My crypto venture started in February 2021 after being introduced to two videos: Charles Hoskinson’s response to J.K Rowling's tweet questioning ‘What is the point of Bitcoin?’ and the famous whiteboard video detailing Cardano as a 3rd generation blockchain. Following this, and conducting further research, I was engulfed by the vision of Cardano and overwhelmed by its accommodating ecosystem. I fell down the endless rabbit hole, FOMO’ing in hard. The point at which I entered the market was after Bitcoin had rallied and both full decentralisation and smart contracts were on the horizon for Cardano. Influencers on social media platforms were fuelling hype as Bitcoin was at an all time high and climbing, and Cardano with its years of development was on the cusp of more important milestones in line with its roadmap.
Along the way, I learned one of the golden rules for investing: DO NOT FOMO IN! In the case of Cardano however, I don’t regret it one bit! This FOMO’ing led me to reap many ISPO rewards, a true innovation for the network. Regardless of market price over the latter part of 2021 and Q1 of 2022, my optimism for Cardano dwarfs anything else. Price is a lagging metric and argued by many that, while crypto is still in its infancy, it can be easily and heavily manipulated. This coupled with general risk of market sentiment from global events has, in my opinion, been the reason that crypto has been suffering. The true innovation of many crypto projects will eventually push confidence back up to heightened levels. Measuring a project solely by the metric of price is short-sighted and hinders one’s insight into a project's innovation and future direction. If a project has true value, then market price will eventually reflect this regardless of current market sentiment.
Cardano, founded by Charles Hoskinson in 2015, launched its token ADA in Q4 of 2017. Cardano’s roadmap was to follow a development timeline divided into 5 key stages referred to as ‘eras’ named after influential academics:
- The ‘Byron’ era, where development was foundational
- The ‘Shelley’ era, concentrated its development around decentralisation
- The ‘Goguen’ era, Smart Contracts
- The ‘Basho’ era, Scaling
- The ‘Voltaire’ era, Governance
Key upgrades to enhance the network was a mandate for each Era. As we review the Goguen era, let us reflect back upon some of Cardano’s progress and innovative milestones.
Cardano Milestones Before Smart Contracts
July 2020 - Shelley Hard Fork - Implementation of ‘Proof of Stake’. A revolutionary first-of-its-kind Proof Of Stake (POS) consensus which governs the laws and parameters of the blockchain. Some benefits of POS include security, reduced centralisation, energy efficiency, and cheap transaction costs. Delegators of ADA could earn ADA risk-free in a highly secure way, having full control of their assets with no lock-up period. This hard fork, thanks to Cardano’s ingenious hard fork combinator, effortlessly transisted the network without any interruption or restart, which is normally the case with other blockchains. This combinator will continue to function on Cardano throughout all of its major upgrades without interruption to the network.
April 2021 - Cardano 360 Africa Special - Cardano teamed up with the Ministry of Education in Ethiopia to create a blockchain-based national ID and recording system in the country. 5 million students will receive Cardano blockchain-based IDs, which will allow the authorities to track every student’s academic performance with 750,000 teachers having access to the system. Another deal in Tanzania, in conjunction with World Mobile is set to provide mobile internet access to the nation with plans to spread across the continent.
July 2021 - MELD - First ever ISPO model over a 6 month period. MELD is the first DeFi, non-custodial, banking protocol where you can securely lend & borrow both crypto and fiat currencies with ease and stake your MELD tokens for APY. The ISPO model was a staggering success at launch and within the first 24 hours, delegators had delegated ADA to the value of $100 million. Within five days this value doubled to $200 million peaking at $1 billion during its term with 40,000 participants.
On September 12 at 21:44:51 UTC, Epoch 290, Cardano conducted its highly anticipated Alonzo Hard Fork for smart contract functionality marking the start of the Goguen era.
Cardano Milestones After Smart Contracts
Sep 2021 - Cardano Summit - Dubbed ‘The Biggest Blockchain Event Ever”. A two day virtual event showcasing the latest in blockchain innovation from Cardano and IOHK. 70 hours of content was streamed with 208 speakers featured in 137 sessions. The summit was also physically hosted across 3 continents at 6 event locations: London, Miami, Berlin, Cape Town, Wyoming and New York. Incredible partnerships were announced including:
- Veritree, an environmentally dedicated solution that leverages blockchain technology to provide planting organisations with a management platform. A crowdfunding project enabled by Veritree and built on Cardano saw the funding for 1 million trees raised as of Jan 2022, with the aim to plant trees to combat deforestation and restore local land and ecosystems.
- Rival, is a platform solution that empowers companies and organisations to leverage the popularity of gaming and esports to acquire new customers, drive engagement, build a loyal community around their brands and create new revenue streams. Its partnership with Cardano marks its entry into blockchain technology and is considered part of its evolution strategy with Cardano to facilitate its NFT campaign.
- DISH - Cardano partners with Fortune 250 telecoms company DISH Network and Boost Mobile bringing the world of global telecoms and the blockchain space together, being the first collaboration of its kind. Cardano announces its plans for a digital ID solution for Dish's multimillion user base, unlocking significant value for this telecoms business's customers while growing adoption for Cardano.
Sep 2021 - MuesliSwap DEX - The first Decentralised exchange launched on the Cardano network using an order-book model approach. Traders are able to place buy/sell orders on the DEX. The order becomes locked in a smart contract on the blockchain and is only unlocked/fulfilled if a matching buy/sell order for specific price and quantity, meets the demand. Orders can be cancelled at any time.
Nov 2021 - DripDropz - A Cardano project that provides token dispensing services to the Cardano community. During every Cardano epoch, ADA stakers can claim native Cardano tokens from DripDropz website while remaining delegated to a community pool. Thanks to Cardano's UTXO technology, individuals can claim up to 10 different tokens per transaction. Pools hosting token drops via DripDroz, will be able to reward their delegates with additional token bonuses along with distributing outside their own pools.
Jan 2022 - Sundaeswap DEX - The first DEX with automated market maker (AMM), yield farming & instant swaps launches. SundaeSwap is essentially the Uniswap for Cardano however built using the eUTXO model. As an automated market maker, it has liquidity pools in which liquidity providers allocate two assets. These liquidity providers receive LP tokens for their contribution of liquidity who can then use them to yield-farm. The architecture of the Cardano blockchain combined with Sundaeswap's solution for implementing their DEX using the eUTXO model, creates a highly efficient transaction protocol.
These are but a few of the exciting milestones and projects surrounding Cardano that has caught my attention over several months and is but a small flavour of the amazing projects being launched. Activity on Cardano has been increasing exponentially in every metric, and it is truly difficult to keep up with everything.
Smart Contracts to Now
Immediately after the monumental and highly anticipated Alonzo Hard Fork event, the general expected sentiment surrounding the Cardano community was to have a wave of dApps entering the ecosystem and a reflected price appreciation. Projects however wanted to release a final product that was right the first time and not rushed, with a similar philosophy to how Cardano was built. The patient and more experienced among us understood that implementation and adoption takes time and as with many other projects, price appreciation preceding a big announcement often falls victim to the famous quote ‘buy the rumour, sell the news’. From January 1st, 2021, ADA rose from $0.18 peaking at $3.09 in Sep 2021, a whopping 1616.67% increase in 9 months. However, the news was sold hard and combining this with the tethered nature of Bitcoin’s gravity, ADA underwent a mid-term downtrend settling just below $1 as of Feb 2022.
A big concern arising within the community upon smart contract launch was the raised issue of concurrency. Based on Cardano’s architecture and eUTXO model, some thought that Cardano was flawed because it would only allow one transaction per block. This misconception was raised due to how interaction on the Ethereum network was conducted. The original concern surrounding this soon died down as individual projects started to propose unique solutions to this.
Although the perception of dApp adoption wasn’t immediate for Cardano upon its smart contracts release, time is relative. Ethereum launched smart contract functionality in 2015 but it wasn’t until years later that it was truly adopted. To date Cardano already has 500+ projects operating on the network in as little as 6 months. Over the last 10 months we’ve also seen a rise of ADA wallets from 1 million in May 2021 to 3.1million wallets as of Feb 2022. Furthermore, on Feb 15th 2022, according to Messari.io, the transactional volume of Cardano was circa $17.5 billion in a 24hr period, more than BTC ($9.1 billion) and Ethereum ($4.4 billion) combined, illustrating some tremendous activity and growth. The network is advancing at a breakneck speed, relative to past network adoption of any crypto project.
The general crypto market over the last few months has seen some dramatic price decreases as numerous black swan events such as the Evergrande crisis, regulatory concerns in the US and Canada regarding digital assets, Russia and the Ukraine, and China, continue to suppress the overriding crypto uptrend. In a surprise AMA on the 21st Feb 2022, Charles Hoskinson Quoted “If today a cryptocurrency announced a partnership with Microsoft or Google, and says it's going to be the Windows standard or the Android standard cryptocurrency, you would see a short term spike and within a week the gains would be gone, it would evaporate. Macro economics and geopolitical fear eat markets for breakfast”.
Regarding regulation, many see this as a threat to crypto currencies, however it is of my personal opinion that it's the ambiguous nature of regulation itself that is the real concern. Regulation is needed for mass adoption and Cardano’s architecture and roadmap is oriented for regulatory interoperability. The facilitation of regulation is therefore key in order for Cardano to work symbiotically with legacy systems and to one day replace them altogether.
As we approach 2030, Millennials, a generation belonging to the crypto era, are entering their age range of financial affluence. A financial shift may well be on the horizon as we see these affluent millennials invest in projects that resonate confidence and aligned interests in a generation accustomed to crypto.
The opinions shared within this article are those solely of the MELD Ambassador. Note that the content within should not be considered financial, legal, or tax advice. Neither the author nor MELD Labs PTE Ltd. are financial, legal or tax advisors. None of this content should be used to make any form of financial, tax, or legal decisions. Do your own research and consult professionals as needed for official policies, restrictions, and requirements in your jurisdiction.
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