven level of security and two layers, which is not common for other popular blockchains.
Cardano Settlement Layer (CSL) is where peer-to-peer transactions are facilitated, such as the transfer of tokens between users.
Cardano Computational Layer (CCL) maintains the chain’s security, acts as ground zero to deploy smart contracts and also serves as a framework to ensure regulatory compliance with various jurisdictions.
In general, Cardano’s roadmap consists of a few different forks: Byron (completed successfully), Shelley, Mary (hard fork initiated in March 2021), Goguen, Basho and Voltaire. Rumor has it that when Goguen is entered, DeFi on top of Cardano will explode – and this is probably the punch line of the whole story. Ultimately, it’s all about DeFi, and whatever project manages to oppose Ethereum earlier than the other ones, might catch the worm.
Where is Cardano in 2021?
Speaking the Cardano language, we’re now in the Shelley epoche – stay with us, and you’ll see what it means. In the beginning of March, 2021, the team behind Cardano announced a new move: they soft-forked to “Mary”, a transitional phase, named after Mary Shelley, the author of “Frankenstein”.
Such an interesting name for the soft fork is a nod towards the platform’s objective to become fully autonomous and allow for better network participation among the community – indeed, much like a poor gothic creature who managed to come to an autonomous existence after a series of dreadful experiments.
In a video update previewing Mary, Charles Hoskinson called the move “historic” and said that for node operators, the transition should be fairly simple. They just need to update their software and everything should work well. “We’ve been testing it for almost a month, and the test looks good. Exchanges are happy,” he said in the video.
With this fork, Cardano is getting closer to the completion of the Shelley epoche and entering the Goguen period. As their website states, “where the Shelley era decentralizes the core of the system, Goguen adds the ability to build decentralized applications (DApps) on Cardano’s solid foundation of peer-reviewed research and high-assurance development.”
This is where, after years of development, Cardano can finally start playing on a level field against its old opponent, Ethereum.
But will it? Time will tell.
For now we only know that both Ethereum 2.0 and Cardano in its Goguen phase will some time soon give us smart-contract platforms with proof-of-stake protocols – and really, such a competition will only make this future more interesting.