Cardano Past and Present Challenges

This post I wanted to cover some past and present challenges in Cardano.

Disclaimer: I support Cardano since 2017 but I am not a machine and I reflect, reflection is not a bad thing.

I tweet every day like crazy positively about Cardano and there is a lot to be happy about but there are some things that I wish were better. Some things are “gone with the wind” but other issues can still be fixed.

I believe this blog post is supposed to make us stronger and now be afraid of “inconvenient truth”.

Byron Reboot was way too long
It took two years from 2018 — 2020 to rewrite badly written Haskell code. We always knew there were two teams working, one fast, one slow but what was a surprise that it took so long to realise code was badly written…

Identify earlier that fast Haskell team produces unmaintainable code that will cause rewrite down the line and should have stopped them earlier on.

KEVM DEC 2020 DEV NETS
To say this was far from ideal is an understatement, some old version of KEVM with EVM was shipped on dev net. Nobody could do almost anything with this. 1 year later nobody knows what happened with this, looks like ditched project but alternatively Mamba will come out of this. Out of this small disaster the whole pivot to Plutus came and we got smart contracts on 12 Sept 2021. It still is a huge riddle for me, how Charles and management at IOHK didn’t know that Scala client was so far from ideal.

Do not annoy devs fired up with prehistoric version of KEVM to go and play to devnets because you will just frustrate devs and waste their precious time.

Mamba
There is very little information about this, informally I found out that this is a side chain of Cardano planned for 2022, which will use K(EVM) and connection to ETC network. With such a huge amount of content coming from IOHK, I don’t know why Mamba is not mentioned or mentioned briefly.

Release official blog post about Mamba and what benefits will this bring, what problem does it solve?

Emurgo
At this stage I don’t even know who would be happy with Emurgo, their wallet doesn’t work very well, they providing some training but they could do so much more considering how much money was pre-mined to them. They could easily become as professional development company as IOHK is. Emurgo is far cry from what we as community expect delivery and performance of such a company with such an insane amount of pre-mined ADA. Last but not least Emurgo has private pools and doesn’t even stake this ADA with Cardano community pools.

Change Emurgo’s leadership team somehow, if we cannot do this as community, this is seriously messed up. Since when is it good to have some entity / government that cannot be replaced (voted out)?

Cardano Retail Users / Development Community
We have quite a lot of development experts in Cardano community but I still believe Cardano is far from, e.g. Ethereum ecosystem. I am working hard to attract as many DEVs as possible, e.g. we as Cardano Fans, every Friday have ZOOM sessions for developers. 1 hour 13.15 — 14.15 CET.

Cardano users should support developers, e.g. donate to them but also bring developers in (friends / family). As an example Cardano Fans (CRFA) stake pool wrote an open source app to help to minimise costs and help with regular donation process. Even regular small ADA contributions could help a lot. Contact us for support — (fanscardano@gmail.com):

Slow uncovering of the “truth”
There is nothing that IOG or any organisation supporting Cardano lies about. I believe there is sincerity but.. some challenges are hidden in scientific papers. For many people concurrency challenge was a shocker and while there are solutions and eUTxO is very parallelizable, it took many by surprise, another great example of what took people by surprise was Sundae Swap ISPOs (Initial Stake Pool Offering), people thought less known SPOs will have some chance but actually by design it was always about well known SPOs because Cardano’s way to of doing “sidechains / scooper / off-chain batchers” FOR NOW is by using Ouroboros SPOs as trusted parties for scoopers / off-chain batchers. Naturally the most known (often multi-pool operators) will be most trusted. I am hoping this is challenge that we can overcome for future ISPOs but also that over time when we get Hydra L2 with some extensions then we will not need Scoopers or off-chain batchers (at least for order book style DEXes).

Mention to the community what are technical challenges openly but not in a sense of FUDing but rather that some solution needs to be found. This could also be a good thing because some community members in the spirit of decentralised brain could start looking for solutions (research) or even start implementing them (development).

Multi Poolers
We preaching decentralisation yet there is a group of community multi pool operators (MPOs) that somehow is immune to feedback that they should not be running so many pools. Some say, they support charities, others that they are many family members behind many pools. It all sounds like excuses. There is a lot of hypocrisy here. Absolutely the funniest to observe is when one multi pool operator attacks other because he/she runs too many pools or according to them — does not provide sufficient value to the Cardano ecosystem, where as in many cases objectively the attacker provides less value than the multi pool SPO which is being attacked. Double standards. I must confess I have imagined it differently. Last but not least multi pool operators are not all bad but in many many cases the value that they produce is far cry from the number of monthly ADA income they receive (very inefficient system).

Solution should be education and community push but for sure not raising a0 (PLEDGE param) as some suggest (!!!). Raising pledge is like trying to put up a fire with gasoline!

1PCT pools
I have no clue and what for these pools are supported and nobody knows. There is zero social engagement with operators of these pools. Try to avoid delegating to 0% pools because this is also very bad idea in terms of security of the network. Why? Contact us or watch on YouTube videos from Sebastian on this topic, CTO dcSpark.

Stop delegating to almost useless pools like multi pool operators: 1PCT and avoid delegation to 0% pools like fire.

Alonzo Hard Fork
Many people had unrealistic expectations that when this goes onto main-net DeFi will appear within a few weeks, as usually expectations didn’t match reality. Charles mentioned this a few times that off-chain infrastructure needs to be improved to reap full benefits but people either didn’t listen or didn’t want to listen. Alonzo HFC comes and community hears that there are a few HFC events needed to optimise transactions because Alonzo transaction is almost 10 times bigger than a typical simple Cardano transaction. Life is life and I think it was way better to release something unoptimised and let others start integrating but inexperienced investors need to be super patient and this is far from easy for them.

Try to communicate better and make it clearer to manage expectations, e.g. via blog posts.

BASHO so late on the roadmap
As we know scalability for blockchains is tricky as hell, Ethereum struggles, Bitcoin struggles, everybody struggles, yet Cardano has this very late in their roadmap. Perhaps it has to be so late because it is being build up in layers but from a user / investor point of view this is really scary because one of most risky things is … left to the end. While I don’t think Cardano is a scam as others say (it is insulting to the team and all of us) but I believe, that some say it is a scam because there is such a slow development and BASHO is so late and “execution truth” us uncovering slowly. For many folks there is execution risk, many do not trust scientific method. Working code is a working code (more pragmatic folks), scientific papers are papers. So far all papers turned into workable code but it requires closely following of the project but let’s not forget that past performance is not guide to the future performance.

What is the most risky in BASHO era: input endorsers + DAG (is science on DAGs clear?), blockchain pipelining ala Algorand, how many TPS can Cardano realistically pull off on L1 considering blocks have to propagate within 5 secs, will it be possible to implement all Hydra L2 extensions in a reasonable timeframe (until end of 2022) and will Hydra L2 be secure enough, last but not least, will Hydra work for all DeFi use cases — also those that require global state synchronisation, will it be possible to easily integrate off the shelf ZkRollup solution with Cardano?

Massive Cardano FUD campaign
This is mostly related to slow and methodological approach of Cardano but it is becoming increasingly visible that some Crypto Twitter influencers do not support Cardano for whatever reason., e.g. NataschaChe, RaoulPal, Novogratz, etc. It is clearly visible that VC side of Crypto Twitter is at war (sometimes covered up and sometimes open without beating around the bush) with Cardano. We also see that some people are funding bots on twitter to FUD Cardano. At times it feels that Cardano is to other cryptocurrencies what Bitcoin is to existing legacy financial system.

#BUIDL but also correct FUD on twitter, others read messages and lies can be corrected with *FACTS*. Fighting FUD on negative price action or from VCs is exhausting for all of the Cardano community.

Cardano needs Dev Tooling
Catalyst is an experiment but many people had their eye brows seriously raised with astonishment that Fund 7 got … 200k USD for Open Source Dev Tooling. It needs ideally 10x this amount considering Gougen was just delivered.

All people voting on Catalyst need to understand what phases Cardano is in and listen to the domain experts.

DCF (Decentralised Fund) cannot come soon enough
Catalyst is an experiment, many Cardano users will not have experiences for complex decisions and challenge setting as of Fund 7 is almost completely decentralised. Idea of Decentralised Fund is a mix between centralised funding and decentralised. This cannot come soon enough for Cardano to help accelerate Gougen roadmap completion.

Bring DCF to live as quickly as possible and work on education for Cardano community that dev tooling is important. No advanced products will come out quickly without dev tooling.

Glow — DSL
Glow DSL was sold to community as another way to do smart contracts without having to learn Plutus. 1 year later, there is zero Glow code, nobody knows what will happen with it. Looks abandoned.

Manage expectations for the community, mention this is very early R&D, there is a risk of incorrect and overly inflated expectations of the Cardano community for something like Glow programming language.

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