|Original author(s)||Charles Hoskinson|
|Developer(s)||Cardano Foundation, IOHK, EMURGO|
|Initial release||27 September 2017|
|Stable release||1.34.1 / 7 March 2022|
Cardano is a public blockchain platform. It is open-source and decentralized, with consensus achieved using proof of stake. It can facilitate peer-to-peer transactions with its internal cryptocurrency, ADA.
Cardano's development began in 2015, led by Ethereum co-founder Charles Hoskinson. The project is overseen and supervized by the Cardano Foundation based in Zug, Switzerland. When launched in 2017, it was the largest cryptocurrency to use a proof-of-stake blockchain, which is seen as a greener alternative to proof-of-work protocols.
Charles Hoskinson and Jeremy Wood set out their plans for Cardano in 2015, with the platform launching in 2017. Hoskinson had left Ethereum after a dispute with another co-founder, Vitalik Buterin. Hoskinson wanted to accept venture capital and create a company, while Buterin wanted to keep it as a nonprofit organization. After leaving, Hoskinson co-founded IOHK, a blockchain-engineering company, whose primary business is the development of Cardano, alongside the Cardano Foundation and Emurgo. The platform is named after Italian mathematician Gerolamo Cardano, while the cryptocurrency itself is named after the English mathematician Ada Lovelace. The Ada sub-unit is the Lovelace; one Ada = 1,000,000 Lovelaces.
Atypically, Cardano does not have a white paper. Instead, it uses design principles intended to overcome issues faced by earlier cryptocurrencies such as scalability, interoperability, and regulatory compliance. Cardano claims that it overcomes problems in the crypto market: mainly that Bitcoin is too slow and inflexible, and that Ethereum is not safe or scalable.
Cardano used a proof-of-stake protocol named Ouroboros; this was in contrast to Bitcoin and Ethereum, which used proof-of-work protocols (though the latter switched over in 2022). Proof-of-stake blockchains use far less energy than proof-of-work chains. In February 2021, Hoskinson estimated the Cardano network used 6 GWh annually, less than 0.01% of the 110.53 TWh used by the Bitcoin network as calculated by the University of Cambridge.
Within the Cardano platform, Ada exists on the settlement layer. This layer is similar to Bitcoin and keeps track of transactions. The second layer is the computation layer. This layer is designed to be similar to Ethereum, enabling smart contracts and applications to run on the platform.
Like Bitcoin, Cardano uses a UTXO ledger model, though it is an extended version (EUTXO) to facilitate smart contracts and scripting languages.
Cardano implemented decentralized finance (DeFi) services on September 12, 2021, including an upgrade to enable smart contracts and the ability to build decentralized applications (DApps). Also included is Plutus, a Turing-complete smart contract language written in Haskell, and a specialized smart contract language, Marlowe, designed for non-programmers in the financial sector. Cardano's smart contract languages allow developers to run end-to-end tests on their program without leaving the integrated development environment or deploying their code.
Cardano was funded through an initial coin offering (ICO). Cardano reached a market cap of $77 billion in May 2021, which was the fourth highest for a cryptocurrency at that time.
In 2017, IOHK partnered with the University of Edinburgh to launch the Blockchain Technology Laboratory.
Advertising agency MBLM ranked Cardano 26th for brand intimacy out of 600 brands in August 2022, in between Ford and Nestlé and the highest rank for a cryptocurrency. Citing an MBLM partner, advertising industry magazine Ad Age said Cardano's high ranking "can likely be chalked up to the gambling element of crypt".
In 2019, the Ministry of Education in the country of Georgia signed a memorandum of understanding with the Free University of Tbilisi to use Cardano and Atala, IOHK's decentralized identity software, to build a credential verification system for Georgia.
In 2019, New Balance announced a pilot program on the Cardano blockchain so buyers could track the authenticity of OMN1S Kawhi Leonard basketball shoes.
IOHK announced a partnership in 2018 with the Ethiopian government to investigate ways to deploy Cardano in the country. In April 2021, IOHK and the Ethiopia Ministry of Education announced plans for an identity and record-keeping system on Cardano and Atala for the country's five million school pupils.
In 2021 Hoskinson began working with electronic dance music DJ Paul Oakenfold to release an album, Zombie Lobster, on the Cardano blockchain.
Cardano, backed by the Zug, Switzerland-based Cardano Foundation, is a decentralized public blockchain that aims to protect user privacy, while also allowing for regulation
ethereum co-founder Charles Hoskinson says it has become increasingly more challenging to regulate this new asset class" and "ICO market could crash
IOHK's key project: Cardano, a public blockchain and smart-contract platform which hosts the Ada cryptocurrency.
The distinctive feature of Cardano is its "research-first" approach to design.
Cardano claims it will solve most of the issues that plague well-established cryptocurrencies such as Bitcoin and Ethereum
Bitcoin has a carbon footprint comparable to that of New Zealand
What distinguishes Cardano from Ethereum, and from many other cryptocurrencies, is that it is (one of the first) blockchain projects to be developed and designed from a scientific philosophy by a team of leading academics and engineers