The Alonzo Hard Fork – The Road To Cardano Smart Contracts

The launch of the Alonzo hard fork signals the next stage in the Cardano roadmap. This provides the path to the Goguen phase, which introduces smart contracts to the network. This will take place in multiple phases represented by colors. The current phase is called Alonzo Blue, to be followed by Alonzo White and Alonzo Purple. What is coming are the feature for developing applications. Alonzo is the upgrade that will allow developers to build DApps (Decentralized Applications) that run on a secure and mathematically verifiable network.

According to the Cardano testnet site:

“The ‘Alonzo’ hard fork will bring exciting and highly-anticipated new capabilities to Cardano through the integration of Plutus scripts onto the blockchain. These will allow for the implementation of smart contracts in Cardano, enabling the deployment of a wide range of new DeFi applications for the first time.”

Cardano (ADA) has been criticized for its slow development pace. This has anxious investors waiting for the release of products built on top of the Cardano blockchain. The Cardano team are doing this with purpose to be able to release a peer reviewed system that is stable, secure and quality tested. That can only be possible by following the roadmap set by the developers. It begins with the foundation to build a core network that was introduced in the Byron phase. Next came the decentralization of the core network, which was the purpose of the Shelley phase. Now comes the ability for developers to build on top of the Cardano blockchain, like how developers use the Ethereum blockchain for smart contracts and DApps.

The smart contracts used in Cardano are written using the Plutus programming language. It is based on the functional programming language Haskell, which is used for reliable and mission critical application development (e.g. aerospace and defense software). The aim here is to provide a more stable code for smart contracts, which are critical in nature. That means a more sound way to execute DApps on the network, that minimizes logic errors and capable of scalability.

The Alonzo Blue phase will bring the testnet live by the end of May 2021. It will be open to a select group of partners and developers to test the codebase. The Alonzo White phase comes around July 2021 and will bring in more participants for testing. Alonzo Purple will then open up the testnet to the public. This is in preparation for opening the system up to other users to test the performance of Cardano smart contracts. With these developments, the smart contract platforms will get more competitive in the cryptocurrency markets. Ethereum and Binance Smart Chain (BSC) are going to see a new platform to compete with.

Unlike most projects, Cardano has a reputation for being slow. Founder Charles Hoskinson wants to take the slow tortoise approach to development, rather than giving too many updates right away. The team’s objective is to release quality controlled and tested software that is reliable and secure. They want to make sure they avoid many bugs and flaws that could compromise the system. Perhaps we can now see the fruits of their labor.