Cardano (ADA), a red-hot blockchain platform ranked #3 by market capitalization (after Bitcoin and Ethereum) has finally activated its Alonzo hardfork in mainnet. Now it can host decentralized applications - but will developers come?
It’s only the beginning, and Cardano (ADA) still has a long road ahead. Though an Alonzo activation can hardly be called a textbook example of ‘sell-the-news’ event, both advocates and sceptics are uncertain about its future.
On the one hand, Cardano’s smart contracts are finally up and running, but on the other hand, it's still unclear whether the interest in building on Cardano (ADA) will be as impressive as that on Solana (SOL)] and Ethereum (ETH).
Dress rehearsal wasn’t all roses
The accurate date of Cardano’s (ADA) smart contracts release in mainnet (Sept.12, 2021) was announced two weeks prior to the update. Basic smart contract functionality was gained by Cardano’s testnet on Sep.3. Some decentralized applications (e.g. Minaswap DEX) decided to experiment with the new platform in its very first hours.
The first dapp went live on Cardano today and ADA fanboys are finally discovering that you can't peer review your way out of fundamental issues. pic.twitter.com/tYQXNcVKGNSeptember 4, 2021
But immediately after launch, their users started receiving errors while trying to provide liquidity and perform token swaps. It looked like Cardano’s testnet was able to handle one transaction per block only due to the specifics of its EUTXO model (at GetBlock.io we have already covered it, have a look.
While these issues were immediately slammed by toxic Ethereum and Bitcoin maximalists, Cardano’s inventor Charles Hoskinson shared that such problems can be addressed by L2 scalability solutions similar to Ethereum’s Optimism. Moreover, according to him, Cardano’s ecosystem has already on-boarded projects working on the solutions.
Cardano (ADA) smart contract release drains Polymarket, Polygon, here’s how
Finally, Cardano’s smart contracts were activated like clockwork on Sept.12, four years after the initial release of Cardano (ADA). With this update, developers are finally able to write and deploy smart contracts using ‘Plutus scripts’, a pieces of Haskell code specifically compiled for Cardano blockchain.
In an introductory post, Cardano’s developers from Input Output Global (IOG), called the day of Alonzo activation ‘an epochal moment in the birth of a new ecosystem’. However, they warned that Cardano’s dApps ecosystem is still in its nascent stage, so, the bumps are inevitable:
Cardano’s secure layer 1 platform offers robustness and high assurance – and Plutus is designed to minimize the potential for exploits. But poor coding practice can always introduce risks for DApp users. Inevitably too, we can expect bad actors looking to take advantage via hacks, exploits, and the likes. As a community, we need to be vigilant as our ecosystem matures.
It’s interesting that two high-profile blockchain teams - predictions markets hub Polymarket and scalability platform Polygon (ex. Matic) - had claimed that Cardano (ADA) wouldn't be able to release smart contracts before October, 2021.
As such, they lost their bets and were therefore forced to donate $70,000 net to charity foundations.
So, what’s next?
Immediately after the release, Cardano’s ADA token rally started losing its team. In a few hours, ADA price erased 13 per cent. By press time, it fails to recover as it is changing hands at $2.38, 22% down from all-times high.
Cardano (ADA) engineers insist that more than 100 smart contacts were deployed to Cardano (ADA) in its first hours. The product welcomed its first-ever NFTs minted through Plutus.
As such, next weeks will be crucial for Cardano: its throughput and developers' experience have yet to be proved.