Here is the document for design specification:
Notice page 36 (6.4.3): “Let T be the total amount of ADA in existence during a specific epoch, and let T∞ be the maximal possible amount of ADA in the future. At this moment, T = 31, 000, 000, 000 and
T∞ = 45, 000, 000, 000. Then the amount of ρ · (T∞ − T) ADA will be newly created.”
Here is the monetary Policy:
Notice the part about “There will never be more than 45,000,000,000 Ada in circulation.”
The way the design document is worded with the heading of “Monetary Expansion” one could think there is a new monetary policy of expansion where we will go over 45 billion ADA. If this is the case I am quite shocked this has not been discussed in the community before making such a drastic decision. To be clear I am not 100% sure this is what is intended and I simply want to point out how this can be interpreted and have a discussion on this.
Another interpretation is that they are talking only about an effective monetary expansion from the bootstrap era to reach 45 billion ADA point. If that is the case I wish this is more clearly written. Especially the “at the moment” part implies this could change.
A third interpretation when comparing with the monetary policy document is that “45 billion in circulation” means that there is monetary expansion but it is limited to 45 billion ADA in circulation (so locked up ADA can be expanded.) If this is the case I wish they expand on the wording here with adding that none circulating ADA can be expanded upon.
A fourth interpretation from the design document is that “at the moment” reflects that the treasury can vote and change monetary expansion policy in the future. If this is the case it should be clear this is something users will be able to vote on in the future as that could affect if potential buyers want to buy Cardano or not. Especially since this would be in direct conflict with the monetary policy document.
Summary of possible interpretations between these two documents:
(I) There is only monetary expansion to reach the 45 billion ADA cap
(II) There is monetary expansion to reach a 45 billion in circulation cap but not locked up ADA
(III) The monetary expansion policy will be free to the users to decide in governance
(IV) There is no monetary expansion possible for ADA.