I’ve seen an increasing level of frustration in the Cardano community over the price of Ada. A lot of people were expecting a boost given the implementation of smart contracts and the announcements from the Cardano summit at the end of September.
In my mind, we won’t see significant price increase till we have actual DApps running on Cardano. Where people are getting confused however is that smart contracts and DApps are different things, something that I’m afraid to say could have been made clearer by Charles Hoskinson or IOHK.
The Cardano blockchain now runs smart contracts on-chain, but without the tooling to go with it, developers cannot implement DApps – applications that run through a web-browser.
The following is a guide to the key components that developers are waiting for.
Plutus Application Backend
The Plutus Application Backend (PAB) enables DApps to interact with the smart contracts that sit on chain. It is an off-chain, backend service, hosted on the DApp providers infrastructure, and used for managing and handling the requirements of the application.
So think of the PAB as a middle-man that handles all your requests and makes sure everything being sent to the chain is in a standardized format.
The PAB was initially estimated to be ready by Sept 10th. Version 0.0.1 of the PAB was released on the 24th of September, but it is still being finalized with no clarity on what the timing is.
The DApp connector allows DApps to interact with wallets. On June 8th, Kevin Hammond of IOHK wrote:
“Connecting DApps to wallets is very sensible. IOHK will provide a DApps connector for Plutus that will provide some endpoints via the wallet backend API. This is under development at the moment.”
However as of Oct 5th this is yet to be completed. One developer shared their frustration on Discord:
The last item being enquired about on Discord is the ERC-20 converter. This would allow Eth tokens to be converted into a format compatible with the Cardano blockchain, and can then be converted back. This was supposed to launch at the beginning of September but as of Oct 5th there has been no news of its status.
So as you see there are several key components holding back the implementation of DApps on Cardano. My issue with this is not the delay, but the lack of transparency on the matter. The Cardano community is renowned for its patience, and we want things built properly. But in return we expect clarity especially when there are developers who have switched their career focus to Cardano and are anxious to launch their DApps.
That being said the tooling is not an insurmountable problem and devs are able to build out their solutions and test much of it while they wait. Once these components are out we should see a flood of DApps hitting the Cardano blockchain.