Hello, @jon-oh! Thank you for the question.
IOHK will not renew the contract, since Cardano Foundation will not technically be the owner of the network. Users of the system will use built-in governance system to hold a massive vote on which company takes the development from there. IOHK will be one of the contenders, but so is probably the Runtime Verification, and maybe bunch of other companies. We still have two years before that and Cardano is basically half-way from the crib right now.
All developers working on the project now including Duncan Couts are already a part of the IOHK, so they don’t have to go back to it. They are working on Cardano as one of the IOHK’s projects, and will work on something else, if IOHK don’t keep working on Cardano.
UPD: If IOHK does not get voted in as next supporter for the System, Duncan or any other current Cardano developer may decide to submit his own proposal to the Cardano treasury with his ideas and development plans, and people will have the chance to hire him to perform the proposed improvement and to pay him from the treasury.
The role of Cardano Foundation in the life of the Cardano ecosystem is to “standardise, protect and promote the Cardano Protocol technology”. They specialise on marketing, education, legal work, and general promotion. They have specific role in the whole enterprise, and they are doing their part excellently. You can find more info about the CF role here: https://cardanofoundation.org/foundation/
They are not “the only one left” when developers are switched.
It takes resources to manage the team in any case. Cardano Foundation has hired IOHK company to perform a specific development task, and paid them money for it. Afaik, the whole deal states that after 2020 Cardano Foundation does not have actual legal ownership over the Cardano ecosystem,
they will be the owners of the software, that they hired IOHK to build. UPD: I have realised that this is not true, since the software is open-source and free. Cardano Foundation will not be legal owner of neither network, nor software. They will continue to have their own role in the life of the system and to do it wonderfully.
Users of the network will have to pay IOHK from treasury if they vote for them to continue development. Or users will have to pay any other company that they have voted in instead of IOHK. No serious software development and research company will support a project like this just for giggles. It’s a serious task, and it gotta be a serious company.
The governance is built specifically to cover those thing.
People needs to be in charge. That is one of the fundamental principles on which the Cardano is created.
UPD: depending on the state of the Cardano system in 2020 there might even be no point for people to hire long-term “supporter” of the system. There just might be a bunch of small proposals from different companies and teams, each doing a small thing, and receiving a moderate treasury payment for it. The whole question of a single “development company” behind the project will have to be rethinked.
P.S. please, don’t yell =)
As @ThePatient pointed out - the Cardano main-net is up-n-running since September 2017. And there are many more things to be released and launched, until IOHK is done with their contract. You may monitor the whole plan here: https://cardanoroadmap.com/