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Cardano’s Alonzo hard fork has its detractors.
Cardano will bring in smart contracts at 21:44:51 UTC tonight by implementing the Alonzo hard fork. However, other decentralised applications have been delayed due to design issues, and Alonzo may only go live with a “few toy smart contracts” designed by Cardano’s founder.
Smart contracts, which are self-executing pieces of computer code, serve as the foundation for decentralised services such as decentralised exchanges and non-custodial lending apps. Alonzo pits Cardano against other smart contract-enabled blockchains. namely Ethereum, which introduced them in 2015.
The expectation for Alonzo drove the price of Cardano (ADA) to an all-time high of $3.09 earlier this month, when Cardano’s developer, IOHK, launched Alonzo’s testnet on September 2. However, the fee was later reduced to $2.60 due to complaints that the upgrade had difficulty processing concurrent transactions.
According to Ethereum investor Anthony Sassano, the first Cardano dApp, a multipool exchange called Minswap, shut down shortly after it began because it struggled to handle numerous transactions at once—“the same thing you need for DeFi.”
IOHK tweeted that these criticisms are “speculation (and let’s face it, outright FUD and misinformation)” before saying that the way Cardano handles unspent transactions affords “greater security” and “fee predictability.”
Cardano fans are hoping for another rally this evening, and Cardano founder (and Ethereum co-founder) Charles Hoskinson promised that Alonzo will usher in “a new Era of Cardano.”
Despite this, IOHK was unable to solve its difficulties with a single twitter thread. Due to the difficulties, it appears unlikely that Alonzo will arrive with any game-changing applications. Several decentralised exchanges have stated that they will delay their launch until concrete solutions to the transaction bottleneck are identified.
Cardano’s public image has relied significantly on its claim of thorough technical study and testing since its inception in 2015. Upgrades to the protocol are peer-reviewed by a group of academics.
A troubled launch could be taken as a major step back. In a YouTube stream on Wednesday, Hoskinson confirmed that “a few toy smart contracts” that IOHK had developed would go live on day one.
With a market cap of $83 billion, Cardano’s prominence is nothing to sniff at. But it could be at least another few months before it’s poised to become anything close to an Ethereum killer.