Cardano is not just a Wallet
There is one bad habit in cryptocurrencies. Everyone supports their chosen project and hounds the others. People's motives are often economic. However, let's take a look at a few facts.
From time to time, somewhere on social media, the FUD appears about the Cardano project. We can see opinions like “Cardano is just a wallet”, “Cardano never launches main-net”, “PoS will never work”, or “it’s just white-paper”. These are all opinions based on impatience, ignorance of the depth and complexity of the project, or the inability to objectively assess the matter. Often, this FUD is caused intentionally by supporters of a competing project. Just to make competitors more relevant.
Let’s look at some facts in today’s article.
Cardano is a very complex project
Cardano is the first project that is based on formal method development and it is built as a mission-critical project. The IOHK team has done thorough research on all areas related to blockchain and distributed networks. The team studied existing works and sought the best solutions to technical problems in a real environment. The team has published many scientific studies that have undergone a rigorous review and today have countless citations. The team starts production software development only after the specifications are available. The critical parts of the project are written in Haskell. Haskell is a functional programming language that doesn’t allow any side-effects.
Blockchain incorporates technological, economic, and social components. It is a system that aims to replace the current financial system and compete with the current IT giants. Such a project cannot be done just by giving you a bunch of programmers to make you a mix of Bitcoin and Ethereum. Without an emphasis on overall quality and details, such a system will never work reliably in the long term. On the other hand, such a project can be delivered in just one year. Do we need it?
Cardano took a different and more challenging path. If the team simply delivered another blockchain, it would rank among hundreds of similar projects. It was necessary to put together experts to cryptography, software security, distributed networking, threat modeling, protocol design, game theory, operating systems, designers of programming languages, economy, and of course, software architects and programmers. All these people had to work together to deliver the network that would be great in all respects. These are people who are respected experts in their field and often at the top of their careers.
If one network is to serve the whole world, it must be capable of global scalability. It must never stop and allow all people on the planet to freely engage in network consensus. Including cheaters. Such a network will be massively attacked. Cardano must endure it and continue to function smoothly. It is a more complex task than you might think. And believe me, there are not many people in the world who could fully understand that in all details.
It takes a lot of time and effort to build such a project. No existing project is capable of mass adoption and is at the same time demonstrably secure and sustainable in the long term. Cardano will be. Global, open, public, permissionless networks are brand new. There was nothing like that before Bitcoin. The first generation of cryptocurrencies suffers from technological imperfection. Often they are in the experimental phase and are improving in full operation. In the case of Bitcoin, everybody is scared to change the first layer, as there is a legitimate concern that something will fail. The second layer can improve something, but it will always creak. The quality of the project is directly related to the quality of the team and the time spent on research, experimentation, implementation, and testing. These phases can’t be underestimated or omitted. If you do, it will fire back at you later. A team will have to solve it at a time when the project strives for adoption. People might complain. We can see thousands of projects on CoinMarketCap, but few are worth the attention. In ten years, there will be maybe only three of them.
Cardano is one of the most transparent projects in the crypto. CEO of IOHK, Charles Hoskinson, does AMA and status updates very often. Sometimes several times in one month. During AMA you can ask him literally what you want. Other team members have recently started updating us as well.
Cardano, as one of the few projects, has all its scientific works publicly available. Anyone can look into them and critically review the content. The number of works increases regularly. If anyone has doubts about the quality of the project, they can try to find some mistakes in these works. And believe me, it will be hard. You will find such gems as the solved PoS consensus problem, Extended UTxO model, proof that PoW works as is generally believed, and much more:
This work by itself has already pushed the crypt forward by a great deal. So far, nobody has worked out exactly what the ledger is and how it should work, whether PoW is really safe, how to write smart contracts safely, how to create a sustainable economic model, etc. All other projects can benefit from this work.
Do not believe that? Well, we can give you one of the many possible examples. Aggelos Kiayias is the chair in cybersecurity and privacy at the University of Edinburgh. His research interests are in computer security, information security, applied cryptography, and foundations of cryptography with a particular emphasis on blockchain technologies and distributed systems, e-voting, and secure multiparty protocols, as well as privacy and identity management. He joined IOHK in 2017 as a chief scientist through a long-term consulting agreement between IOHK and the University of Edinburgh, where he is also the director of the Blockchain Technology Laboratory.
Aggelos is one of the brains behind Ouroboros PoS. It is relatively easy to find the works in which he participated and the number of citations. Google (https://scholar.google.com/) can make the dirty work for you:
You can just open any scientific paper from IOHK, check the list of authors, and find the number of citations. You can also easily verify there is no competitor in the whole crypto.
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Of course, the important thing is to get the scientific work into the source code. And that happens. You can check out GitHub for all the project repositories:
Be careful, many people and aggregation sites for some reason only look at the cardano-sl repository. Look at them all!
We understand that if you are not a programmer, it will be difficult to judge the quality of code. You just have to educate yourself here if you really want to know what is going on on GitHub. Activity is compared by the number of commits, which is some modification of the source code. Usually, a new piece is added or something old is deleted.
You can easily look at the details of each repository. You can see how many people are actively developing the code, you can see what they are working on, how often they add changes, and more. Let’s have a look at the Ouroboros-network repository.
Shelley protocol is written in Haskell. Check the source code:
The quality and activity of the project can also be judged well by the number of new and already solved issues.
If you are in any doubt about any project, learn how to read GitHub activity. In the case of the Cardano project, be absolutely calm. The activity is one of the highest, if not absolutely highest, in the entire crypto-sphere. If anyone tells you otherwise, please refer to the IOHK library and GitHub.
You can even check out the site where all the Cardano GitHub data is all together:
Delays are usual in software development
We have already talked about how complex the Cardano project is. Believe me, delays are a common thing when creating software. There are plenty of well-described reasons for that. Every software engineer could confirm that. Let’s dive into it just a bit.
An accurate estimate during making a software plan is nearly impossible. You always have a bunch of items and tasks for a bunch of engineers. Tasks often overlap and depend on each other. To make it worse, tasks are mostly abstract and it is often hard to predict all possible obstacles. You can measure the performance of the team to improve time estimates but still, you never know when a plan is going to fail due to unexpected problems. Team members have to work together years to have solid certainty about all estimates. Cardano team is international so coordination might a bit more demanding. When some small and seemingly unnecessary tasks are skipped at the beginning, it can happen that there will be unexpected delays just because they have to be handled later. And sometimes, plan or priorities changes.
Many engineers are very optimistic when asked how long some tasks could take. They are often wrong. In reality, tasks are usually more complex than engineers think. Team members change over time. IT gurus are a special kind. They like to change jobs very often. If a team expert leaves the team, it may take longer to find an adequate replacement. This also causes a delay. The IOHK team has a lot of members:
Delivering 90% of functionality can be relatively easy compared to the last 10%. The biggest problems can arise at the end of development when all the individual components are tested together. Problems encountered at the end of development must be addressed. This often means changing a lot of things or redesigning something. Testing itself is very demanding as a global network must be simulated or setup. In addition, the software must run on different versions of operating systems.
Let’s have a look at some famous software delays. Mac OS X was developed under the name Rhapsody and it was 1997. Version 1 release arrived after 4 years. Windows Vista was originally planned to ship in 2003. There was 3 years delay.
If you look for more examples, you will find many. A project like Cardano can’t simply be done in a year or two. If Shelley is launched this year, it will actually be very fast. If you look at examples from the crypto-world, you will see a big delay in the delivery of Ethereum 2.0. Count how long the Lightning Network has been built. And look at how many errors and failures we’ve seen. These failures have often led to large financial losses. If you were looking for reasons, you would find that it is caused by a badly designed or implemented software.
Of course, it is in the best interest of the team to deliver Cardano to the market as quickly as possible. But certainly not at the cost of technical imperfections. This is not a race against time. A year or two plays almost no role if we can see a really good, functional, and secure network capable of mass adoption.
Learn patience. Software delivery has its phases. First, everything has to be well thought out and designed. The team must be built. Then research and experiments are carried out. During this, the first source code can be written. Then the testing phase takes place. Only after all this can the network reach the public.
Testnet has been launched
Testnet has been running since the end of 2019. And it is a great success. The team expected an interest of about 100 pool operators. There are over 1000 registered pools. The network is stable and runs almost without problems. People’s interest in Cardano is huge. Community people are working on useful tools. Just check adapools.org or pooltool.io.
Pool operators have no problem communicating with the team. All problems are gradually solved and many of them very quickly.
Everyone in the world can run their own node and become a pool operator. Who claims that Cardano is just a wallet, he should try it for himself.
Do you like smart contracts? Do you want to write one? Well, you can try it. Cardano will have two programming languages Plutus and Marlowe. You can try both of them on the online playgrounds:
No Lambo, sorry
Cardano’s not here to get you a Lambo. Charles promised to deliver the most decentralized network, secure smart contracts, project governance and resolved scalability. All based on scientific research. If such a network can be delivered and people adopt it, only then can we say that the team has succeeded. Will that affect the price of ADA coins? Definitely yes. The team must be fully focused on development. Not for the price. So do not complain about the price. Nobody is going to help you. Only you are responsible.
Don’t be negatively influenced by some stupid article or video. Use common sense. IOHK is one of the best teams in the crypto. There is a lot of work behind this team. Everyone can look at it. Nothing is patented. Everything is open-source. We cannot forget to Emurgo and Cardano Foundation. These entities, too, are completely transparent, and much work can be seen behind them. See for yourself. If someone doesn’t see it and claims that Cardano is just a wallet, he must be blind and deaf. The delays in delivering such complex software as Cardano are quite common. Rather, it would be appropriate to say that the team is moving very fast. Cardano has come so far that neither Microsoft nor IBM will be able to compete. Thanks to Cardano, the whole crypto will move up a lot and be more relevant. If you don’t believe anything we have written, you have many opportunities to check it out. So don’t believe us, verify yourself.
A short history of cryptocurrencies has already shown us that running a main-net is far from enough to succeed. The project must be of sufficient quality to enable people to build or use something useful on it. This is not a race against time. Current projects are not serious competition for Cardano. Cardano’s mission is to become a financial and social operating system for the world. Quality is the key to mass adoption, not the delivery date.