What is Cardano: A Cardano Beginner's Guide


February 5, 2018

A decentralised public blockchain

In a world where everything moves at a really fast pace and the word “innovation” is now commonplace, there’s been a revolution in the decentralised technology space. Over the past couple of years, we’ve witnessed technological innovation, namely cryptocurrency and Blockchain technology—the first of its kind. There’s a promising cryptocurrency you need to know about, named after one of the most prominent scientists of the Renaissance period: Gerolamo Cardano.

Dubbed “blockchain 3.0”, Cardano is a fully open-source, decentralized public blockchain and cryptocurrency project. It’s in fact the first blockchain platform to be built from peer-reviewed academic research, featuring some of the world’s foremost universities (among which are the University of Edinburgh and the Tokyo Institute of Technology).

It was founded by Charles Hoskinson, former Ethereum CEO and early founder. Its official launch was on September 29, 2017.

Believe this: the Cardano platform has shown a lot of promise by living up to huge expectations, being the first of its kind. The Cardano team consists of a large global collective of software developers, researchers and engineers. They’re all working together with the sole aim of developing a smart contracts platform which is capable of delivering more scalability and improved performance and – at the same time – featuring advanced functionality than most blockchain platforms.

The Cardano platform is fully open-source, and its entire code is on GitHub.

History of Cardano

Cardano has an exciting history.

Hoskinson was an early founder of Ethereum before the project launch. He worked with Jeremy Wood who was in charge of operations.

Later on, both of them left Ethereum but they caught up once again and had the chance to work together, this time starting up a company called IOHK. IOHK builds cryptocurrencies and provides innovative blockchain solutions for institutions, government agencies, and enterprises.

In 2015, a group of Japanese investors approached IOHK’s executives. They wanted to build a blockchain which would operate both as a cryptocurrency and a smart contracts platform, but with more advanced features than other blockchains. In essence, they wanted to build a blockchain which offered better security and was also more reliable than any other blockchain out there—IOHK was the perfect fit for the idea.


Cardano Roadmap

After over 3 years extensive research and development of the blockchain platform by a global team of experts in various fields,  Cardano was officially launched on the 29th of September, 2017.

Its development is split into eras, with each era featuring major improvement and introduction of some features. It’s currently in its bootstrap era, which they have named the Byron phase. In this current era, IOHK is working on stabilizing and tweaking its blockchain, and making significant improvements to the Cardano core.

In next one, Shelley, the main goal is to ensure that necessary features for a decentralized blockchain are in place. This would allow the platform to grow into a full-blown decentralized and autonomous blockchain platform. The Shelly phase is expected to kick-off mid-2018.

After that, the Goguen phase will feature development and implementation of smart contract functionality into the blockchain.

Next is the Basho phase, which will be mainly focused on performance improvements. And lastly, in the Voltaire phase, IOHK will add a treasury system and governance.

Features and Value Proposition

According to Cardano’s website, “The scientific rigor applied to mission-critical systems such as aerospace and banking has been brought to the field of cryptocurrencies, with a high assurance implementation. We believe this is the first time that this has been done.”

Cardano uses a custom proof-of-stake (PoS) algorithm called Ouroboros—which they developed themselves. The proof-of-stake is better than the proof-of-work algorithm; it doesn’t waste much energy and also processes transactions much faster than proof-of-work.

Of the numerous benefits of the proof-of-stake algorithm, it has a single flaw: security. PoS algorithms are very hard to develop securely. Majority of blockchain platforms – Bitcoin and Ethereum included – use proof-of-work algorithms, partly because of this security issue with PoS systems.

However, with Ouroboros, Cardano has somehow managed to fix this issue. The algorithm comes with a mathematical proof of security that’s been carefully peer reviewed, and it was presented at Crypto 2017, the popular annual cryptography conference.

The main goal is to build a platform for developing decentralized applications and smart contracts. The smart contracts will then be processed using a process called formal verification. Formally-verified code can be tested the same way scientists test their theories.

The advantage of this is that Cardano’s code and smart contracts are provable, and this makes them more secure and reliable than other blockchain platforms. Also, this is realizable because the core of the Cardano platform is written in Haskell, which is one of the most secure languages in existence.

Pre-sale and ICO

Cardano’s ICO was targeted at Asian markets, with 94.8 percent of investors holding ADA vouchers who participated in the ICO being Japanese.

This was actually a brilliant idea, considering the fact that the European and American markets were saturated with cryptocurrencies already. The token sale began in September 2015 and ran till January 2017. It raised a total of $62 million USD. During the token sale, the average price for 1 ADA was $0.0024 USD.

The circulating supply is the 30 billion ADA tokens which were sold during the ICO (25,927,070,538 ADA, actually), with 45 billion tokens representing the maximum supply of ADA.

An amount equivalent to 20 percent of the about 30 billion ADA sold during the ICO was  distributed to the three components of the Cardano ecosystem which are part of the Technical and Business Development pool, namely IOHK, Emurgo and Cardano Foundation.

With the amount distributed to the Cardano team and those sold at the ICO, the total supply of allocated tokens stands at 31,112,483,745 ADA.

Screen Shot 2018-02-05 at 4.35.38 PM.pngADA

On October 1, 2017, Cardano’s ADA token was made available for trading on the Bittrex exchange.

As of February 5, 2017, ADA is valued at $0.328677 USD, with a market capitalization of $8,521,631,763 USD.

Meet Team Cardano

Cardano is made up of three companies, each having distinct roles in the project: IOHK, Cardano Foundation and Emurgo.

IOHK is a world-class engineering and technology company committed to using peer-to-peer innovations to provide financial services to three billion people that don’t have them. The group is contracted to design, build, and maintain the Cardano platform until 2020.

The Cardano Foundation is non-profit organization based in Switzerland. It acts as the guardian of both the Cardano ecosystem and community.

It aims to proactively partner with governments and regulatory bodies, as well as forming strategic partnerships with enterprises and other open-source projects to further global adoption of the technology.

Emurgo is a company formed to integrate, develop and support businesses who want to utilise Cardano’s decentralised blockchain.

If you’re interested in learning about other projects, check out our other posts on Ripple, Litecoin, Dash, Stratis or EOS.

Follow us on twitter @cryptoiscomin

Subscribe to our newsletter to get the coolest infographics and articles from the crypto world