Cardano inventor Charles outlined the long-term roadmap for Cardano into 2025 in one of his infamous blackboard videos yesterday. Looking ahead to the near future, the Input Output Global CEO revealed that the “Alonzo” hard fork combinator event will be announced with the Cardano 360 show in late April, assuming the previously unveiled Goguen era rollout plan works as planned. After that, implementing peer-to-peer functionality will be a big focus.
After Voltaire, the focus will be on examining “what the year 2025 will look like.” As Hoskinson explained, some work has already been put into the vision, with himself, Input Output Global’s CTO, and an as-yet-unannounced consulting firm working on the roadmap for Cardano 2025.
Ouroboros’ Omega, however, is at the center of the work. The research paper for this will bring together all previous studies – from Ouroboros Classic in 2016, Ouroboros Praos in 2017, Ouroboros Genesis in 2018, and Ledger Redux, Ouroboros Chronos and Ledger Combiners.
In terms of deployment, the new consensus mechanism is expected to provide fast finality, sidechains, an elegant solution against 51% attacks, and throughput at the base layer that is greater than the previously planned 1,000 transactions per second (TPS), among other features.
The mechanism is also expected to undergo continuous development. Hoskinson called this “Ouroboros Omega++”. The research paper is expected to be published this year, before the announcement of “Cardano 2025,” along with a prototype.
Another topic will be light clients, but “without trust assumptions” as is necessary with the Yoroi wallet, for example. The wallet must be accessed through a central server. Complicated cryptographic procedures are needed to get around this. Currently, the best-known example, Hoskinson said, is Mina Protocol, which uses Recursive Zero-Knowledge Proofs (SNARKs).
We’ve been following stuff like that, we’ve been following what’s going on with bulletproofs which is a type of SNARK, we’ve been taking a look at what we can do with the stake pool operators, and we have something we call the Mithral Protocol […] we’ve been working on it for quite a long time. The paper is also coming out this year. My hope is that we’ll have a prototype this year.
Ultimately, with the light clients and the Mithral protocol, IOG wants every wallet (Daedalus, Yoroi, and others) to become a light client and not have to sync the entire blockchain.
In the area of sidechains, IOG is exploring the possibility that there are numerous sidechains, called CCLs, for computation purposes, such as for the Ethereum Virtual Machine (EVM), for IELE, for Project Catalyst, WASM, and domain-specific computations. In addition, sidechains will allow switching between permissioned and permissionless blockchain versions of Cardano.
IOG will also propose a Cardano Improvement Proposal (CIP), one of the first to be voted on by the ADA community, which is about an HFC event. Hoskinson explained:
Basically update the monetary policy to include an incentive to run EVM IELE in Catalyst sidechain, and also include some very cool resource models that will come. There are some really cool things in the industry down with Cosmos, parachains on Polkadot. A lot of people have some really cool ideas, and what we’re trying to do is, kind of look at what the industry has done, and look at the different arguments.
A third area where there will be news as early as this year is off-chain infrastructure and layer-2 solutions. The latter is Hydra, where there should be an update as early as April. Regarding the infrastructure, Hoskinson revealed:
One is Prism. There’s a lot of deal flows with Prism which will be announced. This is basically did embedding, and this is worthwhile to have its own video. I’m probably gonna do that. […] This is basically for authenticated wallets, KYC, AML scenarios, a regulated DeFi space, […] human-readable addresses.
Other topics include quantum computing resilience (in 2025) and merging Project Catalyst with the Voltaire era, with first steps coming as early as late 2021 and a completion of the process planned for 2022. As part of this, the Cardano blockchain is to receive a “DAO-as-a-Service” so that any decentralized applications (dApps) do not have to create their own DAO, but can use the existing infrastructure.
In this context, IOG plans to move Cardano from a plutocratic system to a hybrid system (“proof of merit”), where not only ADA holders have voting rights, but also holders of other tokens. However, the concept is “more likely for 2025”, Hoskinson said.
Last but not least, IOG is also thinking about implementing a Python and Rust-based reference client in addition to the current Haskell-based client.
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