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Cardano had a strong year in 2021, with the token increasing by more than 1200 percent from its 1 January price at one point before corrections came in. In reality, at the time of writing, ADA was the fifth-largest cryptocurrency in the world, with a market valuation of more than $48 billion.
What factors have led to the cryptocurrency skyrocketing as much as it has on the price charts? Sure, the magnitude of Bitcoin’s bullishness between January and May undoubtedly helped, but perhaps what was most important for Cardano was the speed with which it developed during the last several months.
For example, in March, the network experienced the Mary hard fork, which added native multi-asset functionality to the Cardano ecosystem. Since then, Cardano has been working towards its next, highly awaited hard fork event, Alonzo, which is intended to finally allow developers to write smart contracts on Cardano.
In fact, just a few days ago, the first-ever Plutus smart contract went live on the testnet. This is progress, something alluded to by Cardano creator Charles Hoskinson on a recent podcast after he categorically promised that,
“We’ll be there in the next 90 days.”
Hoskinson’s use of language here is intriguing, particularly because it is more precise and decisive than in the past, with the creator previously referring to Alonzo only in temporal terms, rather as deadline ones.
However, there is cause to be optimistic, with the IOHK executive also providing an update on where things are on the same podcast with Lex Fridman. Hoskinson claims that
“Right now, we are multi-asset so, you can do meta-data and issue tokens on Cardano. But, you’d have limited programmability on-chain. Alonzo adds that programmability. We already have most of the foundations of the extended UTXO model ready.”
Cardano’s inventor also stated that, while the testing phase is still underway and will continue for some time as the ecosystem transitions from Blue to White to Purple, the success of Alonzo Blue’s early phases indicates that the forthcoming hard fork is still on schedule.
What hurdles may Cardano face now that it is full steam ahead towards smart contract programmability?
According to Hoskinson,
“The problem is not everything is under our control. There are over 100 exchanges that have listed Cardano, lots of wallet infrastructure, and different constituencies. So, it’s less of a technological problem now and is more of a coordination problem.”
Finally, using Ethereum’s Buterin as an example of how he was “unfairly” attacked for the DAO breach, Hoskinson expressed his greatest concern about being evaluated on the type of apps created on the platform rather than the platform itself.
In this regard, it is worth mentioning that Cardano is trying to define and implement standards to verify smart contracts on the platform, standards that would allow “some form of insurance baked into applications” in an effort to fix the issue.