Cardano has five main stages of development, often called “eras” — Byron, Shelley, Goguen, Basho, Voltaire — all of which will enhance the overall network’s functionalities.
Each era is centred around a set of functionalities that will be delivered across multiple code releases.
As per Cardano Foundation, while all the eras will be delivered sequentially, the work for each era happens in parallel, with research, prototyping, and development often in progress all at once across the different development streams
The latest Alonzo hard fork is the last major update for the Shelley era thus paving the way towards the Goguen era.
The developers of Cardano, the third-largest cryptocurrency by value after Bitcoin and Ethereum, aim to introduce smart contract capabilities in the Goguen era.
The era is named after Joseph Goguen, the US computer scientist and academic.
The Goguen era represents a big step forward in capability for the Cardano network as it is designed to allow developers to create decentralized applications on top of the Cardano blockchain.
It follows the Shelley era decentralizes the core of the system, Goguen adds the ability to build decentralized applications (DApps) on Cardano’s foundation of peer-reviewed research and high-assurance development.
Another feature that will be made available through the Goguen implementation is wider interoperability with other existing smart contracts, regardless of the difference in coding language used to develop them
One of the major goals of the forthcoming Goguen era has been the creation of Plutus, a purpose-built smart contract development language and execution platform using the functional programming language Haskell.
Plutus is already available for testing and brings the benefits of functional programming to smart contract creation.