Cardano’s big alonzo upgrade will bring ‘programmability’ to the blockchain, according to founder Charles Hoskinson – he’s going to wear a Ghostbusters costume to mark the occasion

Cardano
cardano SOPA Images
  • The alonzo upgrade will mean the cardano network will be able to support applications like smart contracts.
  • Cardano will gain a bigger foothold in the world of decentralized finance, competing with ethereum.
  • Founder Charles Hoskinson says he will wear a “Ghostbusters” costume to mark the launch.
  • Sign up here for our daily newsletter, 10 Things Before the Opening Bell.

Cardano’s big “alonzo” upgrade rolls out on Sunday and will usher in the network’s ability to run a range of crypto applications, from smart contracts to non-fungible tokens and aims to bring what founder Charles Hoskinson calls “programmability” to the blockchain.

Sunday marks the final, and most important stage of the alonzo series of upgrades that will help the network compete with the likes of ethereum – currently the biggest blockchain that can run applications other than a native cryptocurrency token. Smart contracts will enable the network to run decentralized finance applications, for example.

“One of the magical superpowers of cardano is that we built it with upgradability in mind,” Hoskinson told Insider in an interview.

“It means that cardano now supports programmability. That’s like when JavaScript came to the web browser. So, you go from static boring web pages, to Facebook and Google and YouTube,” he said.

Investors of all sizes have been buying into cryptocurrencies on a vast scale this year, partly out of a desire to diversify away from traditional assets like stocks or fiat currencies, but also because of the potential some of the various blockchains hold to revolutionize finance, trading and even art and entertainment.

For example, NFTs, which are essentially like digital collectors’ items that represent real-world assets like artwork, video and even virtual real estate, have been booming, endorsed by celebrities, sports stars and luxury brands.

Accessing these digital assets often requires a cryptocurrency. The prospect of having to use a blockchain’s native currency to buy an NFT, take part in an online game, or make a payment has been a big driver in some of the tokens whose networks offer, or will offer, these capabilities – cardano being one of them.

Since cardano announced in a video on August 13 that it would release the final alonzo “purple” update on September 12, the network’s native ada cryptocurrency has gained around 33% and is now the third largest digital coin by market value, with a capitalization of $US82 ($AU111) billion, according to coinmarketcap.com.

Bitcoin, the biggest crypto that boasts a market value of around $US884 ($AU1,202) billion, has gained around 4% in that time.

Another application that will run on the cardano network once the upgrade is complete are smart contracts – a piece of code that allows two or more parties to transact with one another without a central force like a commercial bank, or broker. Smart contracts are one of the cornerstones of decentralized finance and any network that can run them will be in demand.

This is a big step forward for a network that for years since it launched in 2017, was widely pilloried as a “ghost chain” – crypto-slang to describe a blockchain worth billions that ultimately has very little in the way of actual utilization.

“It’ll be a fun day. Everybody used to call us ‘the ghost chain’, and I bought the Ghostbusters uniform, so come September 12, I’ll be wearing it and we’ll have some fun,” Hoskinson said.