Shelley mainnet arrives to enable many blockchain-based potential use cases for Cardano

IOHK, the blockchain research and development company developing Cardano has successfully implemented the most important upgrade to the Cardano blockchain yet, the Shelley hard fork. The upgrade will deliver true decentralization through its advanced Ouroboros consensus algorithm and scientifically researched incentives scheme.

From now onwards the Cardano mainnet will be running Shelley. This means that stake pools will be able to register on-chain and be visible to delegators, and that delegators will be able to delegate to stake pools as soon as they are registered. This delegation process allows any individual who holds ADA to delegate their ADA – the native cryptocurrency of the Cardano blockchain, to a stake pool to earn rewards, and thus be financially incentivized to keep the network running accurately. It will also include stake pool operation where ADA holders with the required knowledge can operate a stake pool and receive a monetary award for doing so.

“Decentralization is at the core of everything IOHK does, from the way we structure our company to the blockchain which we have painstakingly built over the last 5 years. The possibilities that this upgrade creates are enormous, this time next year we could see hundreds of assets and decentralized applications running on Cardano, as well as countless innovations and some truly world-changing blockchain use cases.”
Charles Hoskinson, CEO of IOHK

Cardano is set to reach equilibrium around 1,000 stake pools, a number already achieved during the platform’s ‘testnet’ phase, making it far more secure than other networks, which are often controlled by less than 10 mining pools, exposing them to serious risk of compromise. Following the launch, 485 of these stake pools are already up and running.

Pool operators will be able to set up and register their pools immediately after the hard fork is complete. Since many pools will have been already running on testnet, this should only take a few hours of configuration time. These pools will then show up in Daedalus immediately after they have been registered, and ADA holders will be able to pick any active pool they want to delegate their stake to.

Shelley represents just the first step in a series of network improvements over the months ahead that are set to transform the entire industry. In fact, by the end of 2020 IOHK expects to have delivered Project Catalyst, a democratic governance model, which will enable the Cardano community to vote on the development of the blockchain, including software updates, technical improvements, funding decisions and the broader long-term future of the system.

“The Shelley hard fork is the culmination of 5 years’ hard work to create a robust blockchain which is not only built to last, but solves all of the fundamental problems that blockchain technology has encountered since its creation such as interoperability, scalability to meet global demands and, crucially, sustainability. It’s a monumental achievement, but this doesn’t mean we’ll be standing still, and we’re looking forward to the delivery of the Voltaire and Goguen phases of the Cardano roadmap, which will see robust governance arrangements and smart contracts functionality put in place this year.”
Aparna Jue, Product Director at IOHK