Cardano founder Charles Hoskinson revealed on August 14 that the project would make a special announcement the following day.
In the video, Hoskinson specifically refers to two projects that the team has been working on.
The first, Prometheus, is a toolbox to power different kinds of wallets. However, It is the second project that forms the special announcement on August 15. Called Icarus, it is a reference project that other developers can use to build lightweight wallets for Cardano on browsers and mobile devices.
The Cardano roadmap has been updated with a special announcement on Project Icarus, a reference implementation for lightweight wallets, and Yoroi, a light-client wallet launched by Emurgo today! Head to the roadmap for details on both projects: https://t.co/uOThpgSdbj
— Cardano Foundation (@CardanoStiftung) August 15, 2018
Icarus is a Google Chrome extension that is essentially a full wallet, but without a copy of the blockchain on it. This distinguishes it from their other wallet, Daedalus, and effectively makes it a light wallet that can operate on lite clients, while offering full functionality.
The project was inspired by Google’s approach to Android development. The tech giant offers a base vanilla experience that acts as a reference implementation, but vendors can customize it based off of the fundamental code.
The full functionality and lightweight nature of Icarus will ensure that Cardano can work efficiently on a wider range of devices. This is especially helpful for those with poor connectivity, as the blockchain will not have to be downloaded.
Hoskinson also said that it will be easy for Icarus to be ported to Mozilla Firefox and mobile applications. In doing so, it becomes easy for third-party developers to work with the Cardano blockchain.
The team has been approached by developers on the matter of mobile wallets, but held reservations because of the relatively insecure systems of mobile wallets. That has inspired the team to take it upon themselves to design new architecture that developers can work with. Icarus has been audited by a security partner to ensure its security.
The first third-party light wallet, a hard fork of the reference implementation, will be released by Emurgo and is called Yoroi. The product will launch on the testnet this month while the mainnet launch is expected to take place in September. Hoskinson and the team are keen to get third-party developers on-board so that an ecosystem of applications can develop on the platform, which in turn would help boost adoption.
Prometheus and Icarus are the first steps towards greater accessibility of the ADA token. One-click browser installers and customized third-party wallets will mean that users will have an easier time purchasing with ADA, while merchants and businesses can also integrate wallet services into the browser.
Cardano’s fastidious approach has resulted in some of the impatient crypto-community dismissing them, but the team has made strides in recent months, having launched their KEVM testnet and smart contracts testnet for IELE. They are also making steady progress with the wallets, which should see much quicker development as third-party developers take to it.
All of this is in preparation for a community-oriented approach that Cardano hopes to employ as they move into 2019.