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Wave Financial launches ada yield fund to support Cardano's DeFi ecosystem growth

The ada yield fund aims to provide liquidity and other resources to Cardano’s rapidly expanding DeFi platform startups

31 March 2022 Fernando Sanchez 4 mins read

Wave Financial launches ada yield fund to support Cardano's DeFi ecosystem growth

30 March, 2022, Los Angeles, US / Singapore - Wave Financial LLC (Wave), a SEC-regulated digital asset investment management company, is pleased to announce the launch of the Wave ADA Yield Fund. The fund is designed to provide liquidity with millions in line to support new decentralized finance (DeFi) platforms launched in the Cardano ecosystem starting with an initial $100m.

“We’re thrilled to continue breaking ground in the field of cryptocurrency through the creation of innovative new funds, and today we are launching what we believe is the first pure liquidity provisioning fund in crypto,” said David Siemer, CEO of Wave Financial. “Our new fund will support the new decentralized exchanges, lending protocols, and stablecoin issuers building on Cardano. Each of these decentralized applications adds to the strong foundation of the Cardano blockchain as it realizes a fully functional and diverse ecosystem.”

The new ADA Yield Fund represents the continuation of Wave’s mission to support promising entrepreneurs within the crypto space beyond the early stage and foster greater innovation in the overall crypto ecosystem.

“Since the formal launch of smart contracts in 2021, the Cardano community has launched and funded hundreds of companies building on the Cardano blockchain,” said Charles Hoskinson, founder of Input Output, the software technology company that has been an early supporter of Cardano. “Cardano’s growing ecosystem is hosting an ever expanding universe of applications supporting significant numbers of active users – it’s critical for the success of the ecosystem that Cardano-based projects thrive, and so we are pleased that the ADA Yield Fund is committing substantial financial resources to facilitate continued growth and market acceptance.”

Historically, DeFi dApps are among the most popular in crypto in terms of bringing more users and applications on-chain. Specifically, decentralized exchanges (DEX) and defi lenders have gained the fastest popularity in terms of attracting users and capital. DEX typically are set up without market makers, but with two pools of assets that represent each side of a trading pair that serve as a source for DEX counterparties to trade against when they want to transact on either side of the pair. Wave will be using the ADA Yield Fund to provide liquidity to these pairs of pools to support Cardano DEXes. For DeFi lenders, there will also be a similar form of support to augment liquidity to facilitate lending. Also, Wave will continue to support and expand stake pools to strengthen the Cardano network.

"EMURGO is excited to support the creation of this valuable ADA Yield Fund to further drive expansion and adoption of Cardano's quickly developing DeFi ecosystem," said Ken Kodama, founder & CEO of EMURGO, a global blockchain solutions company and venture capital fund that has also been an early supporter of Cardano. "Providing strategic capital resources through the fund will help talented entrepreneurs and projects to build essential DeFi services on Cardano, ultimately delivering impactful solutions and onboarding more users to the global Cardano community."

Frederik Gregaard, CEO of the Cardano Foundation, said, “The launch of the Wave ADA Yield Fund, plus the Wave Financial team’s commitment to supporting promising entrepreneurs, indicates a thriving healthy ecosystem. For our community to build the world’s future financial and social operating system, then the strength of our ecosystem matters. We will always be stronger as a collective than as a single unit.”

Wave is registered with the US Securities & Exchange Commission as an investment adviser. To learn more about Wave Financial, please visit the Wave Financial website. Please direct media inquiries to:

  • US: WaveFinancial@finnpartners.com
  • UK and Europe: Angus.Campbell@citigatedewerogerson.com
Important Disclosures and Other Information
Nothing in this material should be interpreted as an offer or recommendation to buy, sell or hold any security or other financial product. Past performance is no guarantee of future results. Wave Financial LLC is an investment adviser, registered with the US Securities and Exchange Commission (CRD#: 305726). Registration with the federal authority does not imply a certain level of skill or training. Additional information including important disclosures about Wave Financial LLC also is available on the SEC's website at www.adviserinfo.sec.gov. Or, learn more information about Wave Financial at www.wavegp.com.
The ecosystem landscape included in this post is intended to provide generalized guidance; nothing in this analysis is intended as tax advice, investment advice, a recommendation to purchase a security or an introduction to particular funding or capital resource.

Cardano at Christmas (and what to say if anyone asks…)

You may be taking some time out from crypto this holiday season. But if table talk does flow towards Cardano, here’s your conversation starter…

21 December 2021 Fernando Sanchez 7 mins read

Cardano at Christmas (and what to say if anyone asks…)

'twas the night before Christmas, when all thru the house,

Not a crypto was stirring, not even Cardano

When American scholar Clement Clarke Moore wrote A visit from St. Nicholas, cryptocurrencies were certainly not in his mind. According to historians, Clarke wrote the piece as a Christmas treat for his daughters, and read it aloud as the family gathered together on Christmas Eve, 1822.

Christmas celebrations were probably less complicated in the first quarter of the 19th century, and perhaps more truthful to the spirit of the season than in later decades. Conversations around Christmas dinner today also involved family matters, for sure, but the topic of cryptocurrencies and blockchain does come up, more and more frequently. People are getting curious about this new and seemingly inscrutable digital world.

There are many big names out there. For better or worse, everyone has heard of Bitcoin. And some may have heard of Ethereum, too, or become aware of the dog-meme coin craze of past months. But the question is, how do you explain Cardano to the family?

The stake pools were hung by the chimney with care

Christmas and the holiday season is all about food, family, and fine spirits (not necessarily in that order.) The day is long and merry and full of inquisitive minds. Certainly, we’d advise putting the phone down and switching off from the crypto craziness that will still be waiting for you when you return. But should you find yourself cornered at the hearth by some crypto-curious relatives who just need to know about ada, and Cardano, and blockchain, and all that, well, this is how the tale goes.

Cardano is a digital ledger that uses ada as its native currency. This digital ledger, which you can think of as a fancy version of the old-fashion accounting book, is called a blockchain because new blocks are appended to the ledger all the time, so it keeps growing. Those blocks contained transactions with ada, and other digital tokens.

Cardano is decentralized. This means that, unlike a bank for example, there is no central authority regulating what happens in the network. Cardano is effectively a piece of software run by thousands of people to create a network that can be used by millions. And over time, Cardano will become an entirely self-regulating network, with decisions about its future taken by the community.

Who produces the blocks that make up the blockchain? Well, that’s the job of what are called stake pools. These are network nodes (think computers) that are responsible for processing the transactions, and these add new blocks to keep Cardano growing. Stake pools really are at the heart of Cardano. People who hold ada can delegate some (or all of it) to these stake pools – via a wallet application they can run on their phones or computers – and get rewards regularly.

So decentralization is a key aspect of blockchain, and one that you need to understand. It is an environment where trust is implicitly established by something called consensus protocol. In Cardano, this protocol is Ouroboros, named after the ancient symbol for eternity. Think of Ouroboros as a behind-the-scenes music director orchestrating all the different components within Cardano. A ‘conductor’ that ensures all the different instruments are in tune, on tempo and playing the same score.

And you want to know one of the best things about Cardano? You have probably heard about climate change, energy crisis, etc. Cardano is very much a green blockchain, as it consumes far less energy to produce new blocks than the Bitcoin or Ethereum networks. That is because Ouroboros is a proof-of-stake protocol.

Let’s talk about decentralized finance

Banks and credit unions charge a lot for their services, and when you deposit your money with them, you get next to nothing in return. There was always an imbalance with traditional finance. But it just isn't working anymore, right?

Blockchain technology offers a way to move away from all that, thanks to something called decentralized finance, or DeFi. In legacy finance, the bank dictates and regulates what happens with the money you deposit. And every time you need a loan or access credit, the bank has the ultimate power to decide whether or not you are granted access to those facilities. That's because traditional banking is centralized around banks, or credit unions.

DeFi turns the tables and empowers the individual to make the decisions. This is possible because DeFi works in peer-to-peer fashion. Person to person, with no need for banks.

Why do I tell you this? Because Cardano is part of DeFi. And we want to take that a step further with RealFi, providing millions around the world with a digital identity to allow them to access this new breed of financial services. Cardano is built by people, for the people. Cardano wants to create a financial environment that is fair and inclusive, where people can make the decisions that have, for many years, been made by all those institutions on people's behalf.

RealFi

Banks may have acted as middlemen, facilitators. But people keep the economy going, you see. And often, people need access to finance to do just that. Maybe they need some liquidity to open a business, or they might be smallholders in developing nations who might have to buy fertilizer, or simply pay their providers. And often, banks might not be able to help, because of past credit issues, or quite simply, because some people in remote or rural areas of the world cannot prove who they are. Did you know that there's about a billion people in the world who have no legal identity?

There's where Cardano steps in, thanks to real finance, or RealFi. Cardano can give those billion people an identity. A digital identity, in fact, which they can use to access finance. RealFi creates value and opportunity for the real people who really need these things.

Down the chimney ada came with a bound

Remember we mentioned ada, the currency that Cardano uses to pay for transactions, rewards, etc.? (And by the way, the coin is named after Ada Lovelace, a mathematician, and the daughter of Lord Byron.) You can purchase ada with fiat through some websites called exchanges. Or swap it for other cryptocurrencies through decentralized exchanges. So you buy/swap your ada, and store it in a wallet. Cardano uses two ‘official’ wallets, Daedalus and Yoroi. Yoroi is a 'light wallet,' that is, it's an extension that you add to your internet browser. Daedalus is a ‘full’-node’ wallet that stores the entire history of the blockchain making it more secure but slower. You can also choose from a number of community-build wallets - remember, as an open source decentralized project anyone can build products or solutions for Cardano.

Once you have ada in your wallet, you can use it to pay for transactions, delegate to stake pools (remember the stockings?), or trade it for other cryptocurrencies by using exchanges. Or of course, you can exchange it for NFTs – but if your relative hasn’t picked up any of the news about that in recent months, you’ll probably need boxing day to get them fully up to speed…

Make Cardano part of your New Year's resolution

So there we have it, a very simplified, concise introduction. But hopefully, it means explaining Cardano to your friends or family needs not be a chore nor a complicated matter. So as the glasses clink and the turkey gravy flows around the Christmas table, tell a tale of awe, of a blockchain merry and full of wonder, one that will make the crypto world go yonder.

Introducing Catalyst Natives - How any business can leverage the Cardano innovation engine

As part of the broader Catalyst project, the Catalyst Natives program opens up the potential of blockchain technology to new use cases for everyday businesses of all sizes

10 November 2021 Fernando Sanchez 5 mins read

Introducing Catalyst Natives - How any business can leverage the Cardano innovation engine

We are excited to announce the first Catalyst Natives pilot, as part of Project Catalyst, Cardano’s community-driven innovation engine. Catalyst Natives enables any organization to leverage the crowd’s power to solve business problems and outsource the implementation of solutions. This project opens up the potential of blockchain technology to new use cases for everyday businesses, both large and small.

We’re launching a series of pilots, firstly in conjunction with COTI, an enterprise-grade fintech company that empowers organizations to build their payment solutions. COTI has developed, in partnership with Cardano, a very user-friendly and scalable ada payment solution for the community. As a result, online merchants, from a small hotel in Europe to a big e-commerce website in Asia, can easily accept hundreds or thousands of ada transactions by integrating adaPay into their site.

When asked about the partnership Shahaf Bar-Geffen the CEO of COTI, he said:

We are very excited to be the first company to launch a Catalyst Native fund. As close partners, it is only natural for COTI, IOHK, and Cardano Foundation to collaborate once again to allow teams from all over the world to take part in the adaPay development and participate in our challenge. Finding new innovative ways to enrich adaPay will value not only the Cardano and COTI communities but the entire world by allowing a very wide variety of merchants to accept ada as a payment method.

Project Catalyst

In less than a year, Project Catalyst has grown to become the world’s largest decentralized innovation fund. It is a center for future development and sustainable innovation, driven by the Cardano community, for the Cardano community. In this initial pilot of Catalyst Natives, we are opening the gateway to organizations outside of the Cardano ecosystem to harness the transformative power of the Project Catalyst innovation engine.

At each funding round, Project Catalyst has presented several challenges for the community to collaborate on and deliver solutions. Now, with the launch of Fund 7, there is $8m worth of ada available, 80% of which is set aside for project funding and 20% is available for rewards incentives for voters and community advisors. Fund 7 consists of 24 challenges, 21 of those challenges were proposed by and voted for by the community, two challenges were proposed by IOG, and the Catalyst natives pilot in collaboration with COTI. The Catalyst community votes on the presented solutions and the winners of that vote receive funding to complete their projects.

Catalyst Natives

Catalyst Natives extends access to Project Catalyst functionality like the Cardano native tokens feature extends the range of tokens on the Cardano blockchain.

With the introduction of Catalyst Natives, organizations outside of the Cardano/Catalyst ecosystem can also present challenges and offer incentives and rewards to those who successfully meet the challenge with their proposed innovations.

In this pilot, COTI offers an innovative technical challenge to our communities. All small and medium enterprises currently using platforms such as Shopify and WooCommerce will be able to benefit from new and creative ways to accept ada payments with seamless integration by adding a plug-in to their site.

Following the pilot, we will be opening Catalyst Natives to receive further challenges from other external organizations, these challenges in the initial phase will be curated by IOG to ensure they add value to the wider Cardano ecosystem. Organizations submitting challenges through Natives will provide the funding for those proposals, meaning that Catalyst Natives do not use the Cardano Treasury funding to pay for the successfully voted-for projects. In Fund 7, COTI provides $100k worth of COTI tokens plus costs, which is over and above the existing $8 million ada fund.

Catalyst Natives is a fantastic proposition for organizations of all shapes and sizes to gain access to a veritable trove of ideas and to those with the skills to realize them. Catalyst Natives is currently looking to help partners and native asset token projects in the Cardano ecosystem address specific pain points that they either do not have the resources to resolve or simply do not have a solution for, and outsource them as Catalyst challenges for proposers to address.

As the future rolls toward us at an ever-increasing pace, organizations must adapt to constantly changing market conditions and systems like Catalyst may pave the way for disruption in how people collaborate and make decisions beyond the Cardano community. Emerging markets make planning exceptionally challenging. This uncertainty is why the ability to tap into a think tank as and when needed and outsource implementation is highly valuable and may be the differentiating factor in competitive market spaces.

How to apply to Catalyst Natives

Do you have a specific business problem and would like to take part in the next Catalyst Natives pilot? Please apply here and take the next steps towards accessing untapped potential.

Where to find out more about Project Catalyst?

  • Catalyst Newsletter
  • Catalyst Announcements Channel
  • Catalyst Community Chat
  • Catalyst Fund 7 Launch Guide
  • Browse Projects
Tim Richmond, communications manager at IOG, also contributed to this article.

Empowering a new generation of innovators in Ghana

Our education mission continues with a new Haskell course for an initial cohort of 80 student developers in Ghana to create blockchain solutions

5 November 2021 Fernando Sanchez 4 mins read

Empowering a new generation of innovators in Ghana

As part of our commitment to global outreach, and to foster the adoption of blockchain technology worldwide, we are announcing the launch of a Haskell programming course in Ghana.

Eighty students will benefit from this educational program, which will teach them the necessary skills to create projects and build applications to transform local industries using blockchain.

Blockchain as a driving force for technological advancement

Haskell, named after American mathematician Haskell Curry, is a functional programming language that emphasizes the use of “pure” functions where possible. That is, functions that always give the same result for the same input. This is particularly relevant for systems that require high-assurance code (such as blockchain) and programs that require a high degree of formal verification. This is specifically why Cardano was built with Haskell.

The upcoming course will offer students the opportunity to learn functional programming techniques, and how to build smart contract applications. This course aims to support the development of a new generation of Ghanaian innovators, empowered to create blockchain solutions to address some of the challenges faced by their country. This cohort of blockchain-skilled individuals will have the necessary technical knowledge to create applications for industries as diverse as finance, the arts, and the music world.

This course couldn't come at a more timely moment for the country. Ghana is currently driving the digitization of some of its key economic areas. Bank of Ghana, for example, is working towards the development of a blockchain-based digital currency. The skills taught in this course will become a key asset for the next generation of technological leaders, who will be able to make a significant contribution to Ghana's digital innovation.

Lars Brünjes, IOG's Director of Education, will teach the course, as he did before in other locations. “The previous Haskell courses in Athens, Barbados, Ethiopia, and (virtually) in Mongolia have all been very successful and great experiences for me,” said Lars. “Teaching is never a one-way street: While sharing my knowledge with the students, I enjoy listening to their stories and discovering their own, unique perspectives.”

Where is this course imparted?

The course will be held in Accra, Ghana's capital city and economic and administrative hub, and delivered in collaboration with the Pan-African Tech Foundation (PATF), a non-profit foundation that promotes technological development in Africa. The PATF and IOG will liaise with technology-focused universities and hubs to select the best candidates. As before, students who excel at the course will also have employment opportunities at IOG.

Lars added “I love the concept of these courses: The students are passionate about solving the unique problems of their countries, and we give them the necessary tools to achieve this. We gain bright young people with invaluable local knowledge, and they get the opportunity to work at the forefront of technology while never having to leave their own countries.”

“Many of my students from previous courses have told me how it was the toughest course they ever did, “ he added. “But also how it changed their lives and gave them all they needed to hit the ground running.”

The bottom line

Charles Hoskinson said: “At IO we are committed to empowering citizens to autonomously develop solutions to day-to-day challenges in their own nations, which is why the Haskell training courses are such a fundamental part of our work. “

“We have always taken an academic, research-first approach to blockchain development, so Haskell was our choice of programming language for our industry-leading green blockchain platform, Cardano. With a generation of innovative tech leaders in Ghana capable of using such a secure and robust programming language, we could see transformative applications built which shape the tech landscape in Ghana for decades to come.

This course perfectly aligns with that vision, with IOG’s endeavor to make education more accessible, affordable, and equitable across Africa, and with Cardano's overall mission to become the world's financial system. Cardano is about promoting inclusion and fairness through sustainable technological advancement.

Lars perfectly illustrates this concept, and shows how these courses align with Cardano's vision:

“We all want to make the world a better place, and these courses allow me to do this in my own little way. Education and knowledge open so many doors, and I feel grateful and blessed for the opportunity to make a difference by sharing my knowledge.”

Plutus Application Backend (PAB): supporting DApp development on Cardano

The PAB provides the components and an environment to help developers create and test DApps, before deploying them to a live production environment

28 October 2021 Fernando Sanchez 6 mins read

Plutus Application Backend (PAB): supporting DApp development on Cardano

The Alonzo protocol upgrade introduced Plutus – a platform that provides a native smart contract language along with the necessary infrastructure and tools to support smart contracts on Cardano. The Plutus platform enables developers to write decentralized applications (DApps) with scripting capabilities that interact with distributed ledgers.

To understand Plutus, one has to recognize three concepts:

  • The Extended Unspent Transaction Output (EUTXO) model
  • Plutus Core ‒ the ‘on-chain’ part of Plutus
  • The Plutus Application Framework (PAF) ‒ Plutus contracts consist of parts that run on the blockchain (on-chain code) and parts that run on a user’s machine (off-chain or client code)

Both the on-chain and off-chain code are written in Haskell, and Plutus smart contracts are effectively Haskell programs.

What is the Plutus Application Backend?

In a previous blog post, we discussed the on- and off-chain functionality of core components of Plutus in greater detail. Here, let’s dive deeper into Plutus off-chain capabilities and take a look at the Plutus Application Backend (PAB).

In the UTXO model, we have off-chain infrastructure that builds the transactions that move the apps along. This off-chain infrastructure is quite complicated because it needs to look at the ledger state, pick some information from the ledger, and put it all together to build a transaction with the right pieces of data in the right place. The PAB is a single Haskell library that makes it easier to write this off-chain infrastructure and the on-chain scripts.

The PAB helps with building the UTXO transactions in two ways:

  • The read path - That is, getting information from the chain, and reacting to events that happen on the blockchain. The read path is currently working on the testnet
  • The write path - This is where we actually construct the transactions that run the Plutus scripts

The role of the PAB

The PAB is a key component of the Plutus Application Framework (PAF) that enables developers to create and test DApps locally, before deploying them to a live production environment. A little like the Marlowe Playground provides a sandbox for devs to create and test financial smart contracts, the PAB offers a similar environment for devs to create and test full DApps.

The PAB is an off-chain, backend service for managing and handling the requirements of the application instance throughout its lifecycle. This includes interaction with external clients (such as wallet frontends) and acts as an intermediary between Plutus Applications, the node, the wallet backend, and end-users. Such interaction is made possible by PAB commands and mock components that enable convenient simulations and integration of DApps.

While not a prerequisite for DApp creation or implementation – some developers are creating their own tools and indeed API-based alternatives are being worked on by the community – the PAB removes the need for developers to create their own infrastructure from scratch (including chain index, etc.) reducing development time and resources needed. It allows developers to simulate how an application would behave on-chain for prior testing and error elimination, to ensure a flawless transition for launch.

The purpose of the PAB is to:

  • provide a standardized environment for Plutus applications to run in
  • present discoverable interfaces to the external clients
  • track on-chain information for smart contract uses
  • allow the developer to work in an emulated or non-emulated environment

The PAB can switch between emulated and non-emulated (real network) environments seamlessly. This makes it easier to write all kinds of different tests – unit tests, integration tests, property based tests, etc. The PAB allows DApps to easily communicate with it as the backend can receive and deliver messages. Thus, the DApp can send usual requests to endpoints that the PAB has exposed, and which correspond to actions and operations that any particular smart contract is capable of handling.

Applications deployed using the framework’s libraries can run on the PAB, which provides runtime support for access to the blockchain to further perform smart contract operations triggering transactions based on the EUTXO model. Additionally, PAB features functionality for persistence, logging, and monitoring.

Where are we right now?

Earlier this summer, we deployed the first in a series of color-coded testnets to bring core Plutus smart contract capability to Cardano. This was deployed on mainnet via the ‘Alonzo’ hard fork. Smart contract capability is currently accessible using a Command Line Interface (CLI). While the first simple smart contracts were enabled on mainnet in early September, this was always the first stage in the road to DApp deployment on mainnet.

Developers have meanwhile been working on their DApps (many via the PAB) locally while testing any core smart contract functionality on the testnet. These elements need to come together before an DApp hits mainnet and this takes time. Once the PAB is integrated with the node and other core components such as the wallet back end (WBE) connector, developers will be able to move their DApps into a state of readiness and bring them to the Cardano testnet prior to mainnet launch.

These early applications built locally will then be able to interact with the mainnet as intended. The ‘mockchain’ approach to development to date means that for DApp creators, it will be a smooth transition from testnet to mainnet. All it takes is a change in the configuration files to start the PAB, it requires no changes to the actual code or to the Haskell code. This integration work is complex and a critical part of Cardano infrastructure so we need to ensure it is done correctly. We’re continuing to work on the final integrations and based on the current trajectory, we plan to deliver the integration in November, assuming we don’t encounter any critical issues.

Looking ahead

This is just the start. As always, this will be an iterative process. With the evolution of the Plutus platform, we will be inviting the developer community to deploy their own tooling and create off-chain code for their DApps running on Cardano. We have already seen a hive of activity in this area, through both the Alonzo testnet program and Project Catalyst. So while we test the platform with our engineers/QA and the developer community, we’ll be making gradual improvements and adding more capabilities and functionality. The goal? From the Alonzo hardfork and the arrival of Plutus smart contracts, a rapid scaling of the developer experience, with new tools, APIs and environments to support an already burgeoning ecosystem of talent.

For regular updates make sure you follow us on Twitter and subscribe to our YouTube channel. For an overview of projects #BuildingOnCardano be sure to check out the Essential Cardano repo.