First Impression about the Book
Honestly, I was saddened that the release of “Mastering Cardano” book was postponed.
Still, another book called “Cardano for the masses”, written by John Greene, caught me by surprise.
While reading the title for the first time, my expectations were, honestly, low. I thought this book would describe some silly Cardano concepts. After all, “the masses” in the crypto as I know nowadays, are concerned more about owning a Lambo than focusing on the real-life use cases of the blockchain technology, as well as its philosophy and long-term vision.
However, upon conducting a deep dive into the book, I was genuinely happy with the quality of work in this piece. It is the first book I can recall covering several in-depth aspects of Cardano, like its philosophy, long-term vision, some technical details, and its ecosystem.
Ultimately, I purchased both the paper format and the kindle format. This is despite preferring, in general, to read books on my iPad and sometimes in my desktop browser. Therefore, having a digital library accessible anytime in any place needed represents a crucial element of my knowledge management system.
Although the book boasts 473 pages, it is not too long but still covers all essential Cardano ideas. The book scratches the surface of many technical details, so as not to overwhelm the readers with complex concepts. John Greene, the author, said:
“This book is mainly for Cardano newcomers. It does not go deep into the weeds of the technical research papers, or explore concepts in great detail. The goal is to give a broad overview of Cardano”.
About the Author
The author of the book, John Greene, was unknown to me before I discovered the book. John is a Cardano enthusiast with an outstanding technical background, specifically in cloud infrastructure and security.
After discussing the book with him, and after its proofreading, I found him to be a humble person with a vast understanding of the Cardano protocol, coupled with an impressive vision.
Meanwhile, both of us firmly believe that Cardano will attract millions of people within a few years, as well as how this book will help with onboarding newcomers and serve as a reference to learn more about this technology.
Early days of Cardano and Roadmap
The Cardano book begins by introducing Cardano’s origins and the journey of its founder, Charles Hoskinson and the Cardano Roadmap
Immediately, what caught my attention most was the story of the early days of CH in the crypto space. In the beginning, Charles didn’t know where to start and didn’t know many people in the space. Hence, he sought advice from one of his old professors who said:
“those who cannot do… teach “.
Taking this advice offered a dramatic shift in CH’s life and helped him get involved in the space.
You may also notice that various Charles Hoskinson quotes from AMAs on YouTube or Twitter were extensively mentioned in the book. These quotes involve fundamental information about Cardano’s philosophy and vision.
In the second chapter, the author highlighted Cardano’s basic concepts and what distinguishes this blockchain from its competitors.
In this section, what I enjoyed the most was the explanation behind some names, like “Ouroboros “, “Plutus”, “ADA” etc…
In the third and fourth chapters, things become increasingly technical. Here, John Greene describes the basic principles of the proof of stake consensus mechanism.
The first-of-its-kind Ouroboros protocol was described in depth, while its role was emphasized in assuring the Cardano network’s security and decentralization.
In addition, the role of nodes and the contribution of the staking pools in maintaining the network’s integrity and security were emphasized.
The eUTXO Model and Plutus
In the fifth chapter, the author explains the extended UTXO model, as well as its advantages compared to bitcoin and the Ethereum account model. CH summarizes eUTXO’s capabilities by mentioning in a tweet that this model has “the expressiveness of Ethereum with the attack surface of Bitcoin”.
John Greene goes on to explain in depth a lot of important concepts related to tokens in Cardano. In this way, all tokens in Cardano are considered native, unlike Ethereum, where tokens should be created using a smart contract.
In the next sixth and seventh chapters, Plutus, the programming language utilized to write smart contracts in Cardano, and Marlowe, the domain specific language specialized in writing financial smart contracts, were underlined. However, this was achieved without diving deep into the technical details on how to write smart contracts. IOG’s Plutus Pioneer Program was referenced as the primary resource for onboarding developers in Cardano’s ecosystem.
In the eighth chapter, Voltaire’s last era of the Cardano roadmap was thoroughly demonstrated, covering governance and full decentralization.
The most important pillars of this era consist of, first, the CIPs (Cardano Improvement Proposals), and second, Project Catalyst. The latter serves as a special source for funding community projects leveraging the Cardano treasury and using a unique transparent on-chain voting system.
Last but not least, in the ninth chapter, the author went on to discuss the numerous possibilities to scale the Cardano network. These can be classified into two parts. The first is immediate short-term solutions, including some tuning on the actual network parameters and a slight block size increase. Meanwhile, the second includes mid- and long-term scaling solutions, Pipelining, Input Endorsers, Sidechains, Hydra, Mithril and rollups.
My thoughts about the book
I was so impressed by the quality of the work, but there is further optimization potential. I was honored to serve as one of the book’s proofreaders.
Cardano is changing rapidly; therefore, a newer, updated version of the book will be released after each major protocol change, like Hard Fork events. Moreover, the book will evolve with each iteration and edition, just like Cardano does.
Despite being a Plutus and Atala Prism Pioneer, as well as being active in the Cardano community, especially in Project Catalyst by building PeakChain, the first Connected Cars project on Cardano, and by regularly contributing to essentials Cardano, the book helped me by further consolidating my knowledge. That demonstrates the boundless potential of Cardano. Each and every day, I learn something new about this cutting-edge technology.
Support also our PeakChain Automotive Solutions in Project Catalyst Fund 9!