Decentralization deterred as Cardano’s Shelley project hangs
Cardano's much-awaited Shelley project will kick start in Q1 2019. Originally slated for Q2 2018, the Shelley project will supposedly achieve full decentralization. The delay of the project has caused frustrations among the Cardano enthusiasts as the project aims to achieve one of the important visions of the Cardano blockchain, decentralization. The Cardano community envisions moving from semi centralization to full decentralization with the Shelley project.
The Shelley project is the second phase in Cardano's roadmap. In a roadmap update released yesterday, the Duncan Coutts, Director of Engineering at IOHK revealed the approximate timelines for the project. The project will follow a 'rolling release approach' where all the updates are released by the developers as they finish instead of scheduling updates and publicizing it across the media. Cardano says they are following the 'best software engineering' practice by pursuing a rolling release approach.
Core Components of Decentralization
The features of the Shelley project can be divided into two, wallet features and decentralization. The Shelley phase will prioritize wallet features over decentralization. Achieving pure decentralization is hard for any blockchain organization. With Cardano community being managed by three entities namely, the Cardano Foundation, IOHK and Emurgo together, the endeavor can be even harder. Therefore, the company is still analyzing different features that will bring about a fully decentralized network.
The first important component of decentralization is networking. The peer to peer networking system will be modified in the Shelley phase. The networking requirements to effect full decentralization will be released before Cardano flips the switch on centralization. The next feature is delegation. Currently, all the nodes are handled by the Cardano Foundation, IOHK and Emurgo. They plan to establish a proper framework for delegation which will allow anyone to delegate nodes to any person they choose. They will construct stake pools which will either enable people to delegate their nodes to anybody or run their own nodes at home. Delegation is followed by incentive mechanism. They will decide on a rewarding procedure for people running stake pools and full nodes.
Cardano says the decentralization of the voting mechanism for software updates will be at a much later period as they are yet to prepare for a complete transfer of voting rights to the community and at the same time allow the forward progress of the technology. The company is fearful of a landing in situations where the social dynamics of voting are affected. Therefore, the company is planning to analyze the voting mechanisms for updating proposals and software. For the time being the IOHK will hold the authority for software updates.
Decentralization is the primary focus of blockchain technology in general. Full decentralization of Cardano still seems far away as they are still analyzing features that will put an end to centralization. Decentralization will consume more time as most features leading to it are interdependent. Also, the company intends to roll out all releases of the Shelley phase as soon as developers finish coding for speeding up the decentralization process. However, decentralization will have to wait until all the wallet features are updated which according to Coutts will take an average of four to six weeks. The Cardano community could be looking at a very late completion of the Shelley phase.
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