Cardano’s long-awaited smart-contract capability looks like it could be finally set to go live by the end of August or first week of September, according to founder Charles Hoskinson.

In between making videos about the crypto-tax rumblings in the US Senate, Hoskinson, the high-profile CEO of Input Output Hong Kong (IOHK), has been providing the large and passionate Cardano community with confidence regarding the progress of the project.

Cardano has received more than its fair share of criticism in the past for failing to deliver on its deadlines. But in a few YouTube videos this week, Hoskinson has updated his 243,000 or so subscribers on the project’s ongoing testnet, providing some assurance that things are going according to schedule.

Cardano’s testnet, known as Alonzo, has been broken into colours to denote its different stages, and is currently in the “Light Purple” phase in which it has been onboarding users for testing. Its completion will mark the end of the project’s so-called Goguen era – the third in one of five developmental time periods.

In terms of the Alonzo testnet, “Dark Purple” comes next, and this is the final testing stage, during which the mainnet will be at last set free, thus truly beginning the long-awaited smart contract era for the platform. Cardano followers believe this will begin to put the project on another level, ready to truly compete with Ethereum and its vast network and ecosystem.

Charles in charge: Cardano fans will be praying Charles Hoskinson and his team of developers can hit their latest targets.


The Cardano ‘Cadillac experience’

Hoskinson said of the Alonzo update: “The process of upgrading has been so refined it’s amazing we can flip a switch as an ecosystem and it just works on the other side.”

Hoskinson also highlighted that all tests have been satisfactory so far, with a very low level of bugs. He said that most of the errors detected can be, and have been, taken care of swiftly and easily.

Once the upgrade is complete, the network is also expected to support an ERC20 converter, which will allow Ethereum-built tokens to be able to be easily ported over and run seamlessly on the Cardano platform.

A final date for the hard fork combinator (HFC) event, which will set the smart-contract capability in motion on the mainnet, will be given mid month, possibly as early as a few days time on August 12. Mainnet integration is expected by IOHK on August 31, but it could take place as much as three to five days later, in September.

“What’s really cool is that five seconds after the HFC event occurs,” said Hoskinson to any developers watching, “you can run Plutus code on Cardano.

“If you’re really creative and understand our stack, you guys can actually start writing and deploying your smart contracts on mainnet if you so choose, which is pretty awesome. Or you can wait two, three weeks and the testnet will be in a position where you will have the full ‘Cadillac’ experience, and you can write stuff and deploy it there.”


Eyeing off the top three

According to a Business Insider article last week, portfolio manager Amy Arnott of financial services and venture capital firm Morningstar said she believes Cardano (ADA) is bound for a top-three position on the market cap charts. Once it gets into gear with its live smart contracts, that is.

“Cardano is similar to Ethereum in that it’s a protocol that has a lot of potential technical applications,” said Arnott. “There’s a lot of enthusiasm about Cardano.”

In early July, US asset management firm Grayscale added Cardano to its Large Digital Cap Fund, adding further confidence and recogniton for the project from an institutional standpoint.

Cardano is not without its critics, the harshest of whom call it names like “vapourware” and “Cardohno”. But we know how ridiculously tribal and competitive the crypto space can be. The often highly defensive Hoskinson nearly always seems ready to fire back.

The fact remains, though, Cardano has been one of the best-performing cryptos in the past several months, and is up 707% on the  year to date.

At the time of writing, ADA is looking steady at US $1.48, up 2.53% in the past 24 hours.