What is a Roadmap?

A roadmap is a detailed and structured plan that outlines key objectives and milestones of a project. It focuses on short and long-term goals that the project aims to achieve within an estimated timeline.


Cryptocurrency and blockchain projects typically describe their roadmap on their websites. It is presented as a visual representation that serves as a guide for the project team, community members, and investors.

Importance of a Roadmap in Crypto

The cryptocurrency industry is a murky one. There are so many projects that it is difficult to distinguish promising and legitimate ones from half-baked or fraudulent projects. With this in mind, most blockchain projects look to provide deep details about their goals, development process, and other technical details to the public.

Here is why roadmaps are important:

  • Technical difficulties: Scaling public blockchain networks is a technically challenging task. Never in the history of humanity have public blockchains tried to achieve mass scale. Therefore, a roadmap is the amalgamation of extensive research, planning, and community discussions.
  • Long-term game: The blockchain industry is still developing, it could be years till we see decentralized finance (DeFi) applications be able to compete with traditional finance companies like Visa and Mastercard. The slow development time can make developers, investors, and community members less enthusiastic about the industry when expectations are not met. Having a roadmap not only balances short-term expectations but also showcases crypto’s long-term promise and vision.
  • Adaptability: A roadmap is not set in stone. It can change to adjust and adapt to new challenges and technologies. Therefore, a flexible roadmap is incredibly important to traverse the ever-changing crypto landscape.
  • Project alignment: A roadmap is a strategic plan. It helps ensure that all members of the development team and stakeholders are using their resources towards a common goal. Having community members on the same page sets clear expectations and prevents disputes.
  • Transparency and credibility: A potential investor or crypto enthusiast will typically look up a project’s roadmap during their research. Having a detailed roadmap will not only establish transparency but will also give credibility to the project.
  • Community engagement: Every project needs a community behind it to grow. This is especially true in the crypto world, where you will find a cult-like following behind popular projects like Ethereum and Cardano. These projects have well-defined roadmaps that are constantly updated to keep their communities engaged and informed about the ongoing development. A roadmap not only keeps the community excited about the future but also fosters a sense of inclusion and participation, which can be invaluable for long-term success.
  • Investor confidence: The investing community is made up of some of the most well-informed individuals in the world. They conduct due diligence and scrutinize each and every aspect of a project before committing their funds. It is also a common practice to shortlist several potential candidates and compare each party against another.

Remember, there is a plethora of crypto projects and tokens to invest in, therefore, a project’s roadmap may ultimately decide whether it is worthy of investment or not.

Roadmap Explained: Key Components

A typical crypto roadmap consists of these key items:

Category Description
Milestones Milestones are the significant achievements or events in the project’s development timeline. They can include mainnet launches, network upgrades, dApp launches, etc.
Timelines Roadmaps include timelines or estimates of when each milestone is expected to be reached. These timelines can be presented in weeks, months, or even years.
Features & Upgrades Roadmaps often come with information about upcoming upgrades. A project may choose to explain why the upgrade or feature is being introduced or how the upgrade is being implemented.

Roadmap Examples

Let’s take a look at a real-world example of a crypto roadmap of two of the biggest crypto projects in the world – Ethereum and Cardano.


Ethereum’s roadmap emphasizes its vision of becoming the world’s computer and explains how its roadmap will result in cheaper transactions, extra security, and better user experience.

In 2022, Ethereum completed the first phase of its scaling roadmap called “The Merge,” which marked Ethereum’s transition from a proof-of-work (PoW) consensus mechanism to a proof-of-stake (PoS) consensus mechanism.

According to Ethereum’s roadmap, the next phase is called “The Surge,” where developers will focus on scaling the blockchain using rollups and data sharding.

“The Scourge” is the third phase in the Ethereum roadmap which will focus on upgrades related to censorship resistance, decentralization, and protocol risks from MEV.

It will be followed by “The Verge”, “The Purge,” and “The Splurge,” which will likely take a couple of years and several revisions to see completion.


Layer-one (L1) blockchain Cardano is known for its well-defined roadmap. Cardano has divided its roadmap into five eras. Each era is named after famous personalities, poets, and mathematicians.

The first era, named Byron, marked the foundation of Cardano in 2015 and its mainnet launch in 2017. The second era, named Shelly, focused on decentralization by incentivizing validator participation. The third era, named Goguen, introduced smart contracts and dApps to the Cardano blockchain.

As of September 2023, Cardano is currently in its fourth era, known as the Basho era. The blockchain is focused on scalability and interoperability.

The fifth and final era, called Voltaire, will see Cardano focus on governance with the introduction of a voting and treasury system.

The Bottom Line

Crypto projects like Ethereum and Cardano have demonstrated the power of clear and comprehensive roadmaps. Ethereum’s definitive roadmap has been so influential that its current focus on scaling via layer-two rollups has seen the entire crypto industry turn its attention to roll-up technology.

Therefore the power and importance of a roadmap should not be underestimated. It is not just a document – it’s a strategic plan, a branding and marketing tool, a transparency mechanism, and an investor prospectus all in one.


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Mensholong Lepcha
Crypto & Blockchain Writer

Mensholong is an experienced crypto and blockchain journalist, now a full-time writer at Techopedia. He has previously contributed news coverage and in-depth market analysis to, StockTwits, XBO, and other publications. He started his writing career at Reuters in 2017, covering global equity markets. In his free time, Mensholong loves watching football, finding new music, and buying BTC and ETH for his crypto portfolio.