Cardano (ADA) has become one of the fastest-growing blockchain assets in the entire cryptocurrency industry. ADA has been a top 10 cryptocurrency by market capitalisation since it was released in 2015, and has garnered significant hype. Its technology is advancing at rapid speed and looks to take on the likes of Ethereum in building a massive blockchain ecosystem.

Cardano distinguishes itself by using mathematical principles in its consensus mechanism and a unique multilayer architecture, which makes it stand out from other competing blockchains. With a team that had a hand in the creation of Ethereum, many are convinced that Cardano is the next generation of cryptocurrency solutions.

Let’s take a look at Cardano, its technology, and what makes it such a compelling cryptocurrency.

What is Cardano?

Similar to other cryptocurrencies, ADA – Cardano is a digital coin that can be used to store value or send and receive funds. The ADA cryptocurrency runs on the Cardano blockchain, a first-of-its-kind decentralised network, based completely on scientific and mathematical principles and designed by experts in the fields of cryptography and engineering. The Cardano blockchain can be used to build smart contracts, and in turn, create decentralised applications and protocols. In addition, the ability to send and receive funds instantly, for minimal fees, has many applications in the world of business and finance.

Instead of attempting to thwart global regulators, Cardano is building a blockchain with regulations in mind, to provide financial services to all.

Cardano is looking to solve many of the blockchain industry’s current problems, including:

What is cardano?

Cardano blockchain architecture

The Cardano blockchain consists of two core components. The Cardano Settlement Layer (CSL) acts as a unit of account and is the place where token holders can send and receive ADA instantaneously with minimal transaction fees. The Cardano Computational Layer (CCL) is a set of protocols, which is the backbone of the blockchain, and helps to run smart contracts, ensure security and compliance, and allow for other advanced functionality, such as blacklisting and identity recognition. The Cardano open source code is written using Haskell, a universally recognised and secure programming language.

Cardano works on a specially designed proof-of-stake (PoS) blockchain protocol for consensus called Ouroboros. This consensus mechanism allows for ADA to be sent and received easily and securely at all times, while also ensuring the safety of smart contracts on the Cardano blockchain. At the same time, as a PoS consensus mechanism, Ouroboros provides rewards to token holders who stake their ADA to the network and help ensure network consensus.

The Ouroboros process goes like this:

The Ourboros process

  1. The network randomly selects a few nodes to have the opportunity for mining new blocks. These nodes are known as slot leaders.
    The network randomly selects a few nodes
  2. The blockchain is split into slots, each of which is called an epoch.
    The blockchain is split into slots
  3. Slot leaders have the ability to mine their specific epoch, or subpartition of an epoch. Any participant who helps mine an epoch or part of an epoch receives a reward for their services.
    Slot leaders have the ability to mine their specific epoch
  4. An epoch can be partitioned infinitely. This means that the Cardano blockchain is, in theory, infinitely scalable, making it possible to run as many transactions as needed without hitting a bottleneck.

The greatest benefit of Ouroboros is its mathematical security in choosing blockchain validators. Other blockchains claim that they choose block validators at random, but these claims cannot be verified. On the other hand, Ouroboros offers a provable way to randomly select a validator and ensure that all token holders who stake ADA to the Cardano blockchain have a fair chance of mining a block and receiving the associated reward. This eliminates any need for excessive computational power prevalent in proof-of-work (PoW) blockchain networks and guarantees an objectively fair staking model that is not found in any other PoS blockchain protocol.

Daedalus wallet

Unlike other major cryptocurrencies such as Bitcoin and Ethereum, Cardano has its own wallet for the ADA cryptocurrency. With the Daedalus wallet, users don’t just get a wallet, they run a full blockchain node, giving them total control over their funds and the ability to ensure transparency over the Cardano blockchain.

In addition, Daedalus serves as the only wallet where ADA holders can take part in the Cardano staking system. Because Cardano operates a PoS blockchain protocol as previously mentioned, token holders can receive rewards for either delegating ADA, or running a staking pool within the Daedalus wallet. This gives Cardano (ADA) holders the opportunity to earn cryptocurrency while supporting the network.

Uses for ADA Cardano

The Cardano coin can be used as a transfer of value in a similar way that cash is currently used. This is not very different from other cryptocurrencies such as Ethereum and Bitcoin, but ADA has other uses as well.

One of the core principles of Cardano is its PoS blockchain protocol where ADA is staked to the blockchain to help “stake pool operators” successfully verify transactions on the blockchain. This is where Cardano crypto comes in handy. Those who stake their ADA to the blockchain are rewarded for their efforts with more Cardano crypto in return. This staking system helps maintain security throughout the blockchain.

There is also the use of ADA in voting. In Cardano, unlike other blockchain projects, it is not miners who vote and decide on changes to the protocol, it is token holders. Therefore, when a new change or development is proposed to the Cardano blockchain, Cardano crypto holders use their ADA to vote on these proposals. This way, everyone who owns the cryptocurrency has a say in its development.

In the future, ADA will also be used to power the smart contract platform on the Cardano blockchain. Developers will utilise ADA to create smart contracts and applications that run on the secure, decentralised Cardano blockchain. Without a native Cardano coin, there would be no way to execute these contracts.

Who created Cardano?

In the early days of Ethereum, one of its co-founders, Charles Hoskinson saw the need for a more standardised, and scalable blockchain. With his mathematics background, Hoskinson began thinking about more scientific ways to build a blockchain. During this time, Hoskinson connected with Jeremy Wood, a former co-worker at Ethereum, who was looking to create a better blockchain and smart contracts platform. The two began to pursue Cardano as it exists today.

Charles Hoskinson

The major stakeholders of ADA

Even though Hoskinson and Wood are the masterminds behind the core principles and smart contract platform that make up Cardano, they do not own or operate the Cardano blockchain. In fact, there are a variety of different stakeholders involved in the project.

  • Cardano Foundation — Acts as a nonprofit, custodial entity for the entire project to help market and ensure the security of the blockchain.
  • IOHK — Founded in 2015 by Charles Hoskinson and Jeremy Wood, this research and development company has helped with the design and engineering of the Cardano blockchain.
  • Embargo — Acts as a large funding entity to financially support Cardano and assist with its development.

Is Cardano really better than Ethereum?

Both Cardano and Ethereum have similar goals and aspirations in that each wants to be the world’s primary decentralised blockchain platform for building new tools and protocols. When Hoskinson left Ethereum, he recognised the need for a different kind of blockchain that would be immediately scalable and secure, two things that he feared Ethereum would never be. Currently, Ethereum is having its own issues with scalability, and is already going through its second iteration of the Ethereum blockchain in order to ramp up scaling. And while Ethereum is about ten times the size of Cardano in market capitalisation, the project has had a significant head start.

Here are a few differences between the two projects:

Cardano Ethereum
Start Date September 2017 January 2014
Figurehead/Leader Charles Hoskinson Vitalik Buterin
Consensus Mechanism PoS PoW (moving to PoS)
Programming Language Haskell Solidity
Architecture 2 layers (Cardano Settlement Layer and Cardano Computational Layer) 1 layer

Roadmap

Unlike other blockchain technology, Cardano is still relatively new. It was only launched in 2017 and has spent the first several years of its existence under development.

Cardano has laid out five distinct phases for its blockchain. Currently, Cardano is past its Shelley stage of the process, and is working toward finishing the second half of its five phases:

  1. Byron — Creates the foundational architecture of the network and tests the initial functionality so the network runs properly.
  2. Shelley — Launches the Cardano mainnet and begins decentralisation of the blockchain network.
  3. Goguen — Implements a smart contract platform, allowing for the function of building decentralised applications.
  4. Basho — Scaling solutions are to be implemented, allowing for blockchain optimisation and improved performance.
  5. Voltaire — Introduces treasury and voting systems to create a self-sustaining network.

Even though these are five distinct phases, many parts of each phase run in parallel with one another. Each phase goes through a variety of processes before being integrated into Cardano. There is heavy academic research that has gone into each step of the process. Prototyping is also an important part of the process, as each piece of open source code must be rigorously tested to meet predetermined technical specifications before being implemented.

While these roadmap phases have often been delayed, Charles Hoskinson and the developers of Cardano are quite confident in their ability to follow through with the roadmap as promised, and deliver the next generation of PoS blockchain protocols to the world.

Cardano price and supply

ADA Cardano has traded inline with much of the cryptocurrency industry over the past several years. During the bull market of late 2017 and early 2018, the price of ADA shot up from $0.03 to $1.20, valuing the project at close to $32 billion. While early investors were afforded an immediate 3,900% return, this would be short-lived. As you can see in the Cardano chart, the price of Cardano began to steadily decline over the next several years.

Cardano price and supply

While the price of Cardano has declined back to below $1, it is believed that if the project can perform in the ways it has promised, the value of ADA should have no problem rising.

In addition to its price, it is important to note that ADA has a fixed monetary policy, meaning that there will only ever be 45 billion ADA created. Once that number is reached, no more Cardano crypto will ever be created. Cardano sold 25,927,070,538 ADA during its initial sale, with the remaining approximately 19 billion ADA set to be released through the blockchain as rewards for mining blocks. The remaining ADA is set to be distributed in staking rewards through generated blocks on the Cardano blockchain.

Since there is only a set number of ADA that will be in existence, in theory, there will be an increasing demand for the coin. This deflationary monetary model is expected to create demand for ADA in the future.

How to buy Cardano

You can quickly and easily buy Cardano on eToro with fiat currency in just a few easy steps.

Simply:

  1. Sign up for an eToro account
  2. Verify your account to ensure security
  3. Deposit funds into eToro via wire transfer or bank deposit
  4. Use the deposited funds to buy and sell ADA on eToro

But hold on just a minute. How do you know if you are getting a good Cardano price on your trade? On eToro, you can easily see the Cardano price, chart, and conversations about Cardano all in one easy platform — so you can buy ADA knowing you have excellent tools and information at your disposal. Navigate to the Cardano chart to see its price history and get an idea of a good Cardano price prediction for the future.

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Now that you know all there is to know about Cardano, you can buy ADA on your own with eToro.