Cardano’s 1.5 Mainnet Released — Is It Closer to a New Proof-of-Stake Protocol?

On March 20, 2019, Cardano (ADA) successfully released Cardano 1.5 on the mainnet, bringing the smart contract and dapp development protocol out of the Byron phase of development and into the long-awaited Shelley phase of development.

Cardano’s deployment of the 1.5 mainnet is a milestone event as it brings the protocol one step closer to a proof-of-stake consensus with the Ouroboros BFT consensus protocol. According to IOHK, this protocol will have the same security guarantees as proof-of-work protocols such as Bitcoin.

Furthermore, the upgrade also includes a number of optimizations for Cardano’s crypto wallet, Daedalus, and lays the framework needed to make the migration to the Shelley development phase a possibility.

Will Cardano Progress Towards Proof-of-Stake?

Although the Cardano 1.5 mainnet was successfully released, there are still a number of procedures to take place before the protocol enters the Shelley phase of development and transitions to a proof-of-stake (PoS) protocol.

Currently, the project is using the Ouroboros Classic protocol which uses a limited number of nodes and suffers from other deficiencies. To improve upon this, the recent 1.5 release included a new consensus protocol called Ouroboros BFT (Byzantine fault tolerance).

This Ouroboros BFT protocol is a key step in transitioning the Cardano protocol to proof-of-stake, but it won’t be activated until a later date, which has yet to be announced.

The protocol update will deactivate the Ouroboros Classic protocol and activate the Ouroboros BFT consensus protocol through a noncontentious hard fork. This hard fork is necessary to then transition Cardano’s Ouroboros BFT protocol to Ouroboros Genesis, the protocol for the Shelley era.

Therefore, though Cardano’s 1.5 mainnet has successfully been released, it appears we are still a ways away from a transition to the proof-of-stake consensus protocol.

1.5 Release Includes Performance Improvements

Apart from the 1.5 release preparing Cardano for the Ouroboros BFT protocol, the update included a number of fixes and performance improvements, primarily for the Cardano crypto wallet, Daedulus. All users must upgrade their Daedalus wallets to version 1.5 in order to make the hard fork.

As for performance improvements, the Cardano 1.5 release includes:

“Performance improvements when rendering lists with a large number of transactions and wallet addresses, the addition of features for detecting insufficient disk space, and a new screen that visualizes the block storage consolidation process.”

While Cardano is finally moving along with some of their developments, there is still an array of key aspects that must be implemented before the full transition to Shelley. However, the Ouroboros BFT protocol upgrade should be carried out soon, and then things will really begin to take shape.

When do you think Cardano will actually transition to a proof-of-stake consensus protocol? Let us know in the comment section below.

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