Cardano breached the US$2 mark for the first time in almost three months as key developers announced a release date for the planned “Alonzo” hard fork on Friday, which will allow full smart contract functionality on the network.

Fast facts

  • Slated for full release on September 12, the upgrade to Cardano’s mainnet completes the Alonzo suite of upgrades, — divided into Blue, White and Purple stages — which have been slowly implemented over the past few months. Alonzo Purple, the most recent, launched in its testnet phase earlier this month, which saw the native currency of the network — ADA — surge more than 20% in 24 hours.
  • In anticipation for Friday’s release, that strong price movement continued to reach a high of US$2.20 on Sunday – an increase of over 50% within a week. Hovering at that point coming to the week before dropping slightly, it was trading at US$2.15 at press time. The surge in interest has seen the fourth largest coin by market cap at nearly US$69 billion close in on Binance Coin’s position in third place, which is at almost US$71 billion.
  • Smart contracts allow for decentralized finance applications to run on networks, and has largely been the domain of the Ethereum network until this point, as has the minting of non-fungible tokens. The integration of smart contracts to Cardano will bring both functions to its mainnet for the first time. It is also slated to support an ERC-20 converter, allowing ETH tokens to run on the network.
  • Launched in 2015, Cardano’s development has been spread out into five different stages of upgrades, in order; Byron Shelley, Goguen, Basho and Voltaire. All named after great thinkers, the Alonzo upgrade, named after the mathematician Alonzo Church, concludes the Goguen stage of the development.
  • Nigel Hemsley, head of delivery at Cardano on the announcement video: “It’s looking good. We’re rapidly moving towards our hard fork on the mainnet, and this is what it’s all about, this is crunch time… we’re all working to make sure all our components are updated ready for this hard fork.”