Cardano (ADA), reached a significant milestone in its roadmap when its blockchain launched Plutus powered smart contracts as a part the Alonzo hardfork.
The Alonzo hardfork was highly anticipated by the Cardano community and the wider cryptocurrency community.
Cardano’s smart contract functionality will allow developers to create decentralized apps (DApps), and even mint nonfungible tokens. This milestone is regarded as the moment when the “mission truly starts” for the network’s development.
The news about the achievement of this milestone did not stop Cardano (ADA), the native token of the network, from sliding into the wider slump that gripped the crypto market ever since Bitcoin (BTC), crashed below $43,000 on Sept. 7. ADA fell 10% to $2.3 intraday after the Alonzo hardfork on Sep. 10. Ether (ETH) and BTC dropped 4% and 6.97% respectively.
Marie Tatibouet is the chief marketing officer at crypto exchange Gate.io. She told Cointelegraph:
Cardano’s future is bright! Cardano has been known for being the smart contract platform, even without smart contracts. But critics are now going to have to change this narrative. Cardano’s utility has increased dramatically with the introduction of actual contracts.
Cardano developer activity among the highest
Outlier Ventures’ report, “Blockchain Development trends Q2 2020/21”, states that Cardano is the most active blockchain, with 701 commits per monthly (CPM)
All protocols included in the report have an average CPM of 107 CPM. These “commits”, essentially, represent any additions or modifications made to the network’s source code on Github.
With 447 CPM, Ethereum is second, followed by IOTA with 394 CPM. Filecoin and Flow are the last five, with 306 CPM and 368 CPM respectively. Cardano is 5555% more active that Ethereum, and 317% higher than the average for all blockchain networks.
Ethereum still ranks first in terms of total active developers (MAD) building a specific blockchain network. It has 168 monthly active developers. Cardano is closely behind at second with 165 MAD. This shows a 31.8% higher year-over–year growth. NFTs can be created on the network. Cardano and Cointelegraph have provided data that shows there have been 780 436 NFTs created on the network.
This active developer community is a testimony to how quickly the network is evolving and adapting to changing ecosystem needs. Cardano boasts a large developer community and the highest number of development activities among similar blockchain protocols, which improves security and transparency. These trends will be further accelerated by the Alonzo hardfork, which introduces smart contract functionality.
Cardano DApps remain on the horizon
The Alonzo upgrade is a part the Goguen Phase of Cardano’s roadmap and allows developers to deploy Plutus powered smart contracts on the network. However, the network hasn’t yet reached that stage.
Despite claims that more than 2,000 smart contracts are deployed on the network, Vercel app data, a third party data provider that uses data form adapools.org, shows that only 26 Plutus smart contracts were deployed as of the writing.
Market perceptions are widespread that smart contracts are locked in timelock. Cardano’s spokesperson clarified to Cointelegraph, however, that the network has had timelock code since the Allegra era. These time-locked scripts can be used to aid in NFT minting, such as making NFTs run unique instances and multisig schemes. These scripts are not compatible with smart contracts and can’t be “in timelock.”
Cointelegraph was told by Hunain Naser, senior analyst with OKEx Insights — a research team for cryptocurrency exchange OKEx.
Timelocks protect users against changes to contracts created after they have been created. There are not all the 2,300 scripts found on Cardano’s network. Most of them are creating policies for tokens or NFTs on Cardano and are time locked to prevent any changes.
Once DApps have been created and are widely used, however, timelocks may be used. They can be used to notify users when any smart contract changes are made. This prevents changes from being implemented immediately. Users can review the alerts and take action if they are necessary.
It is still to be seen how quickly Cardano’s network could bring real utility in the form of DApps or other decentralized financial features. It could also be a matter of managing expectations. Cointelegraph was told by Johnny Lyu, CEO at KuCoin crypto exchange, that although the Alonzo upgrade is a significant event for Cardano it’s not possible to expect quick results in a short time.
“Users must be patient and developers must move on to avoid making mistakes that could lead to hacks or loss of funds on smart contract.
The Binance Smart Chain is a prime example of smart contracts being quickly integrated into a network. This was evident in the recent $12.7 million BTC hack by the pNetwork.
Related: DeFi hacks to Binance Smart Chain increase as TVL and volume increases
Lyu stated that while DApps will be available on Cardano in a matter of two years, Lyu believes that it will take longer than that time to deploy them and make Cardano fully functional.
Cardano, a blockchain project that has always been focused on the basics, might lead you to believe that smart contracts will only allow funds to flow once they have been deemed safe and secure. Marek Mahut, the founder of Five Binaries and who wrote the first smart contract on Cardano, stated that safety and scalability were important features for developers. Cardano’s new accounting technology, eUTXO provides a unique approach that makes it easier to write secure smart contracts.
Cardano Foundation hosted the Cardano Summit 2021 from Sept 25-26. IOHK, a blockchain research and development company, was present at the summit to discuss the plans for smart contract enhancements and upgrades. Although it is uncertain when actual DApps will be deployed on the network, it is not an immediate process.