Long Beach (Coinchapter): IOHK CEO Charles Hoskinson announced that the Alonzo testnet could go live as soon as April. The testnet will bring smart contracts to Cardano and Hoskinson noted that, “For the first time ever, publicly, people will be able to write smart contracts and deploy them on Cardano.”
The Alonzo upgrade will come in the form of a hard fork this spring. Initially, smart contracts will be available for testing purposes only, with the full mainnet launch slated for August.
Adding smart contracts is a massive milestone for Cardano, as it will make the blockchain a legit competitor to Ethereum. Their DeFi ecosystem is built on an array of decentralized applications, all of which are based on smart contracts. That functionality is now coming to Cardano.
Earlier this month Cardano launched its Mary upgrade which allowed users to create custom tokens. This turned Cardano into a multi-asset network that can potentially support many kinds of different cryptocurrencies. When combined with the upcoming Alonzo launch, they could pose a serious threat to Ethereum.
Cardano already has some advantage over Ethereum
Cardano already has some advantages over Ethereum, namely the fact that it is faster and cheaper. This is largely because they don’t rely on smart contracts for token transactions. As such, transfer fees remain low, which is not the case for Ethereum which continues to see fees rise.
Questions do remain about the possibility of decentralized applications on the network however. While Ethereum thrives on dApps, it is unclear whether Cardano will fully buy into that industry. Some believe that Cardano can only compete with Ethereum if dApps are fully implemented. Hoskinson is not among those who think that way.
“We have very real problems with this DApp model,” Hoskinson said in a social media post. “And if the goal is just rampant speculation, Ponzi schemes, and no real use and utility and no ability to scale to billions and billions of people, I want nothing to do with that.”
The total value of the DeFi industry is nearly $40 billion and Cardano has the chance to expand into that market with the inclusion of smart contracts. But whether they want or need to, in order to be competitive with Ethereum, remains to be seen.