Cardano is one step closer to launching its Shelley mainnet—its long awaited upgrade. In a private beta, it has created the first block in its Shelley blockchain. This is essentially a test version of its Genesis block, which will be created when the mainnet goes live.

Cardano's head of engineering, Duncan Courts, reported first that it had been created. Cardano founder, Charles Hoskinson, confirmed the news in a tweet today.

"Meanwhile in Cardano land, a Wizard arrives precisely when he means to!" Hoskinson quipped, in a reference to the Lord of the Rings.

Hoskinson explained on Twitter that the block was produced within the "friends and family" stage of Shelley's initialization.

In a recent video, Hoskinson elaborated that Shelley would be rolled out in several phases. First comes the closed-test phase—which kicked off today with Shelley's first block. This will be closely followed by a "hybrid phase," which will enable users to upgrade from the incumbent Byron blockchain to Shelley.

After that, the mainnet proper will ship. This will allow anyone to stake their coins on the network, locking them up as collateral while maintaining the blockchain and receiving rewards for doing so.

IOHK recently announced another critical development in the form of mainnet wallet, Daedalus. As reported by Decrypt, the wallet aims to deliver improved speed and security for the Cardano ecosystem. Alongside a menagerie of features, Daedalus boasts a blockchain syncing time of around an hour—as opposed to the previous wallets 9-14 hour benchmark.

The wallet was launched on the recently rebooted Byron blockchain. This reboot led the ecosystem away from the previous Serokell code and will ultimately facilitate the transition toward the Shelley hardfork.

With Daedalus up and running, and the initial test phase underway, Cardano is finally achieving some of its goals. And it’s only a few years behind schedule.

Update: Clarified information in the introduction about the nature of the block that has been created.

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