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The Best of Cardano Summit

The Cardano Summit took place in Dubai at the weekend. Let's take a look at some news and interesting things that caught our attention.

New Modular Framework and Midnight

Midnight got the most attention.

Charles Hoskinson presented a new framework that will offer new ways for developers and validators to utilize Cardano. It should allow third parties to build new optimized partner chains. Partner chains allow combining modular blockchain technology with Cardano’s proven security, liquidity, and reliability.

Midnight is supposed to be the first sidechain (or also a partner chain) with its consensus mechanism (combination of PoW and PoS) and ledger (which will be partly public and partly private).

In the original design of Cardano, which was published in the now legendary document Why Cardano, it is proposed to separate the settlement layer (CSL) from the computation layer (CCL). One common settlement layer can thus serve many computation layers and even be the ultimate cross-chain settlement layer.

You can imagine in a simplified way that next to the Plutus platform there will be other platforms that will share the ledger (assets).

Midnight is to be the first partner chain of Cardano. We don't know why the IOG team decided on a new terminology, that is, what exactly it means to be a partner chain. We will have to wait for further details, especially regarding how partner chains use CSL.

The IOG team decided to use the Substrate stack from Parity Technologies. This is a proven open-source modular framework that uses the Polkadot project. More details about the framework and the possibility of building new partner chains were not revealed.

Substrate is a blockchain framework that allows you to build fully customized blockchain nodes to suit your application or business model needs.

It is interesting how Cardano and Polkadot meet each other. The CEOs of both projects were the founders of Ethereum. In the past, the Polkadot team used Ouroboros Proof-of-Stake. Now the IOG team uses Substrate.

This is not unusual in the open-source world. The use of existing technologies accelerates development. I see it as both projects are leaders in innovation and support each other.

There are many unanswered questions surrounding the new framework and Midnight. As far as I know, developers can use Substrate to create a standalone blockchain that does not need the Polkadot consensus and ledger. These blockchains can be run entirely autonomously, which means they do not depend on any external technology to run. In the context of Cardano, it appears that it will not be necessary for the partner chain to use the Cardano Settlement Layer.

At the Summit, we also learned something about tokenomics. Midnight should have two tokens. One of them will be DUST, and ADA holders should receive a DUST airdrop. It was not announced in what proportion or other details.

Mehen USD

Cardano will (finally) have a USD-backed stablecoin. The Mehen (USDM) project is very likely to win first place. The launch is scheduled for December 19, 2023. USDM will be minted in 13 US states. The team is awaiting approval in other states.

Fingers crossed that the launch happens on the announced date. Cardano has native assets, so there will be a stablecoin that will not be subject to transaction censorship and account freezing on the blockchain. The team was able to negotiate approval for Cardano, which is a remarkable achievement considering that Emurgo was unsuccessful with their USDA in this regard.

USDM is very likely to bring new liquidity to the Cardano ecosystem and this can give DeFi a big boost. Stablecoins are essential to fulfill the mission of the project. Financial services cannot do without stability.

Governance and Catalyst Fund11

There was a lot of talk at the summit about decentralization and governance. You could learn more about DReps, SanchoNet, Intersect’s role in Cardano’s governance, etc.

A panel discussion took place in which the transparency of governance and the challenges associated with it were discussed. Charles Hoskinson elaborated that having a governance system and giving people the power to change it can lead to amazing things.

Probably the most important information for the teams is that the Catalyst Fund11 will be launched on November 15.

The Catalyst team heard criticism about downvoting, which significantly affected the results of Fund10. The biggest news is that the downvoting option will be removed in Fund11.

What Was Discussed

There was talk of adopting blockchain technology. Experts mentioned that ordinary people do not understand how to use blockchain. Education is seen as a necessity for further adoption. One of the panelists highlighted the shortage of understanding regarding select protocols, a reality that can stifle innovation, further stressing the importance of educating leaders and key stakeholders alongside the broader society.

There was a lot of debate about Web3 and the importance of communities. Also about regulations and enterprise adoption, or tokenization of real assets.

A panel of legal experts talked about the global blockchain regulation situation. They noted that licensing for blockchain-based business models has started reaching the mainstream debate.

One of the panel discussion participants emphasized that the race for mass adoption of blockchain has already started within an evolving regulatory environment, making it essential for projects without a solid footing to pivot quickly.

A very interesting panel discussion took place on the topic of the adoption of blockchain technologies in developing countries.

Several masterclasses on various topics took place from the biggest experts from the community (for example, the SPO masterclass).

The Battle of the Builders took place. The top 10 contestants presented their pitches in front of the jury and Summit attendees. Each project received five minutes to present their project. Maestro (Web3 stack that makes it easy to build DApps) received the first place, while the second went to NEWM (music streaming marketplace) and the third to zkFold (rollups scaling solution that uses zero-knowledge cryptography).

Past Summits have put more emphasis on technology. I had the impression from the 2023 Summit that there was more talk about the use of technology and adoption. Mithril, Hydra, and Marlowe were talked about, but more space was given to industry experts and builders from the community. This is positive news, as it shows that Cardano is much more ready for adoption than in previous years.

The CEO of the promising new DEX Axo spoke on stage. Mehen USD appeared in Battle of the Builders. Also, for example, the Finest project building a platform to trade tokenized real-world assets (RWA). We know that Cardano has a new NFT marketplace called JamOnBread.

The Cardano Summit is an important event because it shows the outside world that the project is still alive, and continues to develop and grow. Every year, the Summit is bigger and more covered by the media. Last weekend, social networks were full of Cardano. It was positive to see some Cardano skeptics change their minds during the Summit and start thinking more positively about the project.


The Summit was a big event mainly for those who flew to Dubai and met other members of the community. It is possible to make new contacts, get new ideas, or even make new partnerships.

The most discussed topic is and will probably continue to be Midnight and the new framework. Until more details are revealed, many people, including us, will be mulling over many details. We learned that the monetary policy of the Midnight is still being fine-tuned. No project launch date has been announced. All we know is that there is a Pioneer program going on (in which there was huge interest and not all interested parties can participate).

It is not possible to squeeze all the thoughts and details that could be seen and heard at the Cardano Summit into one article. However, the videos are freely available on the Cardano Foundation's YouTube. You can choose a topic that interests you.

Brought to you by Cardano Explorer Cexplorer.