Cardano is a third-generation, decentralized proof-of-stake (PoS) blockchain platform designed to be a more efficient alternative to proof-of-work (PoW) networks. Scalability, interoperability, and sustainability on PoW networks like Ethereum are limited by the infrastructure burden of growing costs, energy use, and slow transaction times.
Charles Hoskinson, the co-founder of the proof-of-work (PoW) blockchain Ethereum, understood the implications of these challenges to blockchain networks, and began developing Cardano and its primary cryptocurrency, ada, in 2015, launching the platform and the ada token in 2017.
The Cardano platform runs on the Ouroboros consensus protocol. Ouroboros, created by Cardano in its foundation phase, is the first PoS protocol that not only was proved to be secure, but also was the first to be informed by scholarly academic research. Each development phase, or era, in the Cardano roadmap is anchored by the research-based framework, incorporating peer-reviewed insights with evidence-based methods to make progress toward and achieve the milestones related to the future directions of the use applications of both the blockchain network and the ada token.
As of June 20, 2021, 71.59% of Cardano’s cryptocurrency ASA, is staked in 2,626 active pools with a value of approximately $31.4 billion.
Charles Hoskinson, the co-founder of Ethereum, began the development of Cardano in 2015 and launched the platform in 2017. Cardano has positioned itself as an alternative to Ethereum. Both platforms are used for similar applications, such as smart contracts, and have goals of building a connected and decentralized system. Cardano considers itself as an updated version of Ethereum and has anointed itself a third-generation platform over Ethereum’s second-generation credentials. The blockchain platform also has a goal of providing banking services to the world’s unbanked.
Cardano’s main applications are in identity management and traceability. The former application can be used to streamline and simplify processes that require the collection of data from multiple sources. The latter application can be used to track and audit a product’s manufacturing processes from provenance to finished goods and, potentially, eliminate the market for counterfeit goods.
Oversight of the advancement of the Cardano protocol ecosystem is decentralized and responsibilities are shared by Cardano’s partners: The Cardano Foundation, IOHK, and EMURGO. The Cardano Foundation, a not-for-profit organization, is the legal custodian responsible for the primary oversight and supervision of the Cardano brand. The foundation advances the visibility of the protocol on the global stage, cultivates use-case opportunities and connects with policymakers, regulators, and academia.
IOHK is the software engineering and technology company responsible for building Cardano, with a research arm dedicated to promoting blockchain education. IOHK works closely with academic partners to not only further its education mission, but also improve the long-term scalability of the Cardano protocol by using the most recent peer-reviewed scientific research to inform platform updates before implementation. EMURGO is the global technology partner responsible for driving the commercial adoption of the Cardano protocol, integrating businesses across a wide range of sectors into their blockchain system.