Cardano’s development is guided by a methodical, research-based, and deliberate approach to innovation. Over five development phases, IOG introduced innovations, new functionality, and novel features, with each phase building upon the previous phase's achievements
Chapter 3. Goguen: introducing native tokens and smart contracts
While Cardano Shelley provided a greater level of system decentralization, Goguen development focused on the establishment of a global, financial and multi-functional system for decentralized application (DApp) building, smart contract support, and custom token issuance.
The Goguen development theme is named after Joseph Goguen – a computer scientist specializing in the philosophy of computation and information – who worked on the earliest approaches to the algebraic characterization of abstract data types. He was also involved in formal methods and theorem proving, the techniques which IOG implements while building Cardano’s solid foundation of peer-reviewed research and high-assurance development.
Goguen established a versatile platform to build solutions around such application domains as supply chain, track & trace, finance, medical records, identity voting, property registration, peer-to-peer payments, and many others. With its functionality, Goguen set initial enablers for turning Cardano into a more interoperable and scalable platform satisfying business needs.
The introduction of the multi-asset (MA) support extended the functionality of Cardano by enabling users to define, create or destroy, and exchange their own natively-supported tokens on Cardano. With MA support, the Cardano accounting ledger allowed the handling of custom tokens with no need for smart contracts, which significantly streamlined operation processing and simplified token movement. Another benefit was the easier integration of smart contracts and DApps involving multiple cryptocurrencies.
Plutus application development is another significant feature within Goguen. Plutus applications are built on top of the Plutus platform – a purpose-built smart contract development and execution platform utilizing Haskell. The use of Haskell allows developers to build secure and reliable applications with straightforward, concise, and reusable code that grants the highest level of security and efficiency of use.
Goguen also opens Cardano up to wider audiences via Marlowe, allowing financial and business experts with no previous technical knowledge to create smart contracts. Marlowe is a high-level, domain-specific language (DSL) that allows building contracts both visually and through coding. Financial institutions can use Marlowe to develop and deploy custom instruments for their customers and clients. Marlowe comes with the Marlowe Playground, which enables development, simulation, and testing of the process of writing smart contracts in a sandbox environment.
The implementation of such functionality as token locking, multi-asset, and smart contract support made Cardano a multi-functional platform for DApp development.
The combination of Plutus and Marlowe enables a new class of enterprise-level smart contracts with verified functionality, capable of underpinning large-scale implementations in the real world. This is a step change in the abilities of Cardano, opening the way to the development of mission-critical, decentralized smart contract applications, with even more exciting things to come during Basho and Voltaire.