Innovation Fatigue: The Cardano Community Takes a Deep Breath

Cardano Staking, made possible by a hard fork combinator (HFC) event in July of 2020 (Epoch 208, Slot 4492800), ushered in the “Shelley Era” of the network’s roadmap. This event opened the floodgates of interest and activity in the community. Since then, it’s been a mad dash from the top of one hill, to the next, and the next. We are now seeing signs that this has begun to lead to some innovation fatigue. This is something the community is starting to sense - with hope that the “sensing” will lead to healthy corrections and/or mitigations.

A brief look back
In July 2020, the Shelly HFC event enabled liquid open staking for ADA holders, and permissionless stake pool operation by anyone with a few hundred ADA and Linux server skills. This release was the culmination of 80 research papers representing years of work. It quickly made Cardano the most decentralized blockchain network in terms of block production!

Just a few short months later, in March 2021, came the “Mary” HFC event (Epoch 251). The Mary release allowed users to create native fungible tokens as well as non-fungible tokens (NFT), without having to write Smart Contracts. The NFT craze began! The community took full advantage of the ease-of-use of the tech, and began the journey that has led to over 4 million NFTs and 5 thousand tokens to date!

In September of the same year, the community held a world-wide conference and deployed the “Goguen” HFC event. The Goguen era introduced the ability to write Smart Contracts and build DApps on the Cardano network. Since the Goguen release, three new decentralized exchanges (DEXes) and 3 hybrid decentralized-centralized exchanges have launched. Close to 2 million smart contract transactions have been executed (according to Cardanoscan). DEXes now hold over 300 Million USD in their smart contracts.

We are about to hit the two year anniversary since the Shelley HFC event. This will be marked by another milestone: the Vasil HFC event will improve network performance - by many orders of magnitude. It will also introduce significant enhancements via a new technology, the Plutus Application Backend (PAB). The PAB is a system that enables writing and managing Smart Contract interactions, lowering the technical entry level for companies wanting to build on the Cardano blockchain. Hundreds of teams are currently building with the PAB (in test environments) and expecting to launch shortly after the Vasil release this summer. We can expect most Cardano interactions after Vasil to involve Smart Contract technology.

There is also a big update to network governance in the works, playing out via Project Catalyst. There has long been talk of a new “Governance API”, which would mark a significant milestone in Cardano’s Governance vision.

Sensing fatigue
All this is to say that every person in the Cardano ecosystem is inundated with new information: new things to learn, to ponder, and to discuss. Across a number of conversations and sub circles, the same theme has been echoed over the last few weeks. On Twitter spaces - where @LidoNation is an active participant, host, and co-host - discussions have touched on price fatigue, feature fatigue, NFT fatigue, and more. “Burnout” was a cursory agenda topic at the Catalyst Circle V3 March 17 meeting. “Churn Fatigue” was a topic of discussion at the Catalyst Townhall meeting that same week.

Find your happy place
Whatever fatigue may result from the fast pace of innovation within Cardano, other things surely contribute that much and more to the stress we all feel. The world is still in a pandemic; Europe is not the Europe we thought we knew; many of us wonder about the future of our planet, or species, for any number of reasons! There are certainly still weddings, bosses, and teenagers in the world - popular sources of stress at any time. In each of these cases, whatever form the mitigation or correction ultimately takes, it starts with open discussion. It’s a good sign to see these conversations starting to take place in the Cardano community.

Lido Nation has an ambitious agenda this year; the exact form it takes will depend on which of our Project Catalyst Fund 8 proposals get the votes and get funded! You can learn more about our proposals here:

However, the exciting work of breaking trails and discovering new territory in the metaverse means logging a lot of hours parked in front of a screen in the analog world. It means trying to keep up with the latest releases, and changes, and crazes. One way we plan to take a break, and balance our digital work with human relationships, is by heading to the Rare Bloom Cardano event in Denver this fall. This get-together and celebration will be a great way to rest, and to re-charge the innovation engine as individuals, and as a community.

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