Cardano’s next upgrade makes it more like a DAO

Cardano’s next upgrade makes it more like a DAO
Cardano's upcoming hard fork will introduce a DAO-style governance system for the blockchain. Credit: Darren Joseph
  • Cardano’s Chang hard fork is imminent.
  • The hard fork will introduce DAO-style governance for Cardano.

Cardano, Charles Hoskinson’s $15 billion blockchain, is barreling toward a transition to decentralised ownership, similar to the structure of a decentralised autonomous organisation, or DAO, that’s popular among DeFi protocols.

The development of Cardano, which was created in 2017, has been under the sole management of Hoskinson’s blockchain engineering firm, Input Output Global, along with the Cardano Foundation and EMURGO, Cardano’s official commercial arm.

That will change with the scheduled Chang hard fork this month.

Hard forks happen when developers execute major changes to a blockchain’s programming resulting in a new network version that is not backward compatible with the previous network.

Blockchains like Bitcoin and Ethereum have also completed hard forks in the past that have triggered massive changes to their networks.

Ethereum’s most recent hard fork in 2022 changed the network from a Proof of Work chain with miners to Proof of Stake.

Cardano’s Chang hard fork can happen once 70% of the blockchain’s validators upgrade to the network’s latest node software version.

Instead of centralised entities running Cardano, the blockchain’s governance will be community-driven once the Chang hard fork happens, Hoskinson said on X this week.

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With Chang, ADA token holders will have governance rights and be able to vote on changes to Cardano. ADA is Cardano’s native token.

The upgrade will also introduce other DAO-like elements to Cardano such as voting power delegation, budgets for project teams, and a treasury managed by the community.

The Chang hard fork and the resulting pivot to a decentralised governance structure is called the Voltaire era, and is the fifth step in Cardano’s road map. The previous two milestones — Goguen and Basho — introduced smart contract and scalability features to the blockchain.

Despite those new features, Cardano’s DeFi market has struggled to take off and has been overshadowed by Solana and several Ethereum layer 2 networks.

Cardano losing ground to buzzier crypto projects is reflected in its token’s value.

ADA, once the third-largest crypto by market value during the 2021 bull market, has dropped to 11th place, overtaken by popular memecoins Dogecoin and Shiba Inu.

Osato Avan-Nomayo is our Nigeria-based DeFi correspondent. He covers DeFi and tech. To share tips or information about stories, please contact him at

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