The Vasil hard fork has successfully taken place on the Cardano network yesterday.
Cardano. Vasil hard fork is a reality
🎊 #Vasil deployed!!
— Cardano Foundation (@CardanoStiftung) September 22, 2022
The Cardano network evolves through hard forks, and Vasil was part of the network upgrade roadmap. It was therefore a necessary, and important, step in the evolution of this technology.
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The Vasil upgrade will bring significant improvements to the Cardano network, especially in terms of performance and capacity. It will indeed increase throughput, which is the volume of transactions that can be handled in the unit of time, and improve the experience for developers through improved script performance, with greater efficiency and lower costs.
The Cardano project was launched in September 2017, but there are still not many decentralized protocols operating specifically on this network.
For example, as far as DeFi is concerned, the Cardano network is only ranked 27th in TVL (Total Value Locked), surpassed even by Bitcoin. To date less than $83 million has been locked on DeFi protocols on Cardano, compared to, for example, $32 billion on Ethereum, and $5 billion on Tron and Binance Smart Chain.
Even outside of DeFi there are still not many dApps running on Cardano, while there are now many running on other blockchains such as Ethereum, Solana, or Polygon.
Cardano’s development has not been lightning fast because it is progressing in stages and cautiously. This has meant slow growth that has yet to experience a real boom which would attract thousands of developers with hundreds of successful projects.
Despite this, its ADA cryptocurrency has enjoyed some success over time. Even today, excluding stablecoins, it still ranks fifth overall in market capitalization, behind XRP but ahead of Solana’s SOL.
The success of the Vasil update has given a slight boost to ADA’s value in the crypto markets, which has risen 6% in the past 24 hours. However, the current price is only slightly higher than it was a week ago, and in line with the value it had a month ago.
The current level is almost 85% below the all-time high of September 2021, and in fact currently stands at the levels of early February 2021, which was before the speculative bubble of last year was triggered on the price of ADA.
From this point of view, the historical trend of the price of ADA follows the historical evolution of the Cardano project, although to date the latter has not yet produced results similar to those achieved by, for example, even younger projects such as Solana or Binance Smart Chain.
Cardano’s price trend
Except for the speculative bubble of late 2017, when the price of ADA went from $0.05 to $1.2 in just over a month, it has long remained below $0.3. Indeed, by the end of 2018 the price was even back below $0.05, but by May 2020 it had begun an initial ascent when there was an acceleration in the technology development process.
Specifically, in July 2020 there was the first big leap forward with the launch of the Shelley phase. The price of ADA soared all the way above $0.14, which was more than triple its value since late 2018.
In early 2021 the transition to the third phase of the project, called Goguen, began, and the price of ADA soared. What’s more, the great bullrun of 2021 had begun, so the two added up producing a real surge.
Indeed, by the end of January, the price of ADA had already risen to $0.35, while by February it had even skyrocketed to $1.3, setting a new all-time high.
Following the boom in the crypto market, in May 2021 it exceeded $2, but later fell below $1.2.
In September 2021, came the Alonzo update that finally added support for smart contracts on the mainnet. Up to that point it was very difficult to get real smart contracts to run on Cardano, so it was a momentous implementation for this network.
In fact, the price of ADA skyrocketed again reaching an all-time high of $3. This was 30 times the value of 12 months earlier. In other words, during the speculative bubble of 2021 the price of ADA went up +2,900%.
As early as late September 2021, the bubble began to deflate, and since then the price has fallen almost steadily back to around $0.4. This is still well above the $0.1 it had before the 2021 bullrun was triggered, but in line with the level in February of the same year.
In light of this, it is not all that surprising that the Vasil update did not have a similar impact on the price of ADA as, for example, Alonzo, because during 2021 not only was a bullrun dominated by overenthusiasm underway, but crypto markets were also dominated by FOMO (Fear Of Missing Out). For several months now, there has been neither enthusiasm nor FOMO in the markets, thus missing the major impetus for purchases of cryptocurrencies.
Before we return to some kind of normality, it will be necessary for all the fallout generated by the overenthusiasm of 2021 to be disposed of, and this may take some more time.
Nonetheless, in the absence of excess enthusiasm the development of crypto projects can proceed more calmly and rationally, something that probably pleases the developers very much, and perhaps even more so the developers of Cardano. Indeed, Cardano has always had a slow but steady, rational and well-organized development, which does not sit well with the nervousness of the financial markets.
Therefore, a new phase of calm and continuous development has now begun for the Cardano project, in which the pressures for developers may have been significantly reduced, compared to last year.
According to IOHK, Vasil is actually even the most ambitious development program they have ever undertaken.
— Input Output (@InputOutputHK) September 22, 2022
In fact, the new era of Cardano will begin on 27 September, and the new Plutus V2 cost model will be active on the chain, making comprehensive new features available to developers.
It is worth noting that the consequences of this update are not immediate, but will have to wait until at least 27 September to see them fully unfold. In other words, it will take weeks or months to be able to see if these updates have really been able to help developers create new dApps on Cardano.
Truth be told, it will not be easy for Cardano to catch up with the gap that still divides it from, for example, Binance Smart Chain, Solana, or Tron. Ethereum is unreachable for anyone, so it plays a competition of its own, while Terra self-destructed in May. Even Avalanche, which seemed very well established until May, has suffered a significant backlash with Terra’s implosion, but at the same time Polygon is emerging as a high-growth entity.
So excluding Bitcoin and Ethereum, which are going their own way and effectively no longer competing with anyone, the undergrowth of more or less decentralized blockchains competing to emerge is quite rich, and consists of both high-cap but relatively little-used blockchains, such as Cardano, and blockchains that are not yet particularly high-cap but are already widely used, such as Polygon. In between there are also very high-cap and widely used ones, such as Binance Smart Chain.
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