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Waiting for Alonzo: Cardano smart contracts creep toward full launch

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The Cardano network is in the watershed phase of its network development and upgrades. The ongoing phase of the protocol’s roadmap is the Goguen phase, bringing smart contracts to the network. This is the third phase of the roadmap after Byron and Shelley. The Goguen phase was split into three stages, Allegra, Mary and Alonzo.

The Allegra update went live on December 16 last year, and the Mary update was deployed on the mainnet on March 1 earlier this year. This leaves the Alonzo upgrade, which was further split into three different phases, named Blue, White and Purple. While the final deployment of the Alonzo upgrade on the mainnet was planned to be in August 2021, there seems to be a delay in the phase’s release, as Alonzo is still in the testnet part of its progress.

Since Alonzo brings the much-awaited smart contract functionality to the network, the community has been eager to see them in action, as it entails the enabling of decentralized applications (DApps) on the blockchain.

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On July 15, Input Output HK (IOHK) announced on Twitter that their Alonzo testnet has hard forked from the Alonzo Blue to the Alonzo White node, allowing for the expansion of their smart contract functionality on the platform. Although Alonzo Blue offered smart contracts, its availability was only limited to a set of insiders. Alonzo White now allows operators of stake pools, and network developers and 500 validators will be able to test this functionality going forward. The Alonzo White testnet is scheduled to run for a period of two to four weeks before transitioning to the final stage of the Alonzo update, Alonzo Purple.

Cardano’s network is in the third phase of its development, known as the Goguen Update, named after American scientist Joseph Amadee Goguen. This update integrates smart contracts into the network, allowing for the creation of DApps. In phases one and two, the network has gone through the Byron and Shelley upgrades which focused on the establishment of the network and its decentralization, respectively.

After completing the Goguen phase, which was initially supposed to be finalized in August 2021, the blockchain will go through phases four and five of the project’s roadmap, named Basho and Voltaire. Basho will improve the scalability and interoperability of the network, while Voltaire promises to make the network “truly decentralized” with the transfer of the entire governance mechanism to network participants, and will no longer be under IOHK’s management.

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Optimistic prediction fails

Despite a well-structured roadmap and phase updates that the network promised, some questions are being raised on its current utility. Cardano founder, Charles Hoskinson, had predicted on July 27, 2020, that in a year’s time there would be hundreds of assets running on Cardano, along with thousands of DApps and “tons of interesting projects.”

In the following year, the crowd has called out this optimistic prediction, pointing out the network is nowhere close to the levels of utility that Hoskinson predicted a year ago. Meanwhile, many members of the Cardano community defended the network, saying that the statement made by Hoskinson was just a prediction and not a promise. Hoskinson himself responded to the critics, saying that “There are thousands of assets on Cardano.”

He also released a YouTube video on July 8, claiming that the project is progressing in line with the framework of the defined roadmap and that more than $10 million of nonfungible tokens (NFTs) have been sold throughout the network. He added that once Alonzo White is deployed on the mainnet, developers will have the ability to launch DApps and NFTs on the network. Ben Armstrong, youtuber and creator of BitBoyCrypto.com, told Cointelegraph:

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“The Cardano team hasn’t backed away from their smart contract launch period starting in September. Considering how well the Alonzo White hard fork has gone, I don’t expect any further delays. That said, Cardano’s methodical approach means they’ll push a deadline before the possibility of taking a step back on a bad launch.”

Marie Tatibouet, chief marketing officer of Gate.io, a cryptocurrency exchange, told Cointelegraph that the roadmap is still intact. About the questions raised on the utility aspect of the Cardano network, Tatibouet opined that since the Alonzo upgrades’ main proposition in the Goguen phase consists of the implementation of smart contracts on the network, it can’t be judged on its lack of utility until smart contracts have been completely integrated.

Armstrong spoke further on the dilemma of smart contracts holding up the network’s growth, saying, “It’s a chicken and egg situation. You need smart contracts to really get DApp development going, but you also need killer DApps to draw more development to the space. There are a lot of DApps that are on Ethereum and waiting in the wings for Cardano.”

He even mentioned that since blockchain developers are in very high demand at the moment, poaching has become a huge problem. “When ICP hit Coinbase this year, Charles was open about how DFinity poached several of his top engineers. I imagine that has caused some delays in Cardano-specific development across the industry.”

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Nearly 72% of all ADA is staked

At its current state, the low utility of the Cardano network might be impacting one important aspect: The staking of its native token, ADA. According to data, nearly 72% of all ADA tokens are staked on the network, amounting to around $30 billion out of a roughly $42 billion market capitalization. This includes 2,745 active pools and a total of nearly 716,000 staked addresses.

Tatibouet spoke about the current utility of ADA tokens themselves, saying: “As of now, the two main functions of the ADA tokens are staking and governance. In that regard, it is a very good sign that so many holders have faith in the network and have staked their tokens in the ecosystem.”

She also added that it’s important to remember that staking ADA is way more flexible than the usual staking mechanisms of other protocols. It allows stakers to access their tokens at any time that they choose since the tokens aren’t completely locked away from the staker, thus adding to the convenience of staking on the network. Armstrong opined further on the integration of smart contracts that will impact the high proportion of staking in the network, explaining why the tokens are being staked:

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“They are hodling onto their stack of ADA, not just to use it for gains down the road but also to have a say in the eventual governance coming in Voltaire. Even with the current state of smart contracts, there are already NFTs you can buy and games to play. But once ADA asserts itself in smart contracts, you’re going to see that staking figure drop significantly.”

Regarding the potential launch of DApps on Cardano after the implementation of smart contracts, Cardano also attempts to propose real-life utility through its network. Earlier in April, IOHK partnered with the Ethiopian government in a bid to revamp the country’s education system by leveraging Cardano’s blockchain technology.

in July, Grayscale added ADA to its Digital Large Cap (GDLC), making it the third-largest component of the fund’s basket after Bitcoin (BTC) and Ethereum (ETH). Grayscale is seen as a benchmark of institutional interest in the cryptocurrency markets. Duc Luu, executive chairman at Spores Network, an NFT and decentralized finance marketplace based on Cardano, told Cointelegraph:

“Cardano promises the possibility of greener blockchain footprint, lower gas fees and higher throughput which we believe makes it a prominent venue for NFTs, as well as DeFi mainstream adoption, which are the two areas that institutional investors are very much interested in.”

While discussing the timing of real-time utility coming into the network, Luu further mentioned that he believes it will happen soon, adding: “Cool functions like ERC-20 converter would allow projects to deploy quickly from ETH to ADA. There are many projects like us eagerly waiting in the background for the Cardano smart contract launch.” He also anticipates that in six months from the launch of smart contracts on the network, the Cardano ecosystem will see a drastic change.

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However, it is important for the Alonzo network upgrade to be on schedule on the mainnet, as it’s highly anticipated in the community. Other upcoming blockchains like Binance Smart Chain (BSC) are growing at a rapid pace, which could lead to some of the protocols to build on it instead.

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The World Comes Together on Cardano Summit 2021 from Sydney to Vancouver

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Cardano community have to state that from Sydney to Vancouver, via Perth – we’re bringing the world together around Cardano for the Summit.

Bringing the Cardano Summit 2021 to VANCOUVER! Celebrate discussing blockchain capabilities and mingling with fellow Cardano Community members.

Regional promotions and calls are viral everywhere on Twitter pages and social media networks:

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Calling all Perth based Cardanians.  We’re hosting the #Cardano Summit Perth event this Sunday, 26 Sep from 2pm-9pm!

Who’s in Johannesburg? Have you registered for the Cardano Summit 2021? Only a few days to go and only a few spots available – sign-up now to save a seat.

Join the Cardano Summit 2021in Kumasi to learn about the emerging cryptocurrency revolution, blockchain technology and digital finance.

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If you’re in or near Accra, Ghana, register for the event below to be part of the Cardano Summit 2021 – the biggest Cardano event ever.

Great lineup of speakers for the Cardano Summit India. SPOs, Projects, DApps, community engagement activities and more.

Cardano Summit 2021 Lagos Nigeria will be held on September 26, 2021. At Eko Hotel and Suites there will be free T-Shirts, Hoodies, and water bottles for early attendees. Stay tuned for further updates or call.

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It’s going to be the BIGGEST, BADDEST Cardano event there ever was! 40 Community-led events 32 Countries, 60 Community hosts, and 7 Main summit events.

For those who are new, Cardano is an excellent blockchain technology that serves as the face of a secure and sustainable blockchain facilitating ground-breaking use cases.

Cardano focuses on tackling issues faced during blockchain adoption on a large scale. Cardano seeks to reign issues like scalability, interoperability, and sustainability through the development of design principles and engineering best practices.

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The world comes together on Cardano.  One week from now, IOHK and Cardano teams and the global community will gather for the biggest blockchain event ever for a mix of virtual and live events from around the world.

Initially Cardano was able to deal with 10 transactions per second.  However with Hydra Layer 2 scaling arrangement Cardano will be able to handle more than 1,000,000 transactions per second.

Ouroboros a chain-based PoS protocol relies on randomly chosen leaders to approve blocks. Just like other blockchains, the node that adds the next block receives a reward for its efforts.

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Cardano is energy efficient, Cardano: 6-gigawatt hours; Bitcoin: 130 terawatt-hours; Ethereum: 50 terawatt-hours.

Community response:  Pump Cardano. I am so excited about it.

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Following the latest ‘non-event,’ what next on the price front for Cardano

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It has been almost two weeks since Alonzo went live on Cardano’s network. The narrative before the hard fork was largely conformist, one that proclaimed ADA’s price would soon surge to new heights after its release.

The hard fork, however, turned out to be a ‘non-event‘ and did not impact the token’s price much. In fact, in the days that followed the release, ADA’s price dropped to as low as $1.98. Ergo, one may argue that ADA, just like the market’s other tokens, became a victim of the pessimistic broader market trend.

Well, the same holds true to a certain extent, particularly because ADA’s dependency on the market’s other cryptos has increased over the last couple of weeks. In fact, it now shares a correlation of 0.78 and 0.74 with Bitcoin and Ethereum, respectively.

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Apart from this, the deteriorating state of on-chain metrics has created a cascading effect on the alt’s price. So, unless and until the same improves, a price trend reversal seems to be out of the question.

State of the network

Well, inspecting the state of the network would give us a fair idea about the direction in which Cardano is heading. As per data from CardanoScan, the transaction count on the network has been quite stagnant over the last couple of days, despite crossing 111k on 17 September.

This, quite obviously, indicates that not many people have been using Cardano’s network of late.

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Source: cardanoscan.io

What’s more, the average transfer value too has been spending more time towards the lows of late. Notably, the same witnessed a massive spike during the initial few days of September but subjected itself to a freefall right after that. The active address ratio as well, for that matter, has been on the decline. The same fell from 9.17% to 2.45% over the period between 7 to 24 September.

By and large, this implies that users who have been active are merely trying and testing the network at this stage. One can argue then that the Cardano market is devoid of some solid momentum at the moment.

However, there’s a silver lining to this scenario too.

Source: Messari

All’s not lost

As far as Q4 is concerned, a host of launches are already lined up for Cardano. The introduction of Cardax DEX would allow users to trade ADA for other native tokens. Notably, the exchange would have its own utility token – CDX. Further, GREED is also set to launch as one of the blockchain’s first tokens.

Additionally, right from Liqwid, an open-source and non-custodial liquidity protocol, to SingularityNET, a platform that lets users create and monetize AI services at scale, several noteworthy projects are set to make use of Cardano’s ecosystem in the coming weeks. In effect, a new set of users would be using the blockchain.

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Thus, unless and until Cardano’s adoption hastens up, a prominent trend reversal seems to be unlikely. In effect, only if the aforementioned future events actually end up contributing to the network’s growth, it would make sense to anticipate a direct impact on the altcoin’s price.

Thus, it’d be interesting to see if the ‘non-event’ tradition continues or Cardano successfully frees itself from the shackles of the same.

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Cardano Partners with Chainlink to Integrate Oracles for Advanced Smart Contracts

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Cardano joins forces with Chainlink to provide extra support for developers building smart contracts by integrating oracles

The Cardano team has just published a blog post, announcing a partnership with Chainlink that will result in integrating Chainlink’s oracles. These will help developers build smart contracts for Cardano DeFi apps.

The collaboration was announced during the Cardano Summit today, on September 25.

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Cardano teams up with Chainlink

Chainlink’s oracle networks supply data to blockchain networks and allow smart contracts to work with results of elections, sports statistics, crypto rates, etc. They can also operate weather data (Chainlink is now working with some fintech companies that are bringing parametric insurance to South Africa) and other types of data as well.

Chainlink oracles help run hybrid smart contracts on any DLT network. Presently, Chainlink secures billions of USD in DeFi apps, gaming apps, platforms related to insurance and other top industries.

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Chainlink to power Cardano smart contracts

The integration of these oracles in the Cardano DLT will allow dev teams to supply institutional-grade data provided by Chainlink into their smart contracts. The oracles will support prediction apps that deal with sports data, weather data necessary for parametric insurance apps; they will be applied in the sphere of gaming and digital collectibles, like NFTs, etc, via multiple partnerships.

Founder of IOHK Charles Hoskinson stated that Chainlink oracles are necessary for advanced smart contracts and they will provide real-world data to the Cardano blockchain. He emphasized that Cardano intends to provide developers with best tools for creating solutions that will be of actual use.

Hoskinson believes that Chainlink oracle integration will also provide a perfect foundation for the DeFi ecosystem on Cardano.

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