Driving Blockchain Technology: Cardano Foundation’s Activities Part 9

25 March 2024 • News & Updates
Renagh Mooney
Global Communications Director

Stewarding blockchain adoption to empower global communities

Blockchain’s immutable, verifiable capabilities, coupled with Cardano’s robust engineering, create a resilient infrastructure ideal for diverse purposes. It increases the transparency and security of multiple use cases, streamlining daily operations and delivering invaluable business insights. Opting for Cardano’s public, permissionless blockchain also adds an extra layer of trust in financial, governance, and social systems—all made possible by the transformative potential of blockchain.

The Cardano Foundation actively works for the widespread adoption of Cardano across global businesses, institutions, and organizations. While achieving adoption entails a multi-faceted approach, each initiative requires bringing new users into the ecosystem while nurturing existing relationships. The Cardano Summit 2023 is a key example of this kind of far-reaching engagement, bringing together over 70 speakers who delivered more than 35 sessions between 2 and 4 November in Dubai.

A regional approach to adoption

On the Summit’s opening night, attendees participated in the networking soirée, which featured the Battle of the Builders—presented by the Cardano Foundation and sponsored by CV Labs, Genius X, EMURGO, STORM Partners, and FacultyGroup. After the top 10 contestants delivered their five-minute pitches to the jury and Summit attendees, Maestro received first place, with second going to NEWM and third to zkFold. Following this exciting evening, day one of the Summit featured multiple panels, masterclasses, and pitch arena discussions that examined topics related to blockchain operational resilience and education. After another full program of panels and workshops on day two of the Summit, this time focused on adoption and impact, the winners of the Cardano Summit Awards were announced at the Gala Dinner. Additionally, the first-ever Summit Hackathon winners were recognized live from the Armani Pavilion in Dubai. With over 30 media partners and 47 registered in-person journalists, 66 articles were published a fortnight after the Summit.

Also in Dubai, in the days preceding the Cardano Summit, the World Blockchain Summit brought tech innovators, Web 3.0 pioneers, and industry experts together, providing them with a platform to discuss possibilities and emerging trends shaping the blockchain industry. During this event, Cardano Foundation CEO Frederik Gregaard participated in a panel alongside other industry experts to examine the widespread adoption of blockchain-based solutions across various sectors.

Earlier, Crypto Expo Dubai had already seen the Foundation’s Community Team engage with attendees at a designated booth. At the same time, Jeremy Firster (Cardano Foundation, Global Enterprise Adoption Lead) delivered a presentation titled Blockchain Ecosystem Design: Advancing Market Infrastructure. During his talk, Firster highlighted the robustness of Cardano as well as its organic growth and history of peer-reviewed, open source research. He then discussed the blockchain trilemma and how Cardano methodically evolves to balance scalability, security, and decentralization. In large part, this undertaking requires the development of market infrastructure that integrates with blockchain to more readily upgrade the world's systems. In fact, Firster reiterated the necessity to not only ensure new systems are secure and resilient but also guarantee the inherent confidence in these applications and the utility they generated.

Worldwide adoption through engagement

In addition to events held in Dubai, the Foundation interacted with Cardano stakeholders worldwide throughout the second half of 2023. The fifth edition of the Blockchain for Europe Summit gathered key policymakers and industry representatives to present on future crypto and blockchain trends. During the event, Gregaard met with regulatory stakeholders and journalists while also attending post-event meetings. Additionally, he took part in the fireside chat Developing a Sustainability-Focused Blockchain hosted by Inbar Preiss (DL News), which examined how the Cardano Foundation is pioneering environmental and social impact within the blockchain sphere.

The Cardano Foundation also participated in Rare Evolution: A Multi-Chain Event in Denver, Colorado alongside IOG and Emurgo. During the session, Charles Hoskinson (CEO of IOG) explored the progress made in the Cardano ecosystem in his opening remarks, highlighting achievements such as CIP-1694 and the latest release of Hydra. Gregaard then engaged in a fireside chat alongside Hoskinson titled Unleashing the Power of Participatory Governance. The session examined the goals of the Cardano Foundation, including the importance of governance in blockchain ecosystems and the need for a neutral body for decision-making. Specifically, Gregaard and Hoskinson delved into the role of governance in the success of projects, the challenges faced to achieve good governance, and the significance of participation and diversity in the development and growth of Cardano.

Gregaard later attended the Tbilisi Silk Road Forum and took part in a panel with Paysera, the Ethereum Competence Center, Ripple, and Elevandi. In advance of his attendance, Gregaard emphasized the unique benefit of the Tbilisi Silk Road Forum in showcasing Georgia as a global player on the world’s stage. He likewise noted that the forum provides a platform for conversations on innovation and digital transformation, as well as on strategies for enhancing global trade flow, increasing security, and mitigating counterparty risks. Beyond these benefits, Gregaard mentioned the importance of bringing people together to foster collaboration and dialogue, generating benefits for the Georgian people, such as job creation, economic stability, and increased opportunities at the forefront of technology.

Tailored adoption initiatives for humanitarian aid

The Foundation also works with international agencies in a humanitarian capacity, such as in the case of Switzerland for UNHCR (the UN Refugee Agency) and Tadamon, a community platform led by the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP). In collaborating with Tadamon for the third Cardano Global Impact Challenge, we will explore ways of leveraging blockchain to tackle verification and monitoring processes challenges faced by the UNDP program with civil society organizations (CSOs) across Africa, the Middle East, and Asia.

On the other hand, the partnership with the UN Refugee Agency (UNHCR) in Switzerland addresses resource mobilization challenges through impact staking, ensuring funding for on-the-ground missions in refugee crises. This impact staking mechanism happens through the “With Refugees” (WRFGS) charity stake pool owned by Switzerland for UNHCR, whereby donors have different ways of supporting the refugee cause. All rewards generated by the stake pool go directly to Switzerland for UNHCR, which provides the agency with continuous, unearmarked donations that the agency can disburse at its discretion. In recognition of this innovative partnership, the International Association for Trusted Blockchain Applications (INATBA) presented the Cardano Foundation and Switzerland for UNHCR with the Most Exciting Project in Sustainable Innovation award.

In addition, Gregaard participated in a panel alongside UNHCR, Goodwall, and EMURGO at the Building Bridges event examining blockchain’s potential for digital and economic inclusion. The session specifically delved into the role of blockchain in data ownership, the environmental considerations of Web 3.0, the regulatory landscape surrounding cryptocurrencies and blockchain technology, and how decentralized infrastructure can empower communities and youth. In line with these humanitarian engagements, Alex Maaza (Sustainability Lead at the Cardano Foundation) also presented at UNDP’s Connecting Innovation Ecosystems and Alternative Finance Conference. The UNDP event analyzed innovative financing models such as crowdfunding and blockchain-based financing to overcome funding challenges for sustainable development goals. Participants from diverse regions and technology sectors discussed cultivating innovative ecosystems and leveraging technologies like AI and blockchain to guide impactful sustainable development efforts.

DxTalks & CRYPTOTALKS, hosted by Rudy Shoushany, also interviewed Maaza for the session Leveraging Blockchain for Humanitarian Assistance: Cardano Foundation's Partnership with UNHCR. The episode emphasized the Foundation’s dedication to advancing blockchain as a public digital infrastructure, with a threefold focus on adoption, education, and operational resilience. During the interview, Maaza also noted that the Foundation intends to provide free, accessible blockchain education that encompasses a detailed overview of Cardano’s proof-of-stake (PoS) protocol and extended unspent transaction output (EUTxO). In closing, Maaza reinforced the Foundation’s efforts to pilot blockchain solutions for humanitarian challenges. In doing so, the Foundation aims to document and share replicable tools with the Web 3.0 ecosystem, emphasizing transparency and open-sourcing knowledge.

Product diversification and adoption

In the latter half of 2023, the Foundation released several products and tools to address the needs of developers, businesses, and the broader community—supporting the adoption and establishment of transparent social and financial systems. For instance, Ledger Sync, the Java-based data provisioning tool, facilitates access to Cardano blockchain data. The Foundation introduced Ledger Sync to improve db-sync, which requires immense data processing during the initial sync process, making it infeasible to run for all projects. Additionally, while businesses don’t typically need all the data provided by db-sync, they must have highly reliable data provisioning services—a need addressed by Ledger Sync. The beta Cardano Explorer also aims to improve accessibility, offering enhanced visualization of multiple components leading to a better understanding of Cardano’s design decisions and on-chain transactions. Likewise, Aiken improves the accessibility of Cardano, serving as a novel programming language that simplifies and enhances the development of smart contracts.

Beyond these accessibility-focused products, the recently launched Identity Wallet allows users to maintain digital and physical identities in an off-chain infrastructure that links with the blockchain. The interoperable wallet accommodates most identity standards and mobile platforms while remaining scalable across blockchains. The limited edition proof-of-concept (POC) Hoodie from the recently launched Cardano Store similarly reinforces authentication principles by tokenizing each sweater using an NFC chip connected to a verification link. When scanned, the NFC retrieves the immutable blockchain record, authenticating the hoodie.

More and more, the diverse cases of blockchain adoption highlight the technology’s transformative potential across various sectors. Moreover, the introduction of innovative products and tools not only improves accessibility but also encourages involvement. As the Cardano blockchain evolves, the Cardano Foundation will keep on increasing its role in initiatives that illustrate the wide range of blockchain applications while simultaneously nurturing transparent, secure, and inclusive social and financial systems globally.

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