|Original author(s)||Charles Hoskinson|
|Developer(s)||Cardano Foundation, IOHK, EMURGO|
|Initial release||27 September 2017|
|Stable release||1.27.0 / 13 May 2021|
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.
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 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. The platform is named after Gerolamo Cardano and the cryptocurrency after Ada Lovelace.
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.
Cardano uses a proof-of-stake protocol named Ouroboros 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. Cardano is considered the biggest proof of stake cryptocurrency in 2021.  
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. 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.
Cardano was funded through an initial coin offering. 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.
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 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.
IOHK announced a partnership with the Ethiopian government in 2018 to deploy their technology in a variety of industries throughout 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.
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.
Bitcoin has a carbon footprint comparable to that of New Zealand
Cardano claims it will solve most of the issues that plague well-established cryptocurrencies such as Bitcoin and Ethereum
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