Roadmap dates detailed:
The roadmap (see below) revealed by IOHK helps to understand how the Cardano Blockchain will switch from the Byron to the Shelley era revealing the true potential of the project on the decentralization side.
In addition to the official roadmap, this article will provide essential information needed to successfully go through this fundamental change in the Cardano protocol without missing any of the important steps / dates.
According to IOHK CEO, Charles Hoskinson, “the most important things when you do a rollout to go from a static and federated system to a dynamic and decentralized system is to give your partners ample time to be able to integrate properly”.
To that extent, this period has been calibrated to allow a smooth and robust transition to the long awaiting Shelley mainnet, providing stake pool operators to be ready to run the protocol, deliver quality services and distribute rewards to delegators from August 18th onwards.
It will also allow all Cardano community members detaining ada on the Byron Blockchain to migrate their wallets to the Shelley Blockchain to be able to take part in the journey to decentralization through staking.
- May 11th — First cohort of pioneers on the Shelley “Friends and Family” Testnet (amongst which Proof of Africa [PROOF] was proudly chosen).
This testnet is designed to onboard stake pool operators into the new architecture of the Cardano protocol based on Haskell. Those few weeks allowed IOHK to get feedback and thoughts from trusted and experienced stake pool operators to fix problems and to tune the final details before public launch.
- May 25th — Second cohort of pioneers
- June 9th — Public launch of the Shelley Testnet
-> Key date for all stake pool operators.
Everybody can start to play with the Shelley Testnet, discovering the new architecture, tools developed since ITN (Incentivized TestNet) to create their own stake pool set up and to tune them to the new Haskell settings.
This step will be carried out under the patronage of pioneers and IOHK development teams who created and will continue to create content and documentation helping stake pool operators through their journey into Shelley.
As our contribution to the Cardano community, you can access here our guides explaining how to set up your own Cardano nodes.
- June 16th — Launch of Daedalus Shelley Test Wallet
-> Key date for each individual owning ada
This version of Daedalus wallet will tell us “what end user experience is going to look like” on Shelley mainnet with all the features related to staking and delegation.
This will be the opportunity for everybody to get familiar with Daedalus environment, staking and delegation tools (which won’t be activated before August) and to test recovery phrases.
For Daedalus wallet users, it means a standard software update.
Important warning for ada owners:
When you create a wallet on Daedalus (or Yoroi), the software generates a seed phrase (also called recovery phrase, backup phrase, etc.) and instructs the user to write it down on paper and keep it safe. This recovery phrase is a list of words which store all the information needed to recover your ada on-chain.
As we will be explaining later in the article, the migration from Byron to Shelley will result in a hard fork which means a split into two different blockchains.
ada acquired during Byron era will of course still be yours during Shelley era, but you will have to update Daedalus and recover your “Byron Wallet” into Shelley.
To do so, you will simply need to enter your recovery phrase in the up-to-date Daedalus or Yoroi wallet.
Any problems in restoring your wallets must be reported to IOHK by issuing a ticket (send through Daedalus) and ideally solved before the hard fork on the 29th of July.
- June 23rd — Hard fork combinator test. From Byron to Shelley.
A week to check if everything runs smoothly when doing a “virtual hard fork”. This will allow to increase confidence and fix any identified bugs before doing the effective hard fork end of July.
According to IOHK’s engineers, “a combinator is just a technical term for something that combines other things. For example, addition is a combinator on numbers. A hard fork combinator combines two protocols into a single protocol. We call this a sequential combination of the two protocols because it runs the first protocol for a while and at some point, it switches over to the second. In our case, this is two versions of Ouroboros”, Classic and Praos. “The Ouroboros Classic consensus protocol has supported Cardano Byron and the ada cryptocurrency for the past 3 years, and we’ll soon be switching to Ouroboros Praos. This is the version of Cardano proof-of-stake (PoS) protocol that will initially drive Shelley”.
You may have heard the expression “Hard Fork” used for other blockchain projects such as Bitcoin vs Bitcoin Cash, Ethereum vs Ethereum classic etc. in which divergences in the way of seeing the future and evolutions of a crypto project and the lack of governance tools lead from one to two (or more) side blockchains.
As a blockchain is driven by protocol rules, if some changes are needed but there is no consensus among the community, a Hard Fork is implemented dividing the projects and users into different blockchains with different rules. Those blockchains are no longer compatible.
Even if the objective is the same for Cardano; create two different blockchains because Byron and Shelley eras are not driven by the exact same rules, this Hard fork is not motivated by divergences among the community but have been decided from the very beginning of the Cardano project development for security purposes allowing to control and reach decentralization step by step.
Later during Cardano’s development and move through the Goguen, Basho, and Voltaire eras, there will be at least one hard fork at each stage.
This step that should be invisible to users will help IOHK development team to checks all the metrics and get insurance that the real Hard Fork will be completed without any hiccups.
- June 30th (Target) or July 7th (Backup) — Shelley Code release
-> Key date for each individual owning ada
IOHK explains these two dates as followed: “June 30th will be the date we ship Shelley if we run into some bears or icebergs or other problems […] launch date on July 7th is our backup.”
After this point, it will no longer be possible to earn rewards on the ITN.
From this release and before the hard fork on the 29th of July, all the ada stored on Daedalus and Yoroi must be transferred or restore to a Shelley mainnet up to date Wallet.
Important warning for ada owners:
As explained above, this step is important and must be done by every ada owners for ALL their wallets. This will ensure that your ada are on the Shelley mainnet and will be available for staking as soon as this functionality will be activated.
- July 29th — Shelley Hard Fork.
End of the Byron era and (exciting!) launch of the Shelley mainnet leading to the decentralization of the Cardano Blockchain.
After this date, all information/tokens contained on the Byron era blockchain will not be compatible with the Cardano mainnet protocol anymore. Once everyone is running the new code on Shelley mainnet and once the core nodes have finished swapping over, the old Byron protocol is redundant and obsolete.
- August 3rd — ITN rewards will be available on the Shelley mainnet after the first Epoch is completed.
The exact detail on how and where those ITN rewards will be sent are not known yet. But IOHK promised that they will “share full details of what ada holders need to do to reclaim their ITN rewards”.
- August 18th — First rewards will start to be collected by the stake pools and delegators.
As defined by the Cardano Proof of Stake protocol, each block produced by a stake pool will generate a reward which will be transferred to the pool delegators (minus stake pool operation fees).
This means that stake pools need to be set up and run effectively as soon as the hard fork is completed allowing them to be eligible and compete to produce blocks.