Back in August, Cardano announced it had successfully completed an upgrade that would allow the creation and execution of smart contracts on the public blockchain. However they were not ready for use. Now it has successfully completed its Alonso hard fork, its smart contracts are functional. In its announcement, Cardano said: “This is where the mission truly begins as we — the whole community — start delivering on the vision we have all been working towards for so long. Building a decentralized system that extends economic identity and opportunity to everyone, everywhere.” For those of you who may not be aware, Cardano is a public blockchain that was founded by Ethereum co-founder Charles Hoskinson and developed by his research firm IOHK. It has claimed that it will rival Ethereum’s dominance in hosting DeFi applications, but the project has been criticised for failing to deliver smart contract functionality until now despite launching in September 2017.
The Alonso hard fork uses the Plutus scripts to write Cardano’s smart contracts, which the team describes as “a purpose-built smart contract development language and execution platform using the functional programming language Haskell.”
Still, the team asks the Cardano community to not immediately have too high expectations following the completion of Alonso, saying: “There are high expectations resting on this upgrade. Some unreasonably so. Cardano watchers may be expecting a sophisticated ecosystem of consumer-ready DApps available immediately after the upgrade. Expectations need to be managed here.”
Referring to the length of time it has taken Cardano to launch its smart contracts, Dominic Williams from Internet Computer, a rival platform to Cardano, commented, “It amazes me that this chain had been in the market for 2 years, and is only just adding support for smart contracts, and people are happy with this progress.”
Ethereum supporters were also critical of the delays. Anthony Sassano said on Twitter: “Seriously 6 years of “peer-reviewed” research and a $90bil+ market cap later and the first dapp on Cardano can’t even do concurrent transaction processing (aka the very thing you need for DeFi).”
Whilst many may think Cardano has been too slow, others have clearly been supporting it, as the price of ADA, Cardano’s native token, rallied by 192% from a local low of $1.06 in late July to reach $3.10 on 3rd Sept. according to CoinGecko, although its price has slipped slightly in the last week, as has that of many other altcoins, to a range between roughly $2.30 and $2.80.