The Cardano Alonzo hard fork took place Sunday 12 September, finally adding support for smart contracts on mainnet.
Cardano Alonzo hard fork
The upgrade went as planned and tested, and it’s worth pointing out that this wasn’t a regular hard fork that often leads to the creation of different chains like in the case of Bitcoin (BTC) and Bitcoin Cash (BCH) or Ethereum (ETH) and Ethereum Classic (ETC).
In fact, the developers behind Cardano have created something called the Hard Fork Combinator (HFC), which leads to combining two different protocols, such as the previous Shelley and the current Alonzo, onto a single ledger to make sure that there’s a smooth transition between protocols.
During the epoch rollover which implemented this upgrade, there was a watch party on the official YouTube channel of IOHK, the company behind the development of Cardano:
Charles Hoskinson, the CEO of IOHK and founder of Cardano, wore a Ghostbusters costume, in honour of the many critics who have very often called Cardano a ghostchain, referring to the absence of tokens and dApps on this Proof of Stake blockchain. Well, it seems that they will have to reevaluate their criticisms given that even before the activation of smart contracts, Cardano has seen thousands of tokens and NFTs already minted.
The first smart contracts on Cardano
It didn’t take long after the Alonzo HFC event for developers to deploy smart contracts. One such smart contract was added by none other than IOHK and it’s the Lobster Challenge. Over the past couple of weeks, Charles had a mysterious lobster soft toy sitting on his microphone, and for fun, a smart contract was developed in order to give it a name.
Who's ready to name the lobster? https://t.co/bV5hZN2uUS
— Charles Hoskinson (@IOHK_Charles) September 12, 2021
This, and the many other already operating smart contracts, were the winning condition for the bet on Polymarket, which allowed Cardano believers to win over 1 million dollars. Furthermore, the Polymarket team kept their word and donated $50k to a charity chosen by Charles Hoskinson.
At Polymarket, we believe in giving credit where it's due & sticking to our word. We stand corrected & donated $50k on behalf of @IOHK_Charles & the Cardano Community. https://t.co/0MfIUh9zZm pic.twitter.com/TqMLlCzEDh
— Polymarket (@Polymarket) September 13, 2021
The Cardano eras after Goguen
This long-awaited upgrade has allowed the Cardano ecosystem to enter its Goguen era, as seen in the roadmap. This era will be all about smart contracts, dApps and interoperability with other blockchains and cryptocurrencies, with the first being Ethereum and the bridge via the ERC20 Converter.
The remaining two eras are Basho:
“The Basho era of Cardano is an era of optimization, improving the scalability and interoperability of the network. Whereas previous development eras focused on decentralization and new functionality, Basho is about improving the underlying performance of the Cardano network to better support growth and adoption for applications with high transaction volume”.
“The Voltaire era of Cardano will provide the final pieces required for the Cardano network to become a self-sustaining system. With the introduction of a voting and treasury system, network participants will be able to use their stake and voting rights to influence the future development of the network”.