The Decentralized Finance (DeFi) ecosystem has grown rapidly throughout the past months, being evaluated as a $69 billion market back in August. Even though the cryptocurrency market is worth more than $1.5 trillion, only a small portion of that value goes to DeFi. The use of Decentralized Exchanges and Non-Fungible Tokens (NFTs) are two of the main engines that keep this ecosystem running and growing.
When we take a look at NFTs, we can see the growth of this sector of the DeFi ecosystem. During July, OpenSea, the biggest NFT marketplace, had a trading volume of $325 million. Yet, throughout August, more than $3 billion worth of cryptocurrencies went back and forth on their platform. To make this even crazier, the 24-hour trading volume of OpenSea on the 29th of August was nearly equal to the trading volume accumulated throughout the whole month of July.
These are indicators that the DeFi ecosystem will continue its rapid growth. Even though it is still early to compare it to other industries, hundreds of important individuals and influencers believe that the DeFi ecosystem is today what the internet was in the 80s-90s. This ecosystem was almost completely Ethereum-powered before the rise of the so-called “Ethereum Killers”. This term is used to label crypto projects that provide a platform for smart contracts, including DApps & NFTs.
One of these cryptocurrencies is Cardano, a third-generation cryptocurrency. In this article, we will talk about the most recent update on the Cardano blockchain – the Alonzo Update.
Looking Back at Cardano
But before we begin to go into the details of the Alonzo update, we must briefly elaborate on what Cardano is and how it works. Cardano is a crypto project founded back in 2015 by the co-founder of Ethereum, Charles Hoskinson. Although founded in 2015, Cardano was not launched until 2017. Moreover, its stable release was done just recently, on the 13th of May.
This project is overseen by The Cardano Foundation and it keeps being developed by various companies that are commissioned for this type of work. Two of the main companies that take an active part in the development of Cardano are Input-Output Hong Kong (IOHK) and Emurgo. While IOHK is primarily focused on the research and progression of Cardano, Emurgo is focused on building partnerships that will help the Cardano Ecosystem grow.
The native token to Cardano’s blockchain is ADA. Cardano is a Proof-of-Stake (PoS) blockchain, meaning that there is no mining involved. Unlike Proof-of-Work (PoW) blockchains, Cardano does not need super-powerful computers to validate transactions. Because it is a PoS network, the validation of transactions is done by staking your ADA… or in other terms, by holding onto your ADA.
This cryptocurrency has a maximum supply of 45 billion and a circulating supply of less than 34 billion. Having a capped supply, ADA is considered to be deflationary. At the time of writing, this cryptocurrency is the third biggest cryptocurrency by market capitalization, with Bitcoin and Ethereum leading the pack.
Cardano is known to be a very serious project, having a credible team and strong foundations. This is reflected by the millions of ADA hodlers that put their faith in the project. Moreover, the roadmap of Cardano is very specific and every step is explained in detail in their platform.
The Cardano Roadmap is divided into 5 main periods: Byron, Shelley, Goguen, Basho, and Voltaire. At the time of writing, we are at the Goguen phase. Recently, the Alonzo update (part of the Goguen phase) launched its test-net version, making it possible for DApps and NFTs to be launched in the Cardano blockchain.
The Goguen era is considered to be one of the most important eras of Cardano, being the time when Cardano will open up to enterprise-level partnerships. This era is considered to be the time where Cardano will mature for the upcoming Basho and Voltaire phases. That being said, Cardano is still under development, meaning that it has a long time to go before it reaches its full potential.
The Alonzo Update
As we mentioned before, the Alonzo update is part of the Goguen era. Alonzo hit test-net on the 12th of September, marking a huge achievement for Cardano. With the release of Alonzo, developers can experiment and launch DApps and smart contracts on the Cardano blockchain. Even though Alonzo is still in the test net phase, this has been a huge leap forward for the Cardano blockchain.
To emphasize the size of this update, we must note that more than 100 smart contracts have been launched during the first 24 hours after the Alonzo launch.
This year has been crazy for the price of Cardano, and with the release of Alonzo, Cardano is aiming for breaking its all-time high and reaching extreme heights.
Top Upcoming Cardano Projects
As we mentioned before, hundreds of projects on the Cardano ecosystem have been eagerly waiting for Alonzo to launch. Most of these projects are the same as those on the Ethereum blockchain, however, they reap the benefits of being on the Cardano blockchain. Being way more scalable and fast, Cardano is the way to go.
Ardana is the first all-in-one stablecoin ecosystem in the Cardano blockchain. This crypto project was created in April 2021 and it is still being actively developed. You can use their platform to mint, trade, and stake ADA. Their platform will make it possible to mint an upcoming USD pegged stablecoin, by staking ADA. These stable coins will be available for trading on DanaSwap, Ardana’s upcoming Decentralized Exchange (DEX).
Because most of Cardano’s supply is currently staked, Ardana is believed to gain a following quickly.
When it comes to tokenomics, every Dana holder will be able to vote on changes and updates on the Dana protocol, making the project completely community-driven. Moreover, Dana holders get rewarded with a protocol fee for each transaction on the Ardana ecosystem.
However, we will have to wait a bit for the Ardana DApps to go live since the Alonzo update just rolled out. According to their roadmap, the public sale will go live in the fourth quarter of 2021.
SundaeSwap is an upcoming DEX built on the Cardano blockchain. This DEX is a very promising project that is coming to the Cardano ecosystem. Considering that this project is still unreleased, they have built quite a following on social media. Similar to Uniswap, SundaeSwap is an Automated Market Maker (AMM) that is aiming to become the leading DEX on Cardano. So, what Uniswap is to Ethereum, SundaeSwap is to Cardano.
What distinguishes SundaeSwap from the other DEXs is its front-end hosting system. Unlike Uniswap or PancakeSwap, SundaeSwap will be hosted on an interplanetary file system (IPFS), making it 100% decentralized.
SundaeSwap’s native token, Sundae, will be distributed through an Initial Stake Pool Offering (ISO). This means that you can get Sundae by staking ADA on their staking pool. Their token distribution is very fair, with more than 55% of its total supply being allocated to the public once it launches. The rest is going to be distributed to the team (25%), the initial investors (13%), future hires (5%), and advisors (2%).
According to their roadmap, SundaeSwap is set to initially launch sometime during the third quarter of 2021. Furthermore, its full version is likely to touch Cardano’s blockchain by the end of the year.
Empowa is another project coming to Cardano sometime this year. Yet, this project is quite different from the other ones when it comes to its goals and ambitions. Empowa wants to use DeFi to enable affordable housing in Africa. This would be extremely influential since more than 50 million people are homeless. Empowa was founded in April, thanks to the funding it received during Cardano’s project catalyst held some months earlier, it was able to continue its journey.
This Cardano project claims to be the first RealFi platform in the world. Using their Empowa token, their main goal is to provide affordable housing in Africa. They will start from Mozambique, a country in East Africa, then continue to other parts of Africa.
Whoever contributes to this project will be secured a cut of the rental income from the properties built using the Empowa token. Their token will use the EMP ticker and is considered to be a utility token. We must note that they will also be selling NFTs to raise funds for their project. Whoever buys their first NFTs will become a Founding Community member and reap many future benefits.
To wrap it up, Empowa wants to use the power of cryptocurrencies to do good deeds and help in the development of third-world countries. So, they want to do this by becoming a decentralized property developer.
4. World Mobile
The upcoming projects on the Cardano blockchain do not fail to amaze us, or as some would say “each is better than the other”. This one is similar to Empowa, however, they are focused on mobile connectivity. This project is called World Mobile and is aiming to connect the whole world through blockchain. Furthermore, they emphasize the importance of connecting the 4 billion people that remain unconnected with the digital world.
The main problem with connectivity is its price. We all know that effective cellular data is expensive; this is not only valid for its users but also the operators. Cellular data is unreasonably expensive to maintain too. Because of the above-mentioned facts, cellular data is not available in hard-to-reach places such as some parts of Africa. Yet, World Mobile claims that they are here to fix this problem and make wifi connections accessible to everyone. “Because this is a problem everyone is facing, we must find a solution together” they stated on their website.
Through their project, World Mobile aims to provide everyone with a Digital ID. This ID will allow people to access online banking systems, taking one step further towards economic freedom. Unlike traditional mobile networks, World Mobile seeks to allow its users to benefit from their data. Furthermore, these digital IDs will also give access to healthcare and education.
Their project started with their first ‘smart village’ in Tanzania – a village that has been left online for decades.
Last but not least, we have ClayNation, or as we consider it, the CryptoPunks of Cardano. ClayNation is an NFT collection launched during the first days of September and sold out on the 9th of September. So, ClayNation is a collection of 10,000 unique characters made of clay. Each has different properties from one another, making all of them rare.
What makes this NFT collection interesting is the fact that all of the characters have been handmade. Yet, each of the physical characters has been destroyed and they are only alive on the blockchain.
Their social media has gained quite a following, considering the age of this project. Their Twitter account has over 13,000 followers.
You’ve always been a clay mate, mate.
— Clay Mates ⛺ Clay Nation (@The_ClayMates) September 20, 2021
The initial price for one Clay Mate was 40 ADA. Today, the cheapest Clay Mate available on Cnft.io – the biggest Cardano NFT marketplace – is 1000 ADA. So, no matter how you look at it, the floor price of the ClayNation collection increased drastically.
Current Issues with Cardano
Because Cardano’s Alonzo update was huge, it was expected that there would be issues. Most of the above-mentioned projects have had issues launching their tokens and DApps. This is considered to be happening because of numerous factors. Cardano has over 1.6 million users, and most of them are active. Because the Alonzo update was much anticipated, every Cardano holder will try to give the new DApps a try immediately after their launch. However, being able to support more than 1.6 million users on the initial version of a DApp is nearly impossible. This would require an extremely well-built infrastructure.
Another factor is the high concurrency on the Cardano network, a problem that all projects built on Cardano are trying to solve.
What is Concurrency?
Cardano uses an improved version of the Unspent Transaction Model (UTXO), a model that was first introduced by Bitcoin. Just as its name clearly states, this model keeps track of transactions by checking the unspent amount of tokens left from any specific transaction. We won’t get into the details of this technology, however, this makes transaction fees way cheaper than those of Ethereum for example.
So what does concurrency has to do with this? Because Cardano uses UTXO, everyone must get their change individually, meaning that you must wait for the other person in from of you to receive the leftover amount for the transaction to be complete. In other words, you will have to “wait in line” until your turn comes to use a DApp built on Cardano.
To keep it as simple as possible, concurrency means that you have to wait for every DApp user in front of you to finish their transaction.
One of the first Cardano DEXs, MinSwap, crashed nearly immediately after its launch because of this issue.
It’s unfortunate that we have to shut down our testnet temporarily. We have gathered enough data from our testers to improve the fundamental of our DEX. In the next few days, we’ll publish our post-mortem, our scaling solution and when the testnet will be open up again.
— Minswap | FISO live! 🚀 (@MinswapDEX) September 5, 2021
Nevertheless, it seems like some projects have found a way to overcome this issue but are not that keen on sharing this solution.
- Along with the cryptocurrency market, the Decentralized Finance (DeFi) ecosystem has seen huge growth.
- The main pillars that contribute to DeFi’s growth are DEX protocols and NFTs.
- More than $3 billion worth of Ethereum was traded on OpenSea during August.
- Cardano’s roadmap is divided into 5 eras: Byron, Shelley, Goguen, Basho, and Voltaire.
- Right now, we are in the Goguen era, or the smart contract era if I may say.
- Some of the most promising Cardano projects right now are Ardana, SundaeSwap, Empowa, World Mobile, and ClayNation.
- The long-awaited Alonzo update has some concerning issues, with concurrency being one of them. Yet, some of these projects have already found a way around them.