What is Cardano?
Launched on the 29th September 2017, Cardano is a third generation, Proof-of-Stake (PoS), highly secure blockchain platform, and one of the first blockchains written in Haskell code. Cardano aims to build a smart-contract platform that is capable of running decentralised applications and contracts, allowing for the creation of a new, decentralised economy and ‘democratised finance’ for emerging markets; and likewise to solve the issues faced by previous generations of blockchains, such as scalability and security, which they propose can be solved by a multi-layered approach to development.
Perhaps the most interesting aspect of the Cardano project is it’s scientific and formal specification approach to blockchain engineering. This sounds complicated at first, but what the team behind Cardano are really trying to build is a blockchain ecosystem that is built to a high standard before it’s public release – this means less bugs while it’s running critical processes under real-world scenarios. To achieve this, the Cardano technology stack isn’t simply a rehashed carbon copy of projects which have gone before like many other projects; it is entirely newly designed code that has undergone rigorous quality control at each stage of development. Each stage of their theoretical and practical engineering is submitted (and so far accepted) for peer-review at major cryptocurrency conferences.
Who are the Cardano Team?
The Cardano project is jointly led by three core teams, each working in synergy with the other.
Leading on development is IOHK, an engineering company and leading institution in the academic study of blockchain. IOHK boasts an impressive number of academic researchers who work alongside them, and have partnerships with the University of Edinburgh, the Tokyo Institute of Technology, and the University of Athens. This makes Cardano one of the only blockchains which is being built to a formal, peer reviewed specification, which we’ll talk more about later on.
There is also the Cardano Foundation, who function as an objective standards body to promote the Cardano protocol over time. Finally, there is Emurgo, who helps to on-board and promote businesses to use Cardano’s decentralised blockchain. The CEO of IOHK, Charles Hoskinson, is a blockchain visonary who, alongside his colleague Jeremy Wood, founded IOHK. Charles Hoskinson was one of the founding members of the Ethereum blockchain, and is a very well respected member and thought leader within the cryptocurrency space.
So, What Does Cardano and the ADA coin do?
With such an extensive and multifaceted approach to development, it can be difficult to tell at a glance exactly what Cardano aims to do, however their leave-no-stone-unturned development approach requires that they work on all layers of the project constantly to move the project forward. Each stage of development corresponds to a section of the Cardano roadmap, which is cleverly linked to famous historical figures.
First and foremost, the ‘Byron‘ development stage delivers what is known as the ‘Cardano SL Mainnet Layer’, which plays host to the native ADA cryptocurrency. Most simplistically, ADA is a digital currency used to send and receive funds peer to peer, whilst also functioning as a store of wealth. These transactions, through the use of cryptography, are both secure and fast, enabling transfers of money to anywhere in the world in a matter of seconds. Cardano’s website states that the ADA token represents the ‘future of money’; but in reality the team have much bigger plans for ADA than just a digital currency.
Secondly, the layer currently under development is ‘Shelley‘. Shelley is a crucial stage of development which enables full decentralisation and autonomy of Cardano, so it is no longer run from centralised nodes. This era of development will launch Cardano’s landmark PoS technology, called ‘Ouroboros‘. PoS offers a number of benefits over traditional Proof-of-Work (PoW) systems, perhaps most notably a significant reduction in energy usage. Blocks shall be created by users delegating their ‘stake’ (amount of ADA coins they hold), and receive block rewards proportional to their stake if they are chosen to create the next block. Sounds fair? But what if Joe Blogs has two million coins and you only have two? To protect against this, Cardano have created staking pools, where ADA holders can safely ‘pool’ together their ADA tokens and increase the likelihood they will get chosen for a block reward, whilst maintaining control of their own ADA holdings.
In the future, the Goguen, Basho and Voltaire layers will be implemented. This includes the launch of the IELE Virtual Machine, which will allow the building of ‘smart-contracts’ within the Cardano platform, a crucial step in development that will allow businesses to build decentralised applications (DApps) on the network, for projects such as financial contracts by businesses and governments.
Software and Pending Releases
So what have they got so far? Continuing the teams inclination for the mythical, their wallet, ‘Daedalus’ is currently a fully operational software wallet allowing for the safe storage of the ADA currency. In the future, the Daedalus wallet shall integrate storage for different cryptocurrencies, and provide an interface for the launch of DApps built on the Cardano platform. Daedalus has currently received an updated UI, and functions well for the sending and receiving of ADA.
The next most anticipated events are the launch of their KEVM testnet, scheduled for the 28th of May 2018, the IELE testnet, scheduled for July 2018; and of course the release of Ouroboros, allowing users to delegate their stake.
Partnerships and Exchanges
Cardano have recently signed a memorandum with the Ethiopian Ministry of Technology to integrate their technology into the agricultural sector and increase Ethiopian coffee farmers access to market, yields, and fair payment for their crops. This is the start of Cardano’s plans to enhance economic freedom in Africa, which is not just a noble cause, but likewise a huge emerging market which is crying out for innovation.
Cardano currently trades on major exchanges such as Bittrex, Binance, BitMex (Futures trading), UpBit, HitBTC, and Huobi, with more exchanges coming.
Whilst still undergoing development on core features, the Cardano project is undoubtedly a project with huge scope and potential. The capacity to realise their goals is strong, with a focus on peer-reviewed development, expert blockchain engineers, and a strong & growing community. Presently, Cardano is definitely an exciting project and one worth following closely in the coming months.
|Circulating Supply||25,927,070,538 ADA|
|Total Supply||31,112,483,745 ADA|