At the Cardano Summit over the weekend, Charles Hoskinson, founder of the Cardano blockchain developer Input Output HK (IOHK), announced a slew of partnerships with well-known brands. Among them, Hoskinson announced that after nine months of deliberations, IOHK has closed a deal with U.S.-based TV and wireless service provider Dish Network, a Fortune 250 company. Dish is looking to integrate the Cardano blockchain to reinvent its telecom business, Hoskinson said. 

Cardano will help Dish provide 8 million digital identities to its customers, Hoskinson said. The integration of Cardano’s blockchain with Dish will help the company address the fragmented digital identities market to make it better, more private and secure by putting everything on a blockchain where they become immutable and show ownership, he added. 

Additionally, Dish will also leverage the partnership to develop a blockchain-based loyalty program for its customers, similar to those deployed by airlines. The use of blockchain can help Dish accelerate the loyalty program’s adoption to the levels that airlines have taken decades to reach, Hoskinson said.  

IOHK also announced it has begun a strategic collaboration with Chainlink Labs to build smart contracts for Cardano DeFi applications and to provide real-time market data for developers building on the Cardano chain. Access to the databases will be supplied by Chainlink’s decentralized oracle networks that offer tamper-proof, high quality data to blockchains. These data sets allow developers to build smart contracts that can be executed around esoteric data such as election results, sports statistics, crypto price feeds, weather, etc. 

Third, Australian luxury spirits company Strait Brands has contracted with IOHK to build its alcohol supply chain on the Cardano blockchain. Strait Brands will build its production process on the Cardano platform to help it to deliver an expected 4 million bottles by the end of 2022. 

Hoskinson also unveiled Cardano’s decentralized applications store, Plutus, which will curate licensed DApps for developers. 

Finally, Hoskinson spoke about the immense opportunity for crypto in Africa. According to him, the continent will develop decentralized systems and institutions in the next five to 10 years that are likely to be superior to those in the U.S. and other parts of the world. To get in on the action in Africa, IOHK has created a new Africa-based fund that is investing US$6 million to finance innovative blockchain projects. 

Cardano is a proof-of-stake blockchain that claims to be the first to be based on peer-reviewed research. Hoskinson said that Cardano’s growth is being propelled by its community of developers and users: “Cardano has outgrown its founder … it will never die.” 

After briefly surging to US$2.44 on Saturday, Cardano token’s price fell to US$2.22 on Monday.