Cardano Roadmap: What’s Next for ADA?

What does the Cardano roadmap have in store for ADA holders?

Woman holding a map seeing Cardano coin at the end of the digital road.
Created by Kornelija Poderskytė from DailyCoin

Cardano’s Roadmap is perhaps one of the most inspired and cultured in the cryptocurrency industry. While other crypto projects are content with basic time frames and quarterly expectations, Charles Hoskinson and the teams at IOG (formerly IOHK) and EMURGO have creatively mapped out ADA’s destiny.

Cardano’s development stages are separated into distinct stages, all inspired by key historical figures. Playing off Cardano’s academic, research-driven approach to blockchain architecture, the naming system adds an element of prestige to the third-generation network’s roadmap.


What advancements were achieved during each stage of Cardano’s rollout, and what can we expect from the future?

The Five Eras of Cardano

Cardano Roadmap.
Source: Cardano

Each stage of Cardano’s roadmap was thoughtfully designed to help the blockchain expand its capabilities without overwhelming the network. 

While this approach has been criticized by eager ADA fans who’d like to see a bit more hustle, it’s also one of the reasons why the Cardano blockchain has been so stable. As a result, Cardano is one of the only leading layer one networks to have never suffered a severe outage. 

Let’s explore the different eras of the Cardano mainnet and their goals.

1. Byron

The genesis of the Cardano network, the Byron era, had simple objectives. Charles Hoskinson, the Cardano Foundation, and the engineers at Input Output Global put their heads together as early as 2015, designing a fully decentralized, open-source network that could outclass Hoskinson’s previous project, Ethereum (ETH).


Following the Cardano network’s birth, the Byron era introduced the blockchain. However, during its infancy, there wasn’t much that could be done on the network. Without smart contract functionality and limited scalability, Cardano hummed along quietly.

The Byron Era pioneered several of Cardano’s fundamental technologies. The blockchain’s launch allowed the developers to put their novel PoS (Proof-of-Stake) consensus mechanism, Ouroboros, to the test. The launch also unveiled Cardano wallet software like Daedalus and Yoroi, which have become crucial network elements today.

Getting the Cardano blockchain off the ground was no small feat. But, for Hoskinson and the team, it was just the beginning.

2. Shelley

The Shelley era marked the first of many milestones for the Cardano community. During the Byron era, the Cardano network could only facilitate basic functions, like sending and receiving ADA, the blockchain’s native token.

Shelley kickstarted a transition period that brought a fresh new use case to ADA. In the Shelley era, ADA community members could finally delegate their tokens to various stake pools and network validators. 

Not only did this compensate depositors with staking rewards paid in ADA, but it also vastly improved the network’s security and decentralization, leading to Cardano boasting one of the blockchain industry’s best Nakamoto coefficient scores.

As if that wasn’t enough, the Mary hard fork meant that developers could mint and create unique digital assets with the Cardano ecosystem, laying the foundation for a versatile DeFi evolution during the following era.

3. Goguen

Arguably the most anticipated and revolutionary of Cardano’s development eras, Goguen brought significant enhancements that improved the Cardano network. 

One of the biggest criticisms Cardano faced from its rivals was that nothing could be done on the blockchain platform. With no smart contracts, Cardano was little more than a more energy-efficient Bitcoin (BTC) alternative with low transaction fees capable of transferring ADA between wallets.

This earned Cardano its scathing moniker: the Ghost Chain. Fortunately, Goguen put an end to all the slander.

At the heart of the Goguen Era, the Alonzo hard fork saw Plutus-based smart contracts start deploying on the Cardano blockchain, proving the naysayers wrong and heralding a new chapter of Cardano use cases. 

The Cardano ecosystem bloomed, with dozens of new interoperable DeFi dApps and Cardano NFT collections rolling out across the network. Cardano’s first cornerstone protocols, like the DJED stablecoin, were deployed, providing much-needed functionality on the Cardano blockchain.

4. Basho

By this time, the stage was set. Cardano had proven itself to be one of the world’s most energy-efficient and decentralized blockchains. A successful Goguen era meant that the peer-reviewed network was fully functional and capable of executing the programmable contracts it had been promising for years. The obvious next step was to prepare the blockchain for mass adoption.

The Basho era focuses on boosting Cardano’s scalability and ensuring it can meet the growing demands of an evolving world. Cardano’s optimization would help prepare the network for increasing users, ensuring that transaction throughput remains undisturbed regardless of network congestion.

Some of Cardano’s notable improvements during the Basho era include Hydra. This layer 2 scaling solution allows transactions to be executed in sidechains parallel to the main chain before settling on-chain. Other scaling methods and algorithms discussed during the Basho era include pipelining transactions to increase transaction throughput sixfold.

5. Voltaire

Cardano’s Voltaire era promises to be the jewel in the crown. With the necessary groundwork done, Volatire is the final stage of Cardano’s roadmap and represents a kind of coming-of-age for the blockchain.

During Voltaire, the Cardano network will transition to a fully decentralized, community-led blockchain. Input Output Global is expected to step away from full-time development and leave Cardano’s passionate and devout community to steer the ship into the future.

Community groups will fully manage governance proposals, using the Cardano treasury wallet to fund the network’s future developments.

What’s Next for Cardano?

Drawing to the close of the Basho era, Cardano finds itself at the cusp of its glory days. Years of development from some of the industry’s brightest minds have ensured that Cardano has delivered on its promises and created a truly decentralized network that champions the very ethos of cryptocurrency.

The next steps for Cardano involve transitioning into the Volatire era and the network’s decentralized future. However, with so many rival layer-one blockchains competing for the crown, Cardano’s meticulous, research-driven approach will rise above its competitors.

Only time will tell.

Pros and Cons of Cardano’s Roadmap

While elegant and creative, Cardano’s roadmap has drawn plenty of criticism from ADA bulls and detractors. Let’s recap the pros and cons:


  • Meticulous – The Cardano Roadmap has been designed by computer science and cryptography experts. As a result, ADA fans can rest assured knowing that careful consideration has been applied to every step of the journey.
  • Versatile – Cardano’s roadmap is unique in that it caters to and supports ideas rather than set timelines. Community members are actively in the decision-making process through CIPs (Cardano Improvement Proposals), meaning that Cardano’s growth is governed by its stakeholders.
  • Authentic – Cardano champions everything blockchain was created for. Preaching the values of self-custody and decentralization, Cardano’s roadmap has been crafted to ensure the network stays true to its values.


  • Sluggish – Cardano’s development is undeniably slow. The time and consideration that goes into every detail of Cardano’s expansion has meant long waiting times for ADA users eager to explore new use cases.
  • Fierce competition – The Layer One race is tight, with powerful competitors like Ethereum and Solana (SOL) dominating the blockchain industry.

On the Flipside

  • One of the factors that inhibits Cardano’s growth is the network’s choice of programming languages. Cardano is the only blockchain that uses Plutus, a Haskell-based language. This means that it’s difficult to onboard new developers and expand the ecosystem.

Why This Matters

Cardano is one of the blockchain industry’s largest and most popular cryptocurrencies. Understanding Cardano’s roadmap will help you to make more informed decisions about ADA and its future.


Can Cardano reach $100 this year?

It is very unlikely that Cardano (ADA) will reach $100 this year. If this were to happen, Cardano’s market cap would be larger than the rest of the crypto market.

Why is Cardano a big deal?

Cardano is a fully decentralized and open-source blockchain that boasts minimal transaction fees.

Does Cardano have a future?

Cardano is one of the largest crypto projects in the blockchain industry. If blockchain technology has a future, so does Cardano.

This article is for information purposes only and should not be considered trading or investment advice. Nothing herein shall be construed as financial, legal, or tax advice. Trading forex, cryptocurrencies, and CFDs pose a considerable risk of loss.

Finn Miller

Finn Miller is a New Zealand-based blockchain writer for DailyCoin who specializes in simplifying complex blockchain topics. He is experienced in crafting whitepapers, researching on-chain data, and advising emerging crypto projects, and uses his unconventional approach to learning and passion for knowledge to provide cornerstone educational content for readers of all levels. When not exploring the depths of DeFi, Finn can be found exploring his other passion, the great outdoors.