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Cardano’s “genesis keys”: Centralization or necessary control?

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Justin Bons raises concerns regarding Cardano’s centralization. Is there more to the story?

ADA: 'extremely centralised'?

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  • Justin Bons raised concerns about Cardano’s “genesis keys,” challenging decentralization claims.
  • Despite the challenges, Cardano highlights strong development activity.

As the broader market rallied ahead of the upcoming Ethereum [ETH] exchange-traded fund (ETF) approval, a heated debate has erupted within the Cardano [ADA] community.

The discussion centered on Cardano’s “genesis keys,” which are cryptographic keys utilized to sign and establish the initial block of the Cardano blockchain in 2015. They were pivotal for securing the chain and safeguarding the ledger against manipulation.

However, the “genesis keys” also control all rules of the protocol.

Is Cardano centralized? 

The debate was ignited by Justin Bons, Founder and CIO of Cyber Capital.

In a thread on X (formerly Twitter), Bons highlighted the centralized control that the “genesis keys” grant to Input Output Global (IOG), one of the three primary organizations responsible for Cardano’s research and development.

Criticising ADA’s decentralization fallacy, Bons noted, 

“Cardano has “genesis keys”; a multi-sig that controls all rules!”

Further confirming his stance, he highlighted, 

“ADA is extremely centralized, as this is uniquely hardcoded into the protocol.” 

In the long thread, he also acknowledged Cardano’s efforts towards on-chain governance with the Voltaire upgrade. However, he believes that the “genesis keys” still render ADA centralized at present.

Conflicting viewpoints 

Questioning Bons’ stance, a self-claimed Cardano user, @JaromirTesar, took to X (formerly Twitter) and said, 

“Genesis keys are only a tool to trigger a hard fork (it is just a change of the major protocol version).” 

He further added, 

“The use of Genesis keys has its fixed limits and possibilities…Very soon, the governance will pass into the hands of the Cardano community. Genesis keys will lose functionality. ”

Further affirming Cardano’s decentralization, Cardano content creator @bigpeyYT added,

bigpeyYT tweet on ADA

Source: big pey/X

Final thoughts 

While “genesis keys” provide a practical method for adjusting protocols, their centralized nature raises concerns among stakeholders. 

Despite this concern, the 10th largest cryptocurrency flashed all greens, with a massive jump of 5.03% in the last 24 hours.

Additionally, in the past 24 hours, Cardano saw a large transaction volume of 21.34 billion ADA, valued at $10.11 billion, as per IntoTheBlock data. 

ADA's IntoTheBlock data

Source: IntoTheBlock

 

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Ishika is a graduate of Political Science from the University of Delhi. From writing content as a hobby to now pursuing it as a professional career, she has been living and breathing content all her life. Her interests lie in making sure articles are very digestible to a common reader, despite all its technicalities and jargons.
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