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The Cardano Roadmap:
Building the Ecosystem in Five Steps

The Cardano Roadmap - Building the Ecosystem in Five Steps

What is Cardano?

Cardano is a cryptocurrency platform that uses a less energy-intensive method of maintaining its computer network than bitcoin uses. It doesn’t require any special computers, just a desktop application you can install on any computer.

Cardano is one of the largest and most active blockchains. There are currently over 900 projects building on Cardano. The native token of Cardano, ADA is among the Top 10 cryptocurrencies in the world by total value.

Cardano Development

Drawing from his experience as a co-founder of Ethereum and seeing the ups and down of that blockchain, Cardano founder Charles Hoskinson wanted to ensure that the entire framework of this new blockchain was done right from the beginning.

The development of the Cardano ecosystem has followed a roadmap that has been organized into five phases or eras, named after five intellectual masters. In sequence the phases are Byron, Shelley, Goguen, Basho, and Voltaire. Each combines years of effort and focuses on a set of functionalities that is broken down further into multiple code releases.

Byron: “Foundation” (Completed)


Lord George Gordon Byron was a member of the English nobility and a poet who died while fighting for the Greeks in their war of independence against the Ottoman Empire. His daughter, Ada Lovelance was the first recorded computer programmer, and the namesame of ADA, the native token of the Cardano blockchain.

The Byron era set up the foundation for Cardano, including:

  • The Daedalus wallet, IOHK’s official desktop wallet for ada
  • The Yoroi, a light wallet from IOHK’s sister company Emurgo designed for quick transactions and day-to-day use.
  • The launch and growth of the Cardano community.

Shelley: Decentralization (Ongoing)


Like Byron, Percy Bysshe Shelley was a leading poet in the English Romanticism movement, known for being politically radical for his time.

The Shelley era of Cardano has been marked by robust growth and development for the network. Unlike the Byron era, which began at a single point in time when the mainnet was launched, the transition to Shelley is designed to achieve a smooth, low-risk transition without service interruptions.

By the end of the Shelley era, Cardano is expected to be 50-100 times more decentralized than other large blockchain networks, with the rewards system designed to cause stabilization at around 1,000 stake pools. In comparison, other prominent blockchain networks are often controlled by less than 10 mining pools.

Goguen: Smart Contracts (Ongoing)

Joseph Goguen

This era was named after American computer scientist Joseph Goguen, who made lasting contributions to the field.

In the Goguen era, smart-contracts were introduced and are now being battle tested, adding greater capability to the Cardano network. A smart contract is just a name for a program stored on a blockchain that runs when predetermined conditions are met.

Basho: Scaling (Upcoming)


Basho was a poetry master from 17th century Japan.

The fourth era for Cardano will be an era of optimization and for improving the scalability and interoperability of the network. The focus of Basho will be to improve the underlying performance of the Cardano network to better support growth and adoption for applications with high transaction volume.

This includes the introduction of what’s known as a sidechain, which is a new blockchain that is fully interoperable with the main Cardano chain, with immense potential to extend the capabilities of the network. Sidechains can be used to off-load work from the main chain to increase the capacity of the network.

Voltaire: Governance (Upcoming)


Voltaire was a prolific writer, poet and scientist as well as one of the most legendary philosophers in history. This Frenchman was an outspoken advocate of civil liberties, it is only appropriate that the phase where a decentralized governance model was developed was named after him.

The Voltaire era of Cardano will provide the final pieces required for the Cardano network to become a self-sustaining system. With the introduction of a voting and treasury system, network participants will be able to use their stake and voting rights to influence the future development of the network. THis will enable the Cardano network to become truly decentralized.

While the phases of Cardano are being completed and delivered to the public sequentially, the work for each phase is happening simultaneously. The work being invested includes research, prototyping and development.

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This content is for educational purposes only. It does not constitute trading advice. Past performance does not indicate future results. Do not invest more than you can afford to lose. The author of this article may hold assets mentioned in the piece.


Alexandre Lores is a personal finance writer from Tampa Bay, Florida, with the goal to help one million people achieve financial freedom. He has spent over five years studying markets and economics, finding Bitcoin in 2017 and never turning back. He frequently appears on TV and in online news articles and is a regular Twitter spaces host.

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