During the times of COVID-19, many businesses had to close and some had to adapt. Conferences and events all around the world were canceled, but many of them moved to online. The cryptocurrency industry is among those who found new ways for communication, education, and networking.
One of the biggest crypto online events of this year was Cardano Virtual Summit: Shelley Edition, which took place on July 2-3, 2020. The content was organized in 5 tracks, and the conference was attended by more than 10 000 participants.
As people entered the conference with their login details, they were welcomed by nice music in the digital hall, which might remind somebody computer game, and to others the simulation of the real conference. Apart from the main “Tracks” room, it was possible to check the agenda, visit exhibition halls, information desk, calligraphy lesson, meditation class, cocktail session, DJ set. In the first Exhibition Hall, there were IOHK, Cardano Foundation, EMURGO (for press only access), Sygnum, CVVC. By clicking on the booth visitors could see the company’s basic information, presentation videos, necessary links, and also speak with company representatives in the chat. Second Exhibition Hall hosted CryptoSupreme, University of Wyoming, Symphony of blockchains, EMURGO, Cardano Effect Podcast.
Although the conference ended, it is still possible to visit it for one more month and leave your feedback https://www.ubivent.com/start/cardanovirtualsummit All the videos should be available at IOHK youtube channel, some of them are already there. However, if you haven’t been at a big online event yet, I advise you to check the conference. Although, from the technical point of view, I’ve seen better events, (for example both the conference design and the networking, communication aspects might be improved), the content of the Cardano Virtual Summit was amazing, and this is what is the most important.
Philippe Pierre-Antoine (host of “The Cardano Effect Podcast”) started the conference on 2nd July 2020 with an introductory organizational speech about the conference. That speech followed with Charles Hoskinson’s Opening Keynote: Cardano 2020: Shelley Edition. In addition to “Main track” there were “Science”, “Enterprise”, “Community” and “Governance” rooms. Such classification of topics is a bit unusual for blockchain conferences and it indicated Cardano’s focus on science, governance in its attempt to become the world’s next financial system.
Two key speakers were Vinton Gray Cerf, one of the “fathers of the internet”, who spoke about “Architecting the internet - what I would have done differently…” and Stephen Wolfram, acclaimed author and mathematician. The content on the summit was very different, sometimes highly technical and complex, sometimes relaxing like visual performances, excursion in Barcelona. Rep. Tyler Lindholm presented Wyoming as a crypto-friendly state, and the University of Wyoming has a blockchain lab funded by IOHK.
There were many interesting presentations about smart contracts, functional programming, Haskell language, blockchain interoperability, staking pools, Ouroboros protocol, governance, Cardano geographical presence, legal aspects, supply chain, and many others. Almost every particular speech deserves an article written about it. It’s impossible to cover all the variety of topics mentioned in one article, but I will focus on some important points and announcements that were made during Cardano Virtual Summit.
I. cFund - $20M Fund for Cardano Ecosystem Startups
IOHK announced that it will launch “cFund” in partnership with the Wave Financial Group. IOHK is initially providing USD 10 million and Wave plans to raise a further minimum of USD 10 million from the investors. The fund will make investments worldwide with an investment volume of USD $250-500K and will support startups and early-stage companies from the Cardano ecosystem. These are amazing news and this brings bigger opportunities for entrepreneurs who are considering building dapps on Cardano or to use ADA in their business model.
II. The Cardano Community Ambassador Program - stage II.
As the Cardano community grows, more ambassadors join and enjoy exclusive benefits such as direct access to unique content and companies that build the Cardano ecosystem. Currently, there are more than 50 ambassadors of all ages and professions from almost 30 countries across the globe in 4 roles: Content Creators, Meetup Organisers, Moderators, Translators. Second stage of Ambassador program structured these roles, and the ADA rewards for them (monthly cap of US$300 per role, or $600 for Level-3 ambassadors who combine 3 roles)
III. Atala PRISM
Atala PRISM - is a decentralized identity system that will provide “self-sovereign” identities and access to a blockchain marketplace for financial and social services to millions of people without a “bank account”. As Charles Hoskinson said: “PRISM could give almost 2 billion unbanked people an economic identity, track global goods from source to sale, and de-risk investment in emerging markets.”
IV. Project Catalyst - Cardano proposal system
Project Catalyst, announced on the summit, is a system designed to enable ADA owners to propose and vote on financing proposals for the development of the Cardano ecosystem. The project will allow Cardano users to lock a certain amount of ADA for a limited period of time and vote on submitted proposals. Therefore this will bring Cardano governance to the next level and will become one more source of ecosystem growth and projects’ funding.
V. Project Atlas
Atlas is a platform (integrated desktop, mobile, or browser) where anyone can trade funds, cast a vote, or manage their digital identity. This solution will not only tell users about blocks and transactions but also aggregated statistics, rewards, stake pool metrics and comparisons. The first version should be released in the next few weeks and it’s possible to join Atlas as a beta tester.
VI. Plutus and Marlowe
The Plutus Platform is a smart contract development platform for Cardano, and Marlowe - a new language for modeling financial instruments as smart contracts on a blockchain.
Plutus features a Haskell SDK that allows developers to write high-assurance applications that interact with the Cardano blockchain. As the Cardano ecosystem grows, more developers will become interested both in the platform and new smart contracts language.
In conclusion, we can say that Shelley as nowaday Cardano era had a good start.
The Shelley update was implemented to the Cardano mainnet and the Shelley hard fork is expected on July 29. Staking functions should be available on August 18, 2020, and everyone interested in cardano staking will be able to do it from Daedalus or Yoroi wallets.