Cardano launches Smart Contracts; What does it mean?

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On September 12 at 21:44:51 UTC the Cardano blockchain crossed over from epoch 289 to 290. At that moment, the ecosystem entered the long awaited Goguen era. Goguen is the third of five developmental milestones on the Cardano roadmap, launching smart contracts onto the chain. The design of Cardano’s smart contracts is different from its predecessors in important ways. This successful launch will lead to the next stop on the roadmap, which will add more tools for end users.

Remarkably, this update went live without a hitch and the network has remained incredibly stable. If you follow Cardano news, you may have heard the buzz about watch parties around the world, including a Zoom party live streamed by IOG. If you attended any of these, the rollover happened not with a bang but a whisper. Even though the launch seemed anticlimactic, the release is the product of 40 brilliant minds working 60+ hours a week for the last three years. The success of the launch is a testament to their dedication to getting it right.

In technology, a quiet deployment is good news. As a contrast, consider the recent debacle of the Solana blockchain project. Solana is a venture-backed project, which also recently launched smart contracts. Within hours of the launch, the network slowed to a crawl, then froze - to the point that no one could use it! Fortunately, a similar breakdown is not possible on Cardano. Cardano keeps ledger traffic on a separate computing layer than the logic behind them; processing transactions on Cardano is a two person job. Imagine, for example, that you are trying to pay your employees; the work of calculating hours, deductions, and taxes will be done by one system, and then passed to another system to dispense the funds. Blockchain technology is going to one day run important systems we rely on for day-to-day life. So it’s important to have safeguards in place to prevent key systems from freezing up, even if other parts of the system are overloaded. Cardano’s roadmap includes building even more of these safeguards so that it will be a global system that companies, cities and countries can build on.

The Goguen era has begun with this release, which was dubbed Alonzo. There is another release coming within the Goguen era, called Babish. While Alonzo brought the cement and water, Babish will bring the shovels, gloves, and wheelbarrows. For entrepreneurs and small businesses trying to create products based on Cardano smart contracts, this means that you are a pioneer and should expect to struggle a bit. If you are a user, it will take a few months to start seeing cool DApps in lots of categories besides fintech and finance. When Babish is released, there will be more tools, making it easier for developers to build apps that are powered by Cardano.

We expect to see hundreds if not thousands of blockchain apps over the next year or two. To facilitate ongoing insights and conversations about these projects, we have launched a “Reviews” feature on the Lido Nation site. Tune in there to learn about interesting projects and understand the successes and learnings that emerge along the way. Smart contracts and the applications they will enable bring the promise of extinguishing corruption, increasing transparency in transactions, and creating direct democracies. The future is for everyone; welcome to the Goguen era!

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