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Cardano’s big alonzo upgrade will bring ‘programmability’ to the blockchain, according to founder Charles Hoskinson – he’s going to wear a Ghostbusters costume to mark the occasion

Cardano’s big “alonzo” upgrade rolls out on Sunday and will usher in the network’s ability to run a range of crypto applications, from smart contracts to non-fungible tokens and aims to bring what founder Charles Hoskinson calls “programmability” to the blockchain.

Sunday marks the final, and most important stage of the alonzo series of upgrades that will help the network compete with the likes of ethereum – currently the biggest blockchain that can run applications other than a native cryptocurrency token. Smart contracts will enable the network to run decentralized finance applications, for example.

“One of the magical superpowers of cardano is that we built it with upgradability in mind,” Hoskinson told Insider in an interview.

“It means that cardano now supports programmability. That’s like when JavaScript came to the web browser. So, you go from static boring web pages, to Facebook and Google and YouTube,” he said.

Investors of all sizes have been buying into cryptocurrencies on a vast scale this year, partly out of a desire to diversify away from traditional assets like stocks or fiat currencies, but also because of the potential some of the various blockchains hold to revolutionize finance, trading and even art and entertainment.

For example, NFTs, which are essentially like digital collectors’ items that represent real-world assets like artwork, video and even virtual real estate, have been booming, endorsed by celebrities, sports stars and luxury brands.

Accessing these digital assets often requires a cryptocurrency. The prospect of having to use a blockchain’s native currency to buy an NFT, take part in an online game, or make a payment has been a big driver in some of the tokens whose networks offer, or will offer, these capabilities – cardano being one of them.

Since cardano announced in a video on August 13 that it would release the final alonzo “purple” update on September 12, the network’s native ada cryptocurrency has gained around 33% and is now the third largest digital coin by market value, with a capitalization of $82 billion, according to coinmarketcap.com.

Bitcoin, the biggest crypto that boasts a market value of around $884 billion, has gained around 4% in that time.

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