It’s alive! Cardano’s blockchain has undergone a momentous transformation.
- Announced Wednesday, the open-source smart-contract platform designed to challenge Ethereum's lead position hard forked from the centralized Byron network into the decentralized Shelley network.
- The team behind Cardano's transformation is blockchain research and development startup IOHK.
- IOHK's CEO Charles Hoskinson said Cardano has been carefully developed over five years and "hundreds" of assets are expected to be running on the blockchain in a year's time.
- According to a press release, Shelley will increase "security and robustness," while enabling more blockchain use cases.
- The upgrade will utilize the Ouroboros consensus algorithm – a proof-of-stake (PoS) protocol leveraging cryptography, combinatorics and mathematical game theory.
- By implementing Shelley on Cardano's mainnet, staking pools will now be able to register on the chain visible to token holders, enabling them to delegate to pools immediately once registered.
- The PoS delegation process lets users holding Cardano's native ADA token commit their tokens to a pool for a share of rewards, which the company said will incentivize the network to run "accurately."
- Cardano will reach consensus equilibrium once 1,000 stake pools have been established, 485 of which are currently live.
- IOHK said Shelley represents a "first step" in a series of enhancements to the network over the coming months with expectations that its Project Catalyst will launch by year's end.
- Catalyst will introduce a governance model enabling the Cardano community to cast votes on the direction of the blockchain, including software updates, technical improvements and the long-term future of the network.