Cardano’s native cryptocurrency ADA has been on a roll since the beginning of February, seeing a price increase of over 100 percent since the beginning of the month. And while the overall bull market has been partly responsible for ADA’s price hike, the rally is mostly fueled by the major developments inside IOHK and a number of hugely important releases planned for this year.
Cardano’s smart contract era is getting closer to launch
Goguen, the era of the Cardano blockchain that will unlock its smart contract functionality, has been in development for at least as long as Shelley has. The teams behind the blockchain have been working on almost all of its phases simultaneously to ensure smooth launches and minimal performance issues.
The first of the two hard fork combinator (HFC) events set to unlock Goguen took place on February 3rd, bringing native assets to the Cardano testnet. At the end of February, the same upgrade is set to roll out to the Cardano mainnet and transform Cardano into a DeFi platform.
The market reacted strongly to the upgrade, as Cardano is one of the few, if not the only blockchain platforms, that handles tokenization natively. This means that user-defined tokens on Cardano act exactly the same as its native cryptocurrency does. Having native assets built into the ledger means that transactions between native tokens and assets do not incur execution fees, making DeFi applications much more affordable and efficient.
The network will become fully community-controlled in less than two months
While decentralization has been the biggest talking point of the crypto industry in the past year, only a handful of networks have actually taken concrete steps to become fully community-owned and operated.
IOHK, the company behind Cardano, is set to give up all control over block production on the network on March 31st., when the d-parameter will go down to zero. The d-parameter is a metric used to represent the percentage of blocks that are produced by IOHK. When Shelley, Cardano’s staking era, was launched last year, the parameter was set at 1, meaning that 100 percent of the blocks on the network were produced by the company.
With each epoch, the value of the d-parameter slightly decreased and is set to reach zero on epoch 257. Once d reaches zero, IOHK’s only role in the Cardano ecosystem will be to continue developing the network until its mandate runs out.
Knowing that the network you invest in cannot be controlled by its founding company was certainly something that attracted many users to Cardano, pushing ADA’s price well past $0.71 at one point this week.
IOHK’s Africa deals could bring millions of new users to Cardano
Both IOHK and the Cardano Foundation have been outspoken about the potential Africa has for blockchain adoption, frequently investing in various development and education programs across the continent. Charles Hoskinson, the CEO of IOHK, revealed late last year that the company was working on a number of projects involving Cardano aimed exclusively at Africa.
And while the public will have to wait for the end of the month to hear concrete information about the project, the latest reports have shown that IOHK’s “major” African project is in its final stages of development.
In a recent interview with the Proof of Africa, IOHK’s director of African Operations John O’Connor revealed that the company was in the final stages of a large government contract in Africa. When launched, the project could onboard millions of new users onto the Cardano platform and become one of the largest real-world implementations of blockchain technology.
What is clear is that almost all of the projects IOHK is working on in Africa will be based on Atala PRISM, IOHK’s identity solution based on Cardano. O’Connor revealed that the company has “reasonable plans” to onboard 100 million users on this identity platform within the next couple of years.
The possibility of having tens, and maybe even hundreds of millions of users on Cardano in the next two years has certainly rallied up the market. There has been an increase both in ADA’s trading volume and the number of new ADA wallets created, indicating that the market has been reacting strongly to the positive news coming from Cardano.