Cardano: Why All the FUD?
Cardano gaining significant praise as well as disdain, despite it being a well-developed product, is intriguing.
Looking around the many blockchains in existence, it is easy to lose your bearings as it becomes unclear what distinguishes them from one another, and what they each bring to the table.
What you might find around some of them is entire developmental ecosystems being established, as what we casually refer to as simply crypto or an altcoin is becoming something quite different: difficult to define exactly, but more akin to a tech company or a software platform.
One system that garners, from some people, significant praise, but from others relentless disdain for Cardano, and the fact that it weathers so much criticism despite being an obviously well-developed product, is intriguing.
The Cardano ecosystem/blockchain/platform (choose your preferred noun) has a distinct character. It is academic and at times a little serious. It comes across as overly prudent in a space often dominated by talk of lambos and sending it to the moon. Which is not to say that anyone involved with Cardano would object to a flashy car and some lunar price hikes.
If you’re a Cardano fan, then you’ll point out that it is precise, meticulous and clean. It focuses on technical precision and making things work, and remains unhurried and calm in the midst of an unusually frenzied and hype-driven industry. And, according to its supporters, it solves the blockchain trilemma, achieving decentralization, security and scalability.
On the flip side, if you’re a Cardano critic, then you’ll call its token a stablecoin due to its lack of price action (a claim which is difficult to square with ADA rising, this year, from around $0.2 to a temporary high of over $3). But, you’ll also note that it’s all good and well, making things that work smoothly, but if you don’t get those things to market until years after someone else’s imperfect creation has already taken first-mover advantage, then, well, you know how it works. And, there is certainly truth in that latter claim.
However, eavesdrop on the Cardano camp, and you’ll find an understated sense of anticipation simmering pacifically, so let’s take a look at what to expect.
Back in September, the Alonzo hard fork enabled smart contracts on Cardano, allowing for dApp development. What is still yet to come, though, is the Plutus Application Backend (PAB), expected in December/January. This is a backend environment and a toolset that should streamline and enhance the development process, and the expectation is that once PAB is fully up and running, there’ll be a major increase in dApp deployment.
DeFi and More
There are multiple DeFi platforms lining up on Cardano, and this looks like an area that is set to explode. Among the major competitors are SundaeSwap, MinSwap, Maladex, OccamFi, Meld, Liqwid and Ardana.
Empowa is an unusual DeFi platform in that it has a specific mission to enable house building and ownership in Africa. And, then there’s Atala Prism, which promotes itself as a “decentralized identity solution that enables people to own their personal data and interact with organizations seamlessly, privately and securely.”
SingularityNET is an ahead-of-the-game AI platform that, in its own words, “lets anyone create, share and monetize AI services at scale.” It has this year been in the process of migrating from Ethereum to Cardano, citing issues with speed and cost on Ethereum.
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This is just scratching the surface, and remember that, according to the critics themselves, Cardano hasn’t even really got started yet. But, it’s clear there’s plenty to dive into already, which gives an idea of how much action might potentially be about to be initiated.
NFTs, Gaming and the Metaverse
Whatever you personally think about NFTs, they are a potent way of onboarding people into the crypto environment. Beyond art and design, they have utility in blockchain gaming and metaverse projects. Gaming is an enormously profitable industry, and the hype around anything with the word metaverse attached is off the scale.
Cardano has a thriving NFT scene, and the first to deploy Cardano smart contracts have been NFT marketplaces (see Genesis House, Adapix and SpaceBudz, among others). In Pavia and Cornucopias, you can see a highly promising metaverse and gaming projects taking shape.
Beyond the Flak
Whatever its detractors might claim, Cardano has an early, Apple-like feel around it. Did it move slowly? Yes, but deliberately so, as slowly equated with carefully. Does it work? Very likely. Are development and use increasing? It appears so.
This is not to say there aren’t legitimate criticisms to be levelled at Cardano, and persuasive reasons to bet on its competitors (particularly Ethereum). The key factor now is whether or not developers are pulled in and dApps start to take off, and when it comes down to it, the only metric that will have a lasting significance is real-time use.
But, I still wonder, why is the criticism aimed at Cardano so off-the-scale and overblown?
Partly, because it has become fun to aim off-the-scale and overblow criticism at Cardano, what with Cardano being kind of nerdy.
But, is there something revealing about Cardano receiving this amount of flak? When something is genuinely not good, or insignificant, it isn’t given sustained attention.
With Cardano, the attacks are constant. Maybe, beneath the trash talk, there is a realisation that all that academic meticulousness might just pay off. Perhaps Cardano works. And, if it does, then there’s a threat to any existing system.
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