May 19, 2024

Cardano upgrade delays tied to measured academic approach — CEO

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Cardano Foundation CEO Frederik Gregaard told Cointelegraph that the pieces of research that the network has “spent years of doing and implementing” are already being used by some of the fast-moving blockchain platforms.

Cardano has come under fire from critics for delays in the rollout of features and network upgrades. This slower-paced cadence, however, appears to be a badge of honor to Cardano Foundation CEO Frederik Gregaard, who said that the network is “boring,” considering the platform’s academic approach.

“Cardano is boring. We are boring because we are based on academic peer-reviewed papers, [and] we are sharing that across the globe,” Gregaard told Cointelegraph on the sidelines of the recent Cardano Summit in Dubai.

Cardano Foundation CEO Frederik Gregaard (right) with Cointelegraph Arabic reporter Hermi De Ramos (left) at the Cardano Summit in Dubai. Source: Cointelegraph

The executive pointed out that the pieces of research that Cardano has “spent years of doing and implementing” are already being used by some of the fast-moving blockchain platforms, which he feels “incredibly proud” of:

“If they take some of the core principles we’ve researched and invented, this is good for the earth… [and] humanity at large because this makes more resilient, more adaptable blockchains around the world.”

Gregaard added that the trend is also important with the increasing adoption of artificial intelligence (AI) that would require the industry to have computable data. He added:

“I say, ‘Sorry, we are boring.’ But we are one of the oldest projects. We are very big… We are the one who has the most changes on GitHub, and we have not been down for over 2000 days… Boring sometimes is good.”

Cardano’s recent significant updates, including the layer-2 scalability solution Hydra in May and the stake-based multisignature protocol Mithril in July, resulted in network upticks following their launch. More recently, in the third quarter of 2023, while Cardano’s decentralized finance (DeFi) activity remained flat, its total value locked (TVL) was up 198% year-to-date, data from blockchain analytics firm Messari shows. The network’s TVL, which ranked 34th at the beginning of the year, now sits at 15th among all the networks reviewed.

As the ecosystem prepares for the upcoming Voltaire, the final era of the Cardano roadmap that focuses on decentralized governance, Gregaard said the ecosystem’s aspiration levels on on-chain governance “is way higher than other projects,” but they try to take the learnings from other networks, including MakerDAO. He said:

“This is about capturing the essence of the vision and mission and the culture of Cardano. I think the discussion about how much you can push on-chain and off-chain is probably even more relevant.”

The executive added that Cardano will continue conducting workshops next year, where the community will be able to “verify, validate and contribute to a constitutional document.”

CIP-1694 abstract. Source: 1694.io

The workshop details, as shown above, are aligned with the Cardano Improvement Proposal 1694 (CIP-1694).

Tribalism in crypto

The Cardano ecosystem has been known in the space for having a strong community. However, similar to other projects in the decentralized realm, it has not been spared from controversies surrounding crypto tribalism — a phenomenon that has fragmented the industry.

Gregaard sees it as a strength, saying that a public, permissionless blockchain needs a large community across all the infrastructure, including the value capture layer. He added that they continue to add to this community, claiming they have recorded over 200,000 new noncustodial wallets in a bear market.

The executive also said that the “best work” in the space happened in second and third-generation blockchains founded by known figures, suggesting that people follow projects due to the “legacy” behind them.

Ethereum co-founders Charles Hoskinson and Gavin Wood, for instance, left the second-generation blockchain and started their own platforms, namely Cardano and Polkadot, respectively.

“Some of it is also nearly emotions and politics, but that’s when it’s good to have somebody like Cardano Foundation because we are nonprofit. We are not directed by any founders,” Gregaard explained.

“What a lot of people don’t realize is that this tribalism is sort of watering out a little bit, as we more and more see the scope and the impact and, more importantly, the importance of what blockchain can bring to the world order and society at large,” he added.

What lies ahead

According to Gregaard, Cardano will continue following its current path toward becoming a stable network, which will involve a series of hard forks and the enactment of CIP-1694.

“We will change the core governance principles or the execution of the governance while still staying true to the vision. I think you will see multi-party computation, ZK-rollups and a lot of other things.”

The executive added that he expects many nation-states to use Cardano not just in financial markets but also in international trade industry and voting, among other things. He also anticipates the maturity of the application landscape of the network.

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