|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 was founded in 2015 by Ethereum co-founder Charles Hoskinson. The development of the project is overseen and supervised by the Cardano Foundation based in Zug, Switzerland. It is the largest cryptocurrency to use a proof-of-stake blockchain, which is seen as a greener alternative to proof-of-work protocols.
The platform began development in 2015 and was launched in 2017 by Charles Hoskinson, a co-founder of Ethereum. Hoskinson left Ethereum after a dispute with one of its co-founders, Vitalik Buterin; Hoskinson wanted to accept venture capital and create a for-profit entity, while Buterin wanted to keep it running as a nonprofit organization. After leaving, he 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 Gerolamo Cardano, while the cryptocurrency itself is named after 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 other 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 uses a proof-of-stake protocol named Ouroboros; this is in contrast to Bitcoin and Ethereum, which use proof-of-work protocols. Proof-of-stake blockchains use significantly 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 estimated 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 specialised 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). The currency debuted with a market cap of $600 million. By the end of 2017, it had a market cap of $10 billion, and reached a value of $33 billion briefly in 2018 before a general tightening of the crypto market dropped its value back to $10 billion. Cardano reached a market cap of $77 billion in May 2021 and solidified its position as the biggest proof-of-stake cryptocurrency.
IOHK has partnered with universities for blockchain research. In 2017, IOHK helped the University of Edinburgh launch the Blockchain Technology Laboratory. In 2020, IOHK donated $500,000 in Ada to the University of Wyoming to support the development of blockchain technology.
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 to build a credential verification system for Georgia.
In 2019, footwear manufacturer New Balance announced a pilot program on the Cardano blockchain to track the authenticity of its newest basketball shoe.
In 2018 IOHK announced a partnership 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 to launch an identity and record-keeping system on Cardano for the country's five million students.
In 2021 Hoskinson began working with electronic dance music DJ Paul Oakenfold to release a full length album on the Cardano blockchain; the album is titled Zombie Lobster.
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