After five years of development, Cardano’s next upgrade is finally here.
The network implemented its latest hardfork, Shelley, today. This upgrades the network from its prior iteration, Byron. Shelley’s introduces stake pools and delegations.
Staking on Shelley involves holding large amounts of its native currency, ADA. The benefit to doing so is that there’s a greater chance you could earn yet more ADA in rewards for validating the network. All of this is powered by its Ouroboros protocol, which chooses who gets to add the next block to the Cardano blockchain.
You can also operate something called a stake pool, which lets you stake other users’ coins on their behalf or delegate their coins so that someone else can stake them. IOHK said in a press release that it expects to reach around 1,000 stake pools; this is based on the number of stake pools opened during its testnet. Upon launch, 444 stake pools are operational on Cardano.
The first block for Shelley was validated on a testnet version of the new chain on April 27. A testnet is like a beta version of a blockchain. Usually, testnet blockchains don’t involve real money. But IOHK ran an incentivized testnet for Shelley, meaning that its users were playing for keeps.
Now it’s moved onto mainnet, onward: “It’s a monumental achievement, but this doesn’t mean we’ll be standing still, and we’re looking forward to the delivery of the Voltaire and Goguen phases of the Cardano roadmap, which will see robust governance arrangements and smart contracts functionality put in place this year,” said Aparna Jue, IOHK’s product director, in a statement.
Charles Hoskinson, the CEO of IOHK, added: “This time next year we could see hundreds of assets and decentralized applications running on Cardano.”
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