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The Five Stages of Cardano’s History

The five stages of Cardano's history.

Cardano distinguishes itself in the crypto world for its ambitious vision of providing a more secure, scalable, and sustainable financial infrastructure.

The five stages of Cardano’s history. ADA has a unique focus on research-based development and peer review. You can frame Cardano’s history by five phases of development: Byron, Shelley, Goguen, Basho, and Voltaire. Its developers designed each phase to overcome or correct the issues and challenges of other existing blockchain platforms.

Byron Phase: The Foundation

The story began in 2015 when Charles Hoskinson decided to develop a blockchain with three goals: scalability, interoperability, and sustainability. Two years later, in September 2017, the Byron phase marked the official birth of Cardano. This stage laid the foundations of the network, enabling the creation and transfer of the ADA cryptocurrency, but with limited functionality beyond basic transactions. The launch of Byron was a pivotal moment that proved the viability of the Cardano project and laid the groundwork for future innovations.

Shelley Phase: Decentralization

The transition to the Shelley phase represented a period of growth and development for the network, especially for the decentralization of Cardano. Once the community began to adopt more and more nodes, active participation and influence on the future of Cardano became possible. Thanks to Cardano’s design, it is possible for the network to run on a small fraction of the energy cost of other large blockchains like Bitcoin, making it more affordable to its community and environmentally sustainable.

Goguen Phase: Smart Contracts and Decentralized Applications

With Goguen came the ability to build and deploy Smart Contracts. A programmable blockchain opens the door to decentralized applications (DApps), allowing Cardano to compete directly with other Smart Contract platforms like Ethereum. The introduction of Plutus, a programming language for smart contracts created specifically for Cardano, facilitated the creation of secure and efficient DApps, significantly expanding the possibilities of the blockchain. Marlowe, a platform that enables the creation of smart contracts without the need to be a programming expert, was also developed.

Basho Phase: Scalability and Optimization

The Basho phase focuses on improving the scalability and infrastructure of the network to support a higher volume of transactions and decentralized applications. This phase is crucial to the long-term growth and adoption of Cardano. It enables sidechains, which offload information from the main chain, allowing the main chain to increase capacity on the network.

Voltaire Phase: Network Governance

Voltaire’s step introduced a treasury system for network governance. It allows ADA holders to vote on funding proposals, network upgrades, and the project’s future direction. This phase is fundamental to Cardano’s long-term vision. It aims to create a sustainable and decentralized blockchain where decisions are made collectively by its community – the best part!

Throughout its history, Cardano, which will soon be ten years old, has always aimed at decentralization and governance by its community, encompassing a significant ecosystem that propelled the ADA cryptocurrency as one of the most recognized and respected. We hope Cardano’s story helped you to understand more about how it works and how wonderful the blockchain can be!

More on blockchain Governance

Blockchain governance refers to the processes, rules, and decision-making mechanisms used to manage and maintain a blockchain network. Blockchain governance aims to achieve direction, control, and coordination of stakeholders within a blockchain project or network. It involves decision-making on protocol changes, updates, and the overall development and continuation of the blockchain system. The main aspects of blockchain governance include decision rights, accountability, and incentive alignment.

Centralized vs. Decentralized Governance

Blockchains can have either centralized “off-chain” or decentralized “on-chain” governance mechanisms. Off-chain governance relies on informal processes like public discussions and proposals. It relies on collectively agreed-upon updates, often leading to slow and inefficient decision-making. On-chain governance uses voting mechanisms where stakeholders with the blockchain’s native tokens can directly vote on changes to the protocol.

The main stakeholders in blockchain governance include users, node operators, developers, and miners/validators. In a decentralized model, these stakeholders exert checks and balances on each other to reach a consensus on changes.

Governance Challenges

The tension between on-chain and off-chain governance can be problematic, especially for quick emergency decision-making. Achieving true decentralization in governance is difficult, as there is often centralization in organizational aspects like decision rights. In summary, blockchain governance is a crucial aspect of managing decentralized blockchain networks. It involves complex decision-making processes and the coordination of diverse stakeholders.

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