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Cardano (blockchain platform)

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Original author(s)Charles Hoskinson
Developer(s)Cardano Foundation, IOHK, EMURGO
Initial release27 September 2017 (3 years ago) (2017-09-27)[1]
Stable release1.27.0 / 13 May 2021 (40 days ago) (2021-05-13)[2]
Development statusActive
Written inHaskell
Operating systemCross-platform
TypeDistributed computing
LicenseApache License
Active hosts2,486[3]

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.[4]

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.[5][6]


The platform began development in 2015 and was launched in 2017 by Charles Hoskinson, a co-founder of Ethereum.[7][8][9] Hoskinson left Ethereum after a dispute with its co-founder 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.[9] The platform is named after Gerolamo Cardano and the cryptocurrency after Ada Lovelace.[10]

Technical aspects

Atypically, Cardano does not have a white paper. Instead it uses design principles intended to improve upon issues faced by other cryptocurrencies, such as scalability, interoperability, and regulatory compliance.[11]

Cardano uses a proof-of-stake protocol named Ouroboros[12] in contrast to Bitcoin and Ethereum which use proof-of-work protocols.[13] Proof-of-stake blockchains use significantly less energy than proof-of-work chains.[13] 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.[14][15] Cardano is considered the biggest proof of stake cryptocurrency in 2021. [16] [17]

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 similar to Ethereum, enabling smart contracts and applications to run on the platform.[18] Cardano's smart contract language allows developers to run end-to-end tests on their program without leaving the integrated development environment or deploying their code.[19]


Cardano was funded through an initial coin offering.[20] 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. According to Mashable, Cardano claims that it overcomes existing problems in the crypto market: mainly that Bitcoin is too slow and inflexible, and that Ethereum is not safe or scalable.[18]

IOHK has partnered with universities for blockchain research. In 2017, IOHK helped the University of Edinburgh launch the Blockchain Technology Laboratory.[21][22][23] In 2020, IOHK donated $500,000 in Ada to the University of Wyoming to support the development of blockchain technology.[24]

In 2019, the Ministry of Education in 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.[25]

In 2019, footwear manufacturer New Balance announced a pilot program on the Cardano blockchain to track the authenticity of its newest basketball shoe.[26]

IOHK announced a partnership with the Ethiopian government in 2018 to deploy their technology in a variety of industries throughout the country.[27] 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.[28]


  1. ^ "Releases - input-output-hk/cardano-sl". Retrieved 28 October 2020 – via GitHub.
  2. ^ "Releases - input-output-hk/cardano-node". Retrieved 14 May 2021 – via GitHub.
  3. ^ "Cardano PoolTool". Retrieved 14 May 2021.
  4. ^ "Die Grundlagen der Cardano-Kryptowährung". (in German). 26 June 2020. Retrieved 2 July 2020.
  5. ^ "Bitcoin's Smaller Cousins". Bloomberg L.P. 20 December 2017. Archived from the original on 26 June 2018. Retrieved 25 December 2018. 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
  6. ^ "ZUG: Ex-Tezos-Mann geht zu Cardano". (in German). Luzerner Zeitung. 20 February 2018. Retrieved 7 July 2020.
  7. ^ "Ethereum Cofounder Says Blockchain Presents 'Governance Crisis'". Fortune. Retrieved 1 April 2020.
  8. ^ "ICOs explained". CNBC. 6 October 2017. Retrieved 25 December 2018. ethereum co-founder Charles Hoskinson says it has become increasingly more challenging to regulate this new asset class" and "ICO market could crash
  9. ^ a b Au-Yeung, Angel (7 February 2018). "A Fight Over Ethereum Led A Cofounder To Even Greater Crypto Wealth". Forbes Magazine. Retrieved 12 July 2020. IOHK's key project: Cardano, a public blockchain and smart-contract platform which hosts the Ada cryptocurrency.
  10. ^ "What is Ada?". Retrieved 23 October 2020.
  11. ^ "The Blockchain Galaxy A comprehensive research on distributed ledger technologies" (PDF). Deloitte. 6 May 2020. Retrieved 29 October 2020. The distinctive feature of Cardano is its “research-first” approach to design.
  12. ^ Badertscher, Christian; Gaži, Peter; Kiayias, Aggelos; Russell, Alexander; Zikas, Vassilis (15 January 2018). "Ouroboros Genesis: Composable Proof-of-Stake Blockchains with Dynamic Availability". Proceedings of the 2018 ACM SIGSAC Conference on Computer and Communications Security. CCS '18. Toronto, Canada: Association for Computing Machinery: 913–930. doi:10.1145/3243734.3243848. ISBN 978-1-4503-5693-0. S2CID 44109228.
  13. ^ a b Volpicelli, Gian M. "A blockchain tweak could fix crypto's colossal energy problem". Wired UK. ISSN 1357-0978. Retrieved 13 May 2021.
  14. ^ "Bitcoin's wild ride renews worries about its massive carbon footprint". CNBC. 9 February 2021. Retrieved 13 February 2021. Bitcoin has a carbon footprint comparable to that of New Zealand
  15. ^ Ponciano, Jonathan. "Cardano Surges During $300 Billion Crypto Crash As Musk Eyes Sustainable Bitcoin Alternatives". Forbes. Retrieved 13 May 2021.
  16. ^ "What is Cardano? The 'green' crypto that hopes to surpass the tech giants". The Independent. 18 May 2021. Retrieved 6 June 2021.
  17. ^ "Cryptocurrency goes green: Could 'proof of stake' offer a solution to energy concerns?". NBC News. Retrieved 6 June 2021.
  18. ^ a b "Cardano: a rising cryptocurrency". Mashable. 24 February 2018. Retrieved 25 December 2018. Cardano claims it will solve most of the issues that plague well-established cryptocurrencies such as Bitcoin and Ethereum
  19. ^ "Say Hello to IOHK's New Cardano Blockchain Tools, Plutus and Marlowe". Crowdfund Insider. 11 December 2018. Retrieved 18 February 2019. Where programming Ethereum requires coding in two languages, Solidity for the on-chain code and Javascript for the off-chain parts, and other systems suffer a similar split, Plutus is the only system that provides an integrated language for both, based on Haskell
  20. ^ "Cryptocurrencies and blockchain" (PDF). European Parliament. July 2018. Retrieved 29 October 2020. 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
  21. ^ "Beyond Bitcoin - IOHK and University of Edinburgh establish Blockchain Technology Laboratory". The University of Edinburgh. Retrieved 31 March 2020.
  22. ^ "IOHK and University of Edinburgh establish Blockchain Technology Laboratory". Retrieved 25 October 2020.
  23. ^ "The University of Edinburgh is launching a blockchain research lab with one of the cofounders of Ethereum". Retrieved 25 October 2020.
  24. ^ "UW Receives $500,000 Gift in Ada Cryptocurrency from IOHK". Retrieved 25 October 2020.
  25. ^ "Ministry of Education signs deal with Cardano Atala". Forbes Georgia. 17 June 2019. Retrieved 27 March 2020.
  26. ^ "Sneakers meet the blockchain in New Balance shoe authenticity pilot". SiliconANGLE. 17 October 2019. Retrieved 28 March 2020.
  27. ^ Phillips, Ruari (11 June 2018). "Ethiopian government-Cardano Technology team up on blockchain". East African Business Week. Retrieved 27 March 2020.
  28. ^ Sorkin, Andrew Ross; Karaian, Jason; Kessler, Sarah; Merced, Michael J. de la; Hirsch, Lauren; Livni, Ephrat (27 April 2021). "Tesla Makes Money (Including From Selling Cars)". The New York Times. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved 28 April 2021.

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