• IOHK has set May 11th as the date for the start of the transition period to Cardano‘ s Shelley Mainnet with the Haskell Test Network.
  • The Haskell test network will provide a different experience for stake pool operators and users, as no incentives will be provided.

Following the launch of the Byron reboot in early April, Cardano is rapidly moving into the next era of its roadmap, Shelley. The company behind Cardano’s development, Input Output Hong Kong (IOHK), has defined May 11 as the beginning of the transition period to Shelley Mainnet. The transition will be managed by a series of Haskell Testnet’s.

According to IOHK, Cardano will be transformed from a „static“ and federated system into a dynamic and fully decentralized blockchain at the end of the transition period. In return, the transition phase will end with a hard fork and will peak with the introduction of Shelley.

Cardano ADA

According to a new publication by IOHK, Stake Pool operators and ADA owners will discover that Haskell-based test networks will differ from Incentivized Testnet (ITN). The Haskell test networks have a different objective and were therefore developed with a different focus than the ITN:

The ITN has been designed to provide the operators of stake pools with experience in building their critical infrastructure and at the same time to enable IOHK engineers to test the new incentive mechanisms with real ADAs delegated by the actual ADA holders.

The Haskell Shelley test network is all about ensuring that the Shelley Mainnet is calibrated to be a best-in-class experience from day one. Unlike the ITN, the Haskell Shelley Test Network will not involve „regular“ ADA holders: The test network will receive no incentives.

In addition, the duration of the individual phases will be shortened so that they will last weeks rather than months. The test networks will test all components of Cardano, from the functionality of the Daedalus Wallet to the Explorer and other components.

Multiple Phases

There will be a „faucet“ that will allow ADA owners to test the components and provide feedback – but there will be no „real ADA“ rewards, according to IOHK:

The Shelley experience will be implemented within clearly defined phases. The first three phases will be about exploring and testing the new Shelley features and arriving at a situation where we are ready for full use of the Shelley Mainnet.

As reported, the first phase will be the Friends and Family Network. This phase will be by invitation only and will be the first time that Shelley will be open to a small group of people. About 20 pool operators will be invited, who will be called „pioneers“. In this phase, the pioneers will test specific functionalities and explore the possibilities of the Haskell Shelley technology. The IOHK team hopes to invite more pioneers as soon as more features are added and the reliability of the test network is verified:

In this „Closed Alpha“ test phase, IOHK will focus on tuning system parameters such as saturation threshold, network resilience and decentralisation. In addition, IOHK engineers will observe whether the Ouroborous consensus mechanism proves itself in practice.

The results of the Haskell Shelley test networks will be shared with the Cardano community. The subsequent phase will be open to the public, although IOHK has not yet made public when this will happen. However, IOHK has stated that at each stage the focus will be on education and collaboration with the community:

The decentralisation of knowledge is as important as the decentralisation of the platform. The pioneering participants of the Alpha Test Network will advise the remaining stake pool operators on the configuration and provide crucial support in the application of the Shelley system.

Finally, the final phase before the deployment of Shelley will be the balance check phase. In this phase, Byron’s transaction histories and ITN rewards will be merged. This will prepare Mainnet for the introduction of the Shelley system. This phase will be one of the shortest and will take several weeks.