Speaking to the Crypto AM magazine, Cardano’s creator discusses growth, expectation and fulfilling long-term potential…
Nearly every cryptocurrency in circulation can lay a claim to 2021 being a big year, but few enjoyed the kind of limelight and success that came Cardano’s way.
Not only did its native ADA token reach a remarkable all-time high of $3.10 in September, but its Alonzo had fork was executed to a fanfare of achievement that laid the groundwork for a thriving environment of dApps and NFTs.
Many project leaders would still be dining out on that level of success well into the following year, but for those who work with or know Cardano’s founder Charles Hoskinson it was always anticipated no one would be resting on their laurels.
Much like a chess grandmaster, the 34-year-old entrepreneur was already thinking three or four moves ahead.
Even before the Champagne had lost its fizz as the Alonzo hard fork was toasted, his mind was already filled with Cardano’s next series of improvements that would be implemented for 2022.
“The year was all about adoption, creating a solution which is better, faster, cheaper, building the dApp ecosystem and improving the dApp experience,” he says.
“Next year it’s governance. This doesn’t mean we’ll stop working on building a better, faster and cheaper blockchain, but each year has a theme and 2022 is the year of governance.”
Plenty of ADA users and Cardano followers would be hard-pressed to pick their stand-out moment of 2021, but Hoskinson has no doubts.
“The Alonzo hard fork for sure,” he swiftly answers.
“This update brought the extended UTXO model, which was particularly exciting. It combines Bitcoin’s UTXO model with Ethereum’s ability to handle smart contracts into its Extended UTXO (EUTXO) accounting model, offering increased scalability, while maintaining security.
“It takes the reliability of first generation blockchains and adds programmability.
“And the work we’ve put in is showing – we’ve got a rapidly growing dApp and vibrant NFT ecosystem, with currently over 1,000 projects building on Cardano.”
With such clear and defined focus on every detail and aspect behind the inner workings of the four-year-old blockchain, it will come as no surprise to learn Hoskinson has already weighed up 2022’s defining moment.
“It’s always difficult to define one key moment but the Vasil hard fork is pretty significant,” he says.
“Named after a very dear friend of mine – a Bulgarian mathematician Vasil Dabov, who passed away recently – the Vasil hard fork brings numerous upgrades to network capacity and Cardano’s smart contract programming language Plutus, which enables Cardano decentralised application (dApp) development.
“So on the one hand you’re going to have a big throughput increase. On the other hand, you are going to have new ways of developing Cardano contracts that don’t require high throughput.”
Dabov was a colourful character – a warm-hearted grandfather who was massively popular in Cardano’s ranks.
The gifted mathematician took joy from teaching others about his passions with an infectious enthusiasm.
Of his life’s passions, two aspects in particular stood out – ginkgo biloba and blockchain.
He was single-handedly responsible for planting more than 10,000 of the ancient Chinese-native trees, but he also cared deeply for blockchain – a technology he both taught and evangelised.
To see his name emblazoned across the company’s latest upgrade is testament not only to how much he was valued, but also to the warmth of the ‘Cardano family’.
Like any family, though, things aren’t always perfect.
Cardano’s following is massive. Its community comes with a fervour more akin to something between the supporters of a football club and the followers of a religion.
There’s a fickle element to that crowd too. While the chants of support are the more vociferous, there are some naysayers who have been quick to air their frustration that the price of ADA hasn’t got more zeros on the end of it.
For a few, it seems almost incomprehensible to think anything other than ADA having some kind of right, or indeed destiny, to be worth thousands of dollars per token.
Measured and patient
It’s a viewpoint Hoskinson is confronted by on a repeated basis. But, as ever, his response is measured and patient.
“The most effective way for Cardano to ultimately establish its worth is by its utility and how much it helps people,” he stresses.
“What we’re focused on is the growth of our on-chain metrics such as transaction volume, which is still increasing month on month, so it’s looking incredibly positive.”
He’s also no stranger to repeating messages on where Cardano is headed. Several times in the past the statement has been aired that work being done to achieve the goals he wants to reach with the blockchain is “about the tech – not making money”.
It’s a message that will often be received with a cacophony of applause, but it’s also a line that doesn’t resonate with everyone, particularly those who misinterpret the calm and measured approach as something, through their eyes, that can be viewed as slow and laborious.
Cryptocurrency in general is a hotbed of rapid fixes and a thirst for fortune that can only be satisfied with huge gains drenched in profit.
Those consumed by a gluttonous need for making fast gains and vast fortunes are, no matter what the digital asset, certain to whip up an undercurrent of frustration.
It’s a sentiment that has clung to Cardano’s coattails since the moment it found itself at the top table of cryptocurrency, dining alongside the high-value nobility of Bitcoin and Ethereum which command prices far in excess of ADA.
For each one of the doubters, Hoskinson openly shares his navigation notes on where’s he’s taking Cardano.
“We have always pursued a defined, clearly-staged roadmap to deliver on Cardano’s capability and fulfil its long-term potential,” he explains.
“In terms of scaling that’s been no different. We’ve presented an 11 point plan focused on block size increase and pipelining amongst other things.”