A coin that has slowly climbed its way into the top 5 in the industry, Cardano is a smart contracts platform that allows for intricate and highly customizable transfers of value on the blockchain. Unlike many other cryptocurrencies designed from a simple whitepaper, Cardano is built from an array of scientifically-driven philosophies and a host of academic blockchain research. Unlike Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies looking to bring down the financial system, Cardano is hoping to optimize current institutions and bring banking to the developing world and other places where users do not currently have access. Cardano’s currency, ADA, can only be used with its specially designed Daedalus wallet. At the moment Daedalus only supports ADA but extended functionality to include Ethereum Classic and Bitcoin is expected in the near future.
The system consists of two layers, with the Cardano Settlement Layer (CSL), running a unit of account, and the settlement layer, known as the Cardano Computational Layer (CCL), running smart contracts to ensure security, enforce system compliance, and allow for other functionality such as blacklisting and identity recognition. It is written using Haskell programming language, a universally recognized, robust language that is extremely secure. At the same time, the platform also supports Solidity, the same programming language used in Ethereum smart contracts.
Cardano works on a specially designed proof-of-stake model for consensus called Ouroboros. This functions as the foundational layer for ADA and allows randomness for choosing nodes with a coin-flipping protocol that is secure. The network randomly selects a few nodes to have the opportunity for mining new blocks, known as slot leaders. The blockchain is then split into slots, each of which is called an Epoch. Slot leaders then have the ability to mine their specific Epoch, or subpartition of an Epoch, and receive their appropriate share in the mining reward. As Epoch’s can be partitioned infinitely, Cardano has created a system that is in theory infinitely scalable, making it possible to run as many transactions as needed. The added benefit of Ouroboros is the mathematical security it guarantees for the staking model that is not found in any other proof-of-stake consensus model.
Cardano is headed by three separate organizations. The Cardano Foundation operates as the independent entity designed to support the entire network of Cardano users and assist on regulatory matters. The second is IOHK, a leading blockchain research and development company. Lastly, Emurgo which acts as a defacto venture fund to invest in startups and new initiatives for the Cardano blockchain.
Interesting facts about Cardano:
- Cardano was created by Charles Hoskinson, who formerly was a co-founder at Ethereum
- The project’s name is inspired by Italian mathematician Gerolamo Cardano, and its currency, ADA, originates from English mathematician Ada Lovelace
- A Cardano pilot project is expected in Greece to verify student diplomas
- The price of ADA rose from $0.02 to $0.64, a 3,100% from October 1, 2017 to December 31, 2017