Cardano Foundation Core Focus Areas

17 February 2023 • Activities & Updates
Frederik Gregaard
Chief Executive Officer

Three key areas to propel the Cardano blockchain into the mainstream

Transparency, governance, and accountability stand as three key aspects of blockchain. However, in order to become fully realized, they require widespread access to adequate information. Therefore, the Cardano Foundation wants to ensure that everyone gains a good understanding of what the Foundation does and why.

At a broad level, we focus on driving adoption of the Cardano blockchain, working to make it a base layer for current, as well as future financial and social systems. This entails acting across three core areas:

  • Operational resilience
  • Education
  • Adoption

As we outlined in the recent core focus areas video, each area comprises multiple aspects and interacts with the others to form a comprehensive approach.

An Overview of the Core Focus Areas

Operational resilience mainly establishes a base from which to build. It implies the maintenance of the Cardano blockchain. Updating it and making sure it continues as a robust, reliable, and durable technology creates the conditions for wider adoption. It likewise guarantees that the Cardano blockchain can become an enterprise critical technology, relied upon by businesses and institutions to run their daily operations.

However, in order to see blockchain become so prevalently adopted as to allow the realization of its full potential, there needs to exist a generalized understanding of what blockchain is, how it works, and what it can—and cannot—do. Although blockchain truly possesses the ability to help change the world for the better, it nonetheless has both limitations and limits. Moreover, it does not necessarily present the right tool for every situation. A good portion of the Foundation’s activities are consequently focused on sharing quality information and contributing both to blockchain education and blockchain research.

This encompasses a variety of aspects as well as activities. In addition to producing content and constantly communicating about blockchain, different teams across the Foundation provide consultancy to enterprises and institutions. Plus, we frequently engage with policymakers and regulators to learn their perspectives, clarify concepts, and share our varied expertise. Furthermore, the Foundation’s teams not only get involved in education programs, but also participate in discussion panels and assist research centers doing work on blockchain technology.

The more people can access reliable information, and the more they acquire a realistic, encompassing knowledge of the technology, the better they can see the advantages of blockchain and how to apply them to various sectors. In fact, if individuals, organizations, and enterprises alike gain an insightful perspective into blockchain, they will feel more confident in adopting it. This proves especially important for legacy systems upgrading to blockchain technology.

At the same time, the Foundation also aids the development of blockchain native companies, those born because of blockchain itself. Their business models revolve around distributed ledger technology (DLT) and arose exactly due to the unique characteristics of blockchain as well as what these enable. Such enterprises have been a part of the blockchain community since their very inception, offering services related to decentralized finance (DeFi), identity, software, tracking, non-fungible tokens (NFTs), and gaming, among others. 

Besides these, the Foundation equally supports radical innovation of operating models. The birth of truly novel operating systems—anchored in, or facilitated by blockchain—has yet to really happen. Nonetheless, when it does, as long as such operating systems contribute to positive change and the betterment of conditions around the globe, the Cardano Foundation will happily consider them.

Focusing on adoption, however, means more than establishing partnerships. It also requires creating the conditions to increase blockchain utility. Open source’s ability to develop solutions that benefit the entire present and future ecosystem assumes a key role here. It incentivizes contributions from enterprises, software developers, and the technical community at large, allowing them to either optimize or adapt a solution to more purposes. This generates the conditions for continuous improvement, leading to a situation where the business critical infrastructure of the Cardano blockchain is ensured.

Operational resilience

Positioning some of the Cardano Foundation’s 2022 activities within these three core focus areas will not just add context but also help to visualize them in action. Similarly, it will provide clarity as regards the Foundation’s role.

Our Infrastructure team supports the operational resilience of the Foundation, as well as of the Cardano blockchain. Currently, the team looks after the Foundation’s own infrastructure, and is likewise responsible for the bug bounty program used to find vulnerabilities in Cardano assets, thus adding security and robustness to the network.

The Foundation also maintains the Cardano Improvement Proposals (CIP) program. Rooted on transparency and driven by the community itself, the CIPs offer a unique way for developers, builders, and other technical members to participate in shaping the future of the Cardano blockchain. We hope the CIP process will become the primary mechanism for collecting input on issues, proposing new features, and documenting both design suggestions and implementations on the Cardano blockchain.

On the other hand, in a public, permissionless blockchain such as Cardano, the more people participate on-chain, the more secure the network becomes, bringing additional resilience and robustness to the network. The Foundation’s Community team designed the Developer Portal to help anyone to join the Cardano technical ecosystem, compiling explanations about blockchain components and technical concepts, creating a repository of instructions, and listing videos as well as programming libraries.

Education

In many ways, the Developer Portal is equally connected to education. Indeed, a wide portion of the Foundation’s activities follow under the parameters of this focus area, with marketing and communications assisting the wider Foundation in effectively talking about blockchain and presenting it to multiple stakeholders. From partnerships and engineering to senior leadership, much of what we do concerns educating on the advantages of blockchain at large and Cardano in particular.

In 2022 alone, the Foundation’s teams participated in more than 20 events, relaying insights as well as imparting knowledge. We also frequently engage with policymakers worldwide, from Brussels to Singapore and beyond, advocating for a nuanced and innovation-friendly approach to blockchain regulation. In this respect, our legal department stands at the forefront of submitting responses to requests for consultation from international bodies.

To address the urgent need for a reliable blockchain education course that imparts the technical foundations, while also speaking to blockchain utility as well as blockchain use cases, the Cardano Foundation set out to fill in the gaps. We are in the process of preparing a comprehensive blockchain education course geared towards a wider audience. The alpha phase will soon launch, and registration has already opened for early access to the course itself.

Similarly, the Foundation works to encourage further in-depth research about blockchain. For this reason, last year we started a partnership with the University of Zurich, sponsoring a PhD position in Blockchain Analytics that will contribute to a more holistic perspective of blockchain technology.

The Cardano Summit is yet another crucial facet of our efforts towards education. Last year, when the Foundation assumed the responsibility of organizing the Summit, we not only devised it as a celebration of the community and those building on Cardano, but likewise developed it to give blockchain enthusiasts a vast, fresh perspective on blockchain, prompting curiosity alongside a desire to continuously learn more.

Adoption

Combining operational resilience with education and research contributes to establishing the right conditions to increase adoption. This, however, also implies devising a technology ready to accommodate the diverse needs of existing and potential users across financial and social systems alike.

As of lately, the Foundation’s engineering and open source teams oversee the outsourcing of work the Foundation has identified as crucial, while simultaneously focusing their efforts on developing tools and software. The Cardano Ballot, for example, applied unique advantages of blockchain for voting to allow the community to choose the winners of the Cardano Summit Awards and select the speakers for day 2 of the Summit. Moreover, the Ballot provided the community with an open source wallet connector to smoothly connect and authenticate a Cardano wallet. 

The Foundation intends to provide more such open source tools, whether we build them exclusively in-house or in collaboration with the community. Open source incentivizes participation, leading to a larger pool of developers adding meaningful contributions and combining their expertise to create solutions. Like the case of Aiken, which arose from within the community before the Foundation joined in the efforts to develop it. A new programming platform meant to facilitate and boost the creation of smart contracts on Cardano, once launched others can, and probably will continue to perfect it outside of the Foundation exactly because it is an open source tool. 

The Cardano Foundation works to have as many people as possible participating in the Cardano ecosystem and being heard. We will do exactly that for Voltaire, Cardano’s governance phase, as well as for the members based organization that IOG announced in November 2022 as a possible means of bringing the ecosystem together to develop and mold the future of the Cardano blockchain. Indeed, we have already set up a platform to encourage feedback from the community, with a brief introduction available to all. Anyone interested can join the debate or prompt it further. A community driven workshop session will also happen on 18 February 2023 to stimulate discussions.

Last year we also announced a varied assortment of collaborations and partnerships. The collaboration with the Georgian National Wine Agency and the one with Switzerland for the United Nations Refugee Agency, for instance, demonstrate different types of blockchain utility. Together, they illustrate some of the possibilities blockchain can generate.

The Cardano Foundation hopes a growing quorum realizes the potential of blockchain, joining us on this journey as blockchain citizens. And we invite everyone to reach out with comments or questions through any of our social channels. 

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