It’s here! Yes, I know — like me, you’ve probably been waiting and waiting thinking that this day might never come. The wait is over, folks, and the future is now! I am so happy to see Cardano switch from its federated Byron-era to the wonderful new, decentralized Proof-of-Stake Shelley era. If you have been wanting to use your ada to earn more by helping to decentralize and expand the platform, now is your prime opportunity. By staking your ada to the expanding list of stakepools (about 600 already!) you have the opportunity to receive rewards in the form of additional ada. Proof-of-Stake requires that those with a vested interest in maturing the Cardano ecosystem participate in the operation and governance of the blockchain. The Shelley-era is the first step towards that Blockchain 3.0 standard. The Goguen-era will bring smart contracts and Voltaire will bring voting and governance for the blockchain’s future. What a wonderfully democratic system!
Like the incentivized testnet, the Shelley-era Cardano blockchain is divided into epochs and slots. We’ll write some more about these time divisions in the future, but for the present we’ll just give some basic information. Each epoch lasts five days, and if you decide to change the pool you’re staking with, you typically will have to wait for the next epoch to have your preference change take effect. This slows down the rate at which people can make decisions that can have significant impacts on the operation of the chain. Each epoch is further divided into slots. Each slot may or may not have a new block for the chain forged in it. So, the epoch and slot numbers act as a kind of address in time for each block that is forged in the chain. The content of these blocks is the ledger info for all the Cardano transactions and wallets that have been registered. At the moment, we are in the very first (or epoch zero) of the Shelley-era. However, this is the 208th epoch since the beginning of the blockchain back in 2017. The blockchain currently stands at over 4 GB worth of financial content, and will continue to grow and grow.
Where things will go from here, only the upcoming epochs and slots will tell! However, don’t miss out on a great opportunity to be a part of a financial ecosystem that may be the beginning of a worldwide economic revolution!