Is Cardano Ready for Decentralized Governance? Impact of Node 9.0 Release



The Cardano blockchain took a significant step towards decentralized governance on July 8th with the release of Node 9.0, the latest version of its validator node software. This update paves the way for the upcoming Chang hard fork, a critical milestone in Cardano’s roadmap known as the “Age of Voltaire.”

The announcement came from Cardano founder Charles Hoskinson in a YouTube video on July 7th. He described Node 9.0 as the final development step needed for the Chang hard fork and hinted at its imminent release, suggesting a mass upgrade signal would follow “probably Monday or Tuesday.”

For a successful hard fork, at least 70% of Cardano nodes need to adopt the new software. This update, available on the Cardano node GitHub page, allows nodes to prepare for the Chang hard fork boundary on the mainnet and long-running testnets.

The Age of Voltaire and Decentralized Governance

The Chang hard fork marks the beginning of the Age of Voltaire, a period that will usher in major changes to Cardano’s governance structure. Cardano Improvement Proposal 1694 (CIP 1694) outlines these changes, with the ultimate goal of empowering ADA token holders through the introduction of Delegate Representatives (DReps).

Elected by ADA holders, DReps will play a crucial role in shaping Cardano’s future. They will be responsible for drafting a Cardano Constitution, essentially the supreme governing document for the network. Once approved, DReps will continue to propose changes to the network in accordance with the Constitution.

While Node 9.0 doesn’t enable DRep voting or full governance actions yet (that functionality is slated for version 10.0), it lays the groundwork by enabling the initial phase of CIP 1694 in production environments.

Chang Hard Fork Timeline and Readiness

Although Hoskinson anticipated the hard fork to occur in June, it was delayed by roughly a week. Additionally, Cardano implemented another node upgrade in late June to address a distributed denial-of-service attack attempt.

At the time of writing, block explorer Cardanoscan indicates that exchanges and stake pools haven’t fully prepared for the hard fork. Hoskinson, however, expressed confidence in a July 8th-9th timeframe for the hard fork to begin.

Looking Ahead

The release of Node 9.0 signifies a significant step forward for Cardano as it progresses towards a more decentralized future. With the Chang hard fork on the horizon, the Cardano community eagerly awaits the Age of Voltaire and the empowerment it brings to ADA holders.