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Alonzo Fork Is Only Days Away — Here Is Why It Matters for the Cardano Ecosystem

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Cardano’s price has been skyrocketing throughout the year, but it has never been growing as quickly as over the last few weeks. The reason behind this growth is the upcoming upgrade, known as Cardano’s Alonzo hard fork.

This is going to be the latest upgrade in a long series of similar hard forks that Cardano has seen since the days of its launch. However, this one is also going to have a unique impact — bigger than anything seen before. Indeed, even while we are only waiting for the hard fork to arrive, the anticipation is enough to drive the price and volume of Cardano’s ADA into the sky.

The reason why this fork is so important is that it will bring smart contracts to the Cardano mainnet. This matters because it will allow Cardano’s users to start developing their own dApps, DeFi protocols, stablecoins and other cryptocurrencies, and more.

The Alonzo upgrade will bring the network a lot closer to its full potential and capabilities, and it will finally allow Cardano to become the development platform that it was meant to be since the day it was launched. The project may have taken some time to get there, but now it finally arrived, and it is ready to become an industry-leading platform — provided, of course, that it manages to overtake Ethereum.

A new era for Cardano

With the launch of Alonzo, Cardano will officially end the Shelley era, and take its first steps into the Goguen phase of its development.

For those who might not know, Cardano has set a series of specific milestones a long time ago, each of which is called an Era. So far, Cardano has completed the Byron era, which set up the foundation code, it allowed users to start using the ADA coin, mine it, and more.

Then came Shelley, which was focused on decentralizing the network. This was done by creating incentives for users to become hosts of their own nodes. The more nodes there are, and the more widespread they are — the more diverse and decentralized their network is. We are now in the final days of the Shelley era, with the launch of smart contracts marking its end.

Next, there are three more eras that are planned to come — Goguen, Basho, and Voltaire. Goguen will start with bringing the smart contracts to the mainnet, and it will allow the development of dApps, DeFi, and all other blockchain products that users might be interested to create. Basho will focus on improving the underlying performance of Cardano, allowing for better scalability, more transactions to be processed, and alike. It will also bring side chains, thus allowing Cardano to become a multi-blockchain system.

Finally, Voltaire will bring a voting and treasury system for self-sustaining governance. Cardano will allow users to start staking their funds, and vote on the next steps that the project is going to take.

Of course, each of the eras — past and future ones — has its own, smaller milestones, such as specific protocols and other goals. Shelley itself had two major hard forks, known as Allegra and Mary. Allegra brought token locking, allowing users to store their tokens and lock them up in preparation for on-chain voting. Even though this will not arrive for some time, there have been many who opted to lock up some of their tokens in anticipation of the Voltaire launch later down the road.

Meanwhile, Mary brought support for CNT, or Cardano’s Native Tokens, which are similar to how Ethereum ERC tokens work.

Details about Alonzo

Now, when it comes to Alonzo hard fork, it has three stages, each of which is named after a color. The first one is Alonzo Blue, followed by Alonzo White, and finally — Alonzo Purple. After Alonzo Purple are also two smaller phases, known as Alonzo Red and Alonzo Black. Each of them was meant to bring more and more users to the testnet, and use their skills and knowledge to try and find new bugs and issues that need to be solved.

The first phase, Alonzo Blue, originally brought smart contracts to the testnet, and it let in around 50 technical participants. These were mostly stake pool operators who had the privilege of being granted early access. Alonzo White then brought more features, as well as many more participants. This included hundreds of new users, which started testing the network 24/7. Finally, Alonzo Purple made the testnet available to the public, and thousands of users were allowed to get a taste of it. Then came Alonzo Red and Black, which were reserved for the final bug fixes and cleanups.

Cardano also announced a bug bounty program recently, in preparation for the final introduction of smart contracts to its mainnet, offering incentives to professional white hat hackers to try out their own skills in searching for the vulnerabilities of the network.

At the time of writing, September 6th, Cardano is only 6 days away from the launch of its smart contracts, scheduled to take place on September 12th, 2021. The project has grown a lot, and it even managed to breach the $3 resistance, although it sits below it once again at the time of writing. Even so, the launch of its smart contracts will be one of the biggest steps in the project’s history, and a major game-changer, likely for the entire crypto industry.

Whether or not Cardano will be good enough to become the Ethereum killer that the industry has been waiting for for years still remains to be seen. But, there is no doubt that it will mark the biggest milestone for Cardano yet, and it will cement its position as one of the biggest crypto ecosystems in the world.

Ali is a freelance writer covering the cryptocurrency markets and the blockchain industry. He has 8 years of experience writing about cryptocurrencies, technology, and trading. His work can be found in various high-profile investment sites including CCN, Capital.com, Bitcoinist, and NewsBTC.

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