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But on Monday, Cardano unveiled a new focus on commercial success as it powers towards a February hard fork.
From his Colorado office, Charles Hoskinson, CEO of Cardano development firm IOHK, announced that business consulting giant PwC had been engaged to accelerate the commercialization of Cardano, as the launch of its “Shelley” mainnet nears.
Hoskinson revealed, during his broadcast update, that technical development is also proceeding at pace. The platform was recently named “the busiest project in 2019,” by analytical platform Santiment. But that’s not all—new deals are being inked with governments and big commercial players, such as IBM.
PwC will focus on product marketing and align work done by Cardano’s commercial arm, Emurgo, and the Cardano Foundation, said Hoskinson.
The onerous conditions that cryptocurrency exchanges insist on, such as Know-Your-Customer and Anti-Money-Laundering stipulations, will also be addressed, so they can easily onboard Cardano’s ADA token in the future, he explained.
— Vasil St. Dabov - Cardano Ambassador (@VStDabov) January 28, 2020
The work will start in February, and PwC will be implementing data gleaned from McCann—the multinational advertising company with a client list that includes Microsoft and LinkedIn. In December, the advertising powerhouse was tasked with rebranding Cardano to achieve the last step in global adoption, brand recognition.
“There’s a lot of USPs [Unique Selling Points] in the Cardano ecosystem that require more tender love and care,” said Hoskinson, expressing his disappointment that a Wikipedia article on proof of stake had failed to include Cardano’s defining algorithm Ouroboros, as a solution to proof of stake.
“We are the first venture in the entire world to actually fully solve proof-of-stake, as a problem of computer science,” he said. “It’s very important that we bridge that gap and we get very good content out to market to explain what we’ve done.”
Hoskinson’s announcement signals that the project is verging on market readiness after two years of intensive development. Its “Shelley” mainet launch is planned within months, and a preparatory hard fork—to integrate Ouroboros byzantine-fault-tolerant (BFT) consensus into the existing Shelley testnet—is due in February.
A successful fork would bring Cardano closer to its objective of becoming a completely decentralized, smart-contract platform.
Hoskinson is also finally satisfied with the latest implementation of its Haskell code base, an industrial strength product that delivers the resilience necessary for mission-critical systems.
“This is the foundation upon which all code for the entire Cardano roadmap will be launched,” he said. The code base has been rewritten three times, by different teams, using rigorous methodology.
“We’re on a two week sprint structure with the Haskell side,” he said, adding that he was sleeping mainly in his Colorado office these days.
“Things are looking pretty good, and things are basically where they need to be for this year,” he said.
The busiest crypto project of 2019
Cardano has never been shy of commercial aspirations. Last week, Hoskinson announced a partnership with IBM for a software distribution project, and last year, Cardano partnered with New Balance to enable tracking of the sportswear giant’s goods for authenticity.
All this activity backs up the platform's position as the busiest crypto project of 2019, in a report published last month by Santiment, which analyzed over 1000 cryptocurrencies within the 12 months. Ethereum came second in the Santiment survey, in recognition of the major developmental effort going into the impending Ethereum 2.0 upgrade.
Renewed competition between supporters of the two rival platforms surfaced on Sunday, when a popular Redditor, Tradefeedz, accused developers working on Eth 2.0 of purloining Cardano’s architecture. The accusation was effectively denied by Vitalik Buterin.
The Ethereum cofounder posted a sarcastic riposte insinuating that this was like saying Tesla had ripped off Ford by giving cars four wheels.
Get ready for a battilicious 2020, boys and girls.