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2021 has been one of the greatest years in cryptocurrency and blockchain so far. Amid all the headlines about Bitcoin prices and NFTs, blockchain platforms also had a moment in the sun. Platform tokens are now dominating the top of the crypto rankings thanks to a string of development news propelling adoption and pricing. Cardano is still the leader among these.
The project was one of the most eagerly awaited in the blockchain space. Cardano was first launched in 2017 and is following an ambitious, multi-year run Timetable designed to expand the functionality of the platform over time.
In the summer of 2020, the project reached a major milestone when it ushered in the “Shelley” era of its roadmap, which focused on decentralization through the Ouroboros proof-of-stake consensus protocol. Since its inception, Cardano has proven to be one of the most popular staking platforms with over 70% Locked the entire ADA supply and secured the network at the time of writing.
After more than a year of successful network operation, Cardano achieved another major breakthrough in September of this year than it underwent the Alonzo hard fork. The update was the first time that developers could program their own smart contracts and was the most important milestone in the âGoguenâ era of the Cardano roadmap.
Even before Alonzo came into effect, there was already 200 smart contracts time-locked and waiting to start operating on the platform. The projects that anticipated the launch included the SingularityNET AI marketplace and the Cardax decentralized exchange.
The next steps towards scalability
The next major development phase is called “Basho” and will focus on scaling. However, one thing that Cardano’s developer IOHK has proven to be good at is parallel building. Despite launching a year apart, IOHK was working on Shelley and Goguen at the same time. In addition to the other new features, work was also carried out on a Layer 2 scalability solution.
The solution, called Hydra, was revealed in a September blog post and is currently still being tested. It uses off-chain ledger siblings called Heads, which can handle native assets, NFTs, and Cardanos Plutus scripting. While it’s still in its early stages, Hydra is a positive indicator of future progress on the platform’s roadmap.
However, before scalability, Cardano will move into the next phase of the smart contract development era called Babbage. Instead of further “Big Bang” updates, this phase includes minor improvements to optimize performance after the Alonzo upgrade. For example, there will be an update to the Plutus scripting language, which enables a higher transaction volume per block.
A stablecoin hub for a burgeoning DeFi ecosystem
In the meantime, with the Cardano community waiting for more news on platform updates, it is likely that developments and introductory news will take center stage.
A thriving DeFi ecosystem is the beating heart of all major blockchain platforms in 2021, and Cardano is no exception. It has attracted an influx of DeFi developers, including the stablecoin hub Ardana, which should launch its token before the end of the year.
The Ardana platform comprises several elements. It will launch dUSD, the only secured, decentralized, soft-pegged stablecoin available on the Cardano network. It will also operate Danaswap, a highly capital efficient, automated market maker exchange for stable multi-asset pools.
Ardana’s two main products can be compared to the role Maker’s DAI and Curve Finance play in the Ethereum DeFi ecosystem. Ardana was founded knowing that Cardano’s future growth as a platform requires a thriving DeFi scene with stable assets forming the backbone. It is backed by senior VCs including Three Arrows Capital and iAngels.
In addition to the DeFi players, many other developments are taking place on Cardano now that smart contracts are live. For example, Blockadeemia is a company-oriented, decentralized information system for issuing and checking the authenticity of all types of documentation.
It enables publishers to create and assign documents such as diplomas, certificates, contracts, proof of ownership, insurance policies, government documents, source code, video and music files, and all other types of documentation. Each file is logged in the Cardano blockchain as a public, unchangeable entry with its own time stamp.
Blockademia provides an accessible web interface and mobile app for issuing and reviewing documents, as well as a decentralized system that provides document issuers with a credibility rating. The platform runs on the ACI token, which will be available via an initial offer in the coming weeks.
In addition to these upcoming market launches, you can expect a lot more news from the Cardano community in the coming months, covering segments such as wallets, NFTS and a whole range of developer tools.
Cardano has faced intense competition in the blockchain platform arena over the years, but never more than in 2021. Amid competition from Solana, Polkadot, Avalanche and others, the platform has risen in terms of development, adoption and the ADA- Token price. With many more activities on its roadmap, Cardano has every chance of staying one step ahead of the competition.