Cardano (ADA) is one of the fastest growing Layer-1 blockchain assets in the crypto industry. Designed by cryptography and engineering experts, including crypto OG and former Ethereum co-founder Charles Hoskinson, the Cardano blockchain platform was built using scientific and mathematical principles and was named after the Italian mathematician, Gerolamo Cardano.
The ADA token is named after Ada Lovelace, an English mathematician involved in early computing and the daughter of Lord Byron. A subunit of ADA is called the “Lovelace” so that 1 ADA = 1,000,000 Lovelace. ADA was launched in 2017 following a public sale of 25.9 billion tokens that began in September of 2015.
What is ADA?
ADA is the native token for Cardano, an open-source Proof-of-Stake (PoS) blockchain founded on peer-reviewed research in 2015. With a mission to provide a sustainable, scalable platform for running smart contracts, Cardano enables dApp development in a wide range of industries.
- The Cardano platform provides a live testnet for continued development and innovation that is open to any staking pool operator.
- ADA users have two ways to earn tokens: delegating staked tokens to a pool, or running a pool.
- The amount of staked ADA that is delegated to a given pool is a primary factor in the Ouroboros consensus mechanism's determination of which block will be validated next on the Cardano blockchain.
Byron phase was launched in September of 2017 with the mainnet launch of the Cardano Blockchain.
Shelly phase was launched in July of 2020 with Ouroboros PoS protocol going live.
Goguen phase, also named the Alonzo upgrade, was launched in September of 2021 to enable smart contracts.
Cardano is led by the somewhat eccentric and controversial Charles Hoskinson, who is a very public-facing community leader. Overall, Cardano is backed by 3 entities:
- IOHK, a blockchain R&D company founded by Charles Hoskinson and Jeremy Wood and contracted to build and maintain the Cardano Blockchain.
- The Cardano Foundation, a non-profit focused on core development and Cardano ecosystem growth. It is led by CEO Frederik Gregaard and VP Engineering, Mel McCann.
- Emurgo, a Japanese VC that is the commercial arm of the Cardano Blockchain, led by Founder, Ken Kodama.
You know I have the record at my company for the most camel conference calls pic.twitter.com/5seXDHdMh4— Charles Hoskinson (@IOHK_Charles) May 17, 2022
- June 22, 2022: Cardano development team delayed the Vasil smart contract upgrade for 1 month due to bugs.
- June 7, 2022: Grayscale increased its ADA allocation to over 30% for its digital large-cap fund.
- May 20, 2022: Cardano accelerator Genius X launched ISPO ADA staking pool, taking in $105 million in its initial stake.
- November 24, 2021: eToro announced plans to delist ADA for US users over regulatory concerns.
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Does it have staying power?
Cardano has been a massive project since the early days of crypto. The project has seen its share of controversy, and continues to get a healthy dose of skepticism from some areas of the crypto community, particularly over its long awaited smart contract capabilities.
Cardano is the 4th most powerful blockchain by market cap (after Bitcoin, Ethereum, and BNB). As one of the most popular “Ethereum Killers”, the Cardano Layer-1 project is similar to Ethereum in that it emphasizes a platform where others can build decentralized applications. Their differences include:
- Cardano uses Ouroboros consensus mechanism (similar to PoS) whereas Ethereum is in the process of merging from PoW to PoS.
- Cardano states that its design and implementation are research-based and peer reviewed with “academic rigor”.
- Cardano has a limited supply; Ethereum’s supply is programmed to increase annually by 4.5% and future decisions on supply may be proposed by developers and voted on by node runners and miners.
One of the main premises of the Cardano project is to scale and become interoperable with other blockchains. However its slowish development of smart contract capabilities has hindered this effort, and currency dApp ranking sites like State of the Dapps and DappRadar do not include Cardano in their rankings. Defi Llama lists 7 active dApps for Cardano. However, since March of 2021, over 800,000 NFTs have been issued off the Cardano blockchain, as well as over 6000 tokens.
Social followers for the Cardano community total over 4.2 million, including the active r/Cardano subreddit with over 700k followers, and 30,000+ people involved in international Cardano meetups. Cardano is very often a trending topic on Reddit and Twitter and has an active developer community.
Cardano’s key partners, as described in the team section, are IOHK, the Cardano Foundation, and Emurgo.
1/ Charles testimony before the U.S. House of Representatives Committee on Agriculture about "The Future of Digital Asset Regulation".— Cardano Quick News (@CardanoNOW) June 23, 2022
Continue watching in replies 👇🧵#Cardano #ada $ada #crypto #Cryptocurrency pic.twitter.com/YSBMHNapMP
ADA was distributed via vouchers totaling 25.9 billion tokens in a public sale that ran from September 2015 to January 2017. Those who participated in the token generation event could redeem the vouchers for ADA through Cardano’s native Daedalus wallet.
Total ADA available at launch:
31.1 billion tokens
- 75% - public sale distribution, 25.9 billion tokens
- 15% - the 3 partnering entities behind Cardano, 5.2 billion tokens, as follows:
- IOHK: 2.46 billion ADA
- Emurgo: 2.07 billion ADA
- The Cardano Foundation: 648 million ADA
- Angel investors: 21 investors are listed on Angel.co with amounts undisclosed; they may have participated in the multiple public sale rounds from 2015 to 2017.
- Public sale: $63 million
Of the 3 entities receiving allocations (IOHK, the Cardano Foundation, and Emurgo), only IOHK’s allocation (2.46 billion, roughly half) required vesting:
⅓ available immediately
⅓ available on June 1 2018
⅓ available on June 1 2019
- Staking pools
- Unique wallet addresses: 3,683,567
- Number of block-producing nodes: Unclear.
- Non-block-producing nodes that support the network are clustered primarily throughout the US, Japan, and Europe and number in the thousands.
Next up for ADA
The Cardano roadmap includes achieving the upcoming phases:
- Basho: Scalability and interoperability upgrade
- Voltaire: Decentralized voting and treasury system
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Disclaimer: The content of this article is for general market education and commentary and is not intended to serve as financial, investment, or any other type of advice.
IOHK, The Cardano Foundation, and Emurgo. IOHK is a blockchain research and development company founded by Charles Hoskinson and Jeremy Wood that is contracted to work on Cardano from 2015 through 2020. The Cardano Foundation is a non-profit organization focused on core development and ecosystem growth for Cardano. Emurgo is a Japanese venture capital firm.