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What is Cardano: A Cardano Beginner's Guide

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.

 

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Million Dollar Bitcoin – What would it take?

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Million Dollar Bitcoin

The last few weeks and even hours have been a market bloodbath. A $1000 investment spread out evenly between the top ten coins two weeks ago would have left you with $460 this morning, a massive 53% loss in a fortnight.

So, what is this? The end of the road? Is the market going to bleed until it’s dry? Explanations vary from FUD being spread by whales to snap up cheap coins, to increased government regulation, to the simple problem of nobody knowing how to evaluate blockchain technology yet. What’s it really worth? It’s difficult to say. With Bitcoin down 59% from the ATH at the time of writing, it’s difficult to remain optimistic, but then… this isn’t the first time that Bitcoin has “crashed” hard.

 

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That’s right. Every time the price has dropped dramatically it has soared to even greater heights. In earlier days, Bitcoin wasn’t as widely talked about, whereas now it’s a certainty that Wall Street is becoming interested, whether the recent correction was orchestrated by global financiers or not. So, at the moment the price is plummeting. Could it be the end? There’s no telling whether the price will drop all the way to zero or not. All Bitcoin has ever done is grow exponentially after dips like this, but past performance isn’t necessarily an indicator of future results. Instead of guessing what might be about to happen here, let’s take a look at some of the factors that could contribute to another Bitcoin frenzy.

Next halving date: 2020

The last halving date was 2 years ago, meaning that another is due in 2020. For the uninitiated, Bitcoin halving takes place automatically every four years – it’s a process that reduces the amount of coins that miners can receive for their work by half, increasing scarcity and thus demand of the coin, and potentially driving up the prices as well.  In July 2016 the value of Bitcoin dipped after the halving date for a whole month, and a few months later the value was almost doubled, so make of that what you will. There are always a number of factors at play in the market, but less BTC mined definitely means an increased demand.

Gold market cap

Bitcoin currently equates to 1.5% of the gold market cap, which is sitting pretty at $7.8 trillion. Whether Bitcoin keeps the top spot as the king of cryptocurrency or not, the cryptocurrency market is only going to get bigger and bigger. With projects like Waltonchain revolutionizing retail, and IOTA seeking to provide a protocol for the entire Internet of Things, the crypto market is bound to be in the trillions before long as well. If Bitcoin, for example, reached the market cap of gold at $7.8 trillion, it would be worth approximately $586,000, over half a million dollars per single Bitcoin, and so a million dollar Bitcoin would have a market cap of $16.5 trillion.

What would it take for Bitcoin to surpass the market cap as gold? Widespread adoption, for one thing. Sure, the market fluctuates up and down, and Bitcoin has been up since day one – but to truly succeed, Bitcoin needs to be adopted as a technology and a true currency, not just a security or a stock.

 

More use cases

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If the Lightning Network succeeds in scaling Bitcoin and reducing fees while increasing transaction fees as promised, it’s a whole different ball game. Even now, after a “crash” of over 50%, Bitcoin is worth over $8000 – and it doesn’t even really do anything. Can you imagine how that will change if it becomes widely used?

What Bitcoin has going for it at the moment is that it’s a famous name that the general public is familiar with, often without realizing that it is just one of many cryptocurrencies – for some people, Bitcoin is cryptocurrency, and it’s that brand awareness that makes it so strong. While it was the godfather of the entire crypto market, it’s also seen by active investors and enthusiasts as a bit of a dinosaur, and that’s more than fair. High fees, slow transaction times – with newer, sleeker projects vying for the top spot it seems like only a matter of time before Bitcoin will need more than a name to go on.

It’s all a matter of timing. If the Lightning Network can be implemented and adopted while Bitcoin is still the most famous and valuable cryptocurrency in the world, there’ll be no stopping it. Status and market dominance with real-life utility to rival competitors will give Bitcoin real, measurable value, and at that point you could argue that even the gold market cap is a conservative estimate for what Bitcoin can achieve. It may sound crazy, but is it really impossible that we might live to see million dollar Bitcoins? Implement use cases like micro-transactions and a functioning global transaction system accepted by world retailers like Amazon and we’ll soon find out.

Government Adoption

In Venezuela, Bitcoin has become a parallel currency to combat the hyperinflation of the Bolivar, and many people in Zimbabwe and other countries suffering from inflated currencies also store their savings in Bitcoin. The more real-life utility that Bitcoin can demonstrate, the better the chance of long-term success. The Bulgarian government is sitting on $3 billion worth of seized Bitcoin, which may lead to some interesting government meetings on how to regulate it. A country may even decide to invest a part of their reserves in BTC, can you imagine what that would do the price…while the South African minister for finance has described Bitcoin as having lots of potential. Time will tell whether these governments will invest national reserve funds into the currency itself.

Next Gen Popularity

There’s also the simple fact that among younger generations there’s a growing interest in investing in cryptocurrency over stocks. It’s new and exciting, the technology being discussed is revolutionary, and the potential gains are massive. Forbes reports that 30% of millennials prefer crypto to stocks.

Another report suggests that 40% of Americans under the age of 35 plan to invest in Bitcoin. What we’re doing here is simply speculating on what it might take to make Bitcoin truly successful.

This article is not intended as financial advice or even technical market analysis – but the potential use cases and the possibilities that lie ahead are definitely interesting to consider. There’s no doubt about it – cryptocurrency is the future.

The real question is this; will Bitcoin be part of that future? Our gut says yes.

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Interview: Chris Dunn

Interview: Chris Dunn

Chris Dunn is an experienced and well respected trader in the crypto community, a serial entrepreneur and founder of Skillincubator, a company that teaches valuable skills, including cryptocurrency trading, to help people thrive in todays economy. Follow him at @ChrisDunnTV.

What was your background before you got into crypto and what got you interested in this industry?

I started off trading stocks and Futures in the early 2000s when I was in high school and watched those markets become highly manipulated and overrun with high-frequency algorithms and Big Wall Street firms. After the 2008 financial crisis and every year after that it became more and more difficult for people who are individual retail Traders. I was always just keeping my ear to the ground for different options, and you know different markets to trade where the smaller trader could have a better chance at being consistently profitable.

When I first heard about Bitcoin in 2011 one of my hedge fund buddies was telling me about it. I thought it was a scam, and I looked at a chart, and then just like in five seconds I was like “oh this looks like a Ponzi scheme or fad” and then in 2013 it popped back on my radar when it had its second bubble in the spring. So I started looking into it. This thing isn’t going away.

I basically spent most of 2013 researching and just learning the basics of crypto and decided this is it, like this is going to be huge and so basically shifted my focus from day trading the stock market to cryptocurrency trading. 

You run a cryptocurrency trading school, Skillincubator, tell us a little about that business, why did you start it?

I was posting my trades and predictions and stuff on Twitter and tradingview.com back in 2013 and 2014 and a lot of people were like hey “I’d like a trading group”, or “do you have a trading room?” And so just opened up like a simple course and a little cryptocurrency trading room. I think we had maybe 30 people in there, and it just kind of blew up, and you know cryptocurrency trading is a lonely business, it was really nice having that daily interaction. For example last weekend we had 30 Traders fly in to Austin, Texas and spend three days on this and so that for me is just really fulfilling.

It’s profitable as well, and I just I’m an entrepreneur at heart so anywhere that I see a big problem, which the problem is that there’s so many new traders in crypto that don’t know what they’re doing. I felt like I had a solution which was just solid Education and training.

What are you thoughts on this scaling debate and how do you think it plays out over the next year or so?

I’m not a coder. I don’t pretend to know what the right answer is. There’s a lot of people in the space that are way smarter than I am. I just know that I love competition so I think it’s actually a good thing that we have so many crypto currencies that are competing. I  know on the political side of this people get really emotional and really biased on the topic. I tend to just think about things in terms of where’s the opportunity. Not just a cryptocurrency trading perspective, but also like long-term Investments, and so I do the best I can to kind of understand it, but again I’m not a technical person that claims to know what the right answer is.

When it comes to Bitcoin cash and stuff like that I know that there’s a lot of controversy. You know I don’t necessarily agree with the way that he (Roger Ver) has gone about doing things. When it comes to what I’m actually excited about though is things like decentralized exchanges, and if the lightning network is something that works, and we get faster swaps with lower fees, I think that’s just going to increase the amount of people that have access to being able to trade crypto because I think the biggest risk right now is the exchanges. I know this is why the 0x token is gaining so much recently. I’m really bullish on on that type of Technology, but I can’t really speak intelligently about the tech.

What about BTC futures opening up? Will it dramatically alter the cryptocurrency trading environment?

I’ve spent a lot of time thinking about this, but I think that it’s more of a self-fulfilling prophecy. A chart was going around for Uranium futures and people were like “when these Futures launched the price crashed” and so I think a lot of people were expecting that to happen.

I think there was a lot of buying in anticipation of the futures coming out. You know that that run from $8,000 to almost $20,000 in just a few weeks was so unsustainable. I was kind of tweeting about it and did some videos a while ago talking about how to prepare for a bear market when it happens.

I didn’t expect us to go like $8k to $20k that fast, but you know you can never really anticipate the full stupidity of people that will chase and buy it at super high prices. I’ve been paying attention to the Futures markets, but I haven’t traded them yet. I’ve just been watching the liquidity and have been waiting for a little more margin requirements and execution orders and stuff like that, but that’s probably something that I’m going to start testing over the next 30 to 60 days and maybe start talking about a little more publicly as how to actually trade those.

How concerned are you about any government regulation putting a stop to this cryptocurrency trading party? China news, SEC, etc?

I think there’s a huge crack down on ICOs coming. I think it’s already here and basically anybody that’s running obvious scams is going to get hammered, and they should. It’s kind of hard to say exactly what they’re going to try to regulate.

I think governments have three options:

1) They could either completely try to ban crypto, which I think is stupid for many reasons. 

2) A government could also try to regulate it and profit from it. Tax it and put structure around it.

3) Or they could take a laissez-faire approach, and you know just be like this is the free market. Just let it go.

I do think that regulation is a good thing when it comes to raising Capital because there are so many scams. The Bitconnect scam was a big example. I mean that was a brutal billion-dollar Ponzi in full View, and and that just shows you that there is some level of investor protection that needs to be out there.

One thing that I disagree with is the accredited investor model where it basically says if you’re going to raise capital for a startup; you know if its traditional VC funding, if it’s an ICO, then you know that the government only wants accredited investors investing in those. Meaning basically only millionaires could invest. Look at the SAFTA agreement, it’s called a special agreement for future tokens and basically that is a framework for venture capital. I would like to see more small investors around the world have access to that. I think if people are educated it’s going to take the pressure off of regulators to to have to try to be the the rule makers for everything.

How do you balance technical cryptocurrency trading with fundamental news? right now we have all these good news events yet technically BTC looks like there’s higher probability to the downside?

Bullish and bearish news comes out everyday. Even stuff like Facebook banning crypto ads, that’s a negative thing right, and then you have news events coming out talking about how many new people are coming in and adoption going up. So for me the truth behind the story is always in the price action, that’s the only thing that matters. That’s a visual representation of the actions of all Market participants. It’s not speculation. It’s not people spoofing on the order books. Those are trades that actually occurred and sure there could be manipulation behind that in many different ways, but that to me is the most pure information you can get. What I do everyday is read and look at the bull and the bear scenarios, but always come back to the charts and say “how could this market, how could this chart cause people pain?”. For example, If there’s too many shorts in a market then we will likely get a short squeeze, etc.  

Most days I only take action when I see something lineup that I think is high probability and so what I do is come out with a bull and a bear plan everyday and if something triggers…great. If not, I stay away. I try not to get caught up too much in guessing. I only like to take action when there’s a high probability scenario in play.

Thoughts on Government backed cryptos, like Venezuelas recently announced PETRO?

Andreas (Antonopoulos) and a few other people have pretty strong opinions on this. I don’t know and I haven’t done enough research on how these governments are trying to issue these coins and what control they’re going have over them.

Last thing, which crypto “sector” (anonymous coins, master node, tokens, etc) do you think will have the best 2018? Why?

I think the decentralized areas is what I would push more than most and what I’m most excited about.  Anonymous coins have been around for a while. I think anything that can improve the user interface. The side of crypto which right now the biggest pain in the ass is the The exchanges, the identity verification, the KYC stuff. Exchanges get hacked all the time; people don’t trust them, whenever there’s volatility they crash they have expensive fees.

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Crypto Debit Cards: TenX vs Token

 

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Crypto Debit Cards have arrived

A major step in adopting cryptocurrencies as part of daily life is, of course, the ability to buy whatever you need with them. We’re not quite there yet, but the technology is catching up fast. In the 8 years since Bitcoin was launched, crypto has taken massive strides, with the last three years in particular bringing digital currencies out of the fringe and into the spotlight.

By now, pretty much everyone has heard of cryptocurrency, and that’s exciting. For many, it feels like living the early days of the Internet/dot com boom all over again. We’re on the cusp of a technological revolution that will completely reshape the way we look at money and purchasing goods and services online and in stores.

The world is slowly, skeptically turning their gaze to crypto to see what it can really do, and when it’s possible for anyone to walk into any major store and buy goods easily from their bitcoin wallet, and withdraw dollars or euros from any ATM with their crypto debit card, and that’s when things will really take off, and when people will truly start to question what it is they need that fiat cash for anyway.

Many crypto credit cards have already been launched, with varying degrees of success. Recently Visa terminated the membership of their affiliate WaveCrest due to non-compliance issues. WaveCrest is the company issuing cards to many crypto card projects, meaning those cards are no longer functioning as of January 8 2018, which has halted progress; but this is a temporary obstacle as WaveCrest has told TenX that the issue affected all companies and was not crypto related. The frozen card companies are currently working on a solution, other cards are still operational or in development, and progress marches on.

Here’s a look at the type of projects that are in development right now.

Mind=blown.

The great thing that all crypto cards have in common is that the money isn’t being converted to fiat in your digital wallet – you’re paying directly with crypto, and that gets converted to fiat for the vendor externally.

Want to swipe a debit card and buy groceries with your BTC? Great – read on.

Let’s take a look at two of the big names in crypto debit cards at the moment and see how they compare to each other side by side, starting with TenX.

 

TenX

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TenX is a Singapore-based company with about 40 team members. They raised $34 million in 7 minutes in 2017 with big names like PayPal lending legitimacy to their ICO.

TenX released their card last year, and the system facilitates instant payments through the card with no transaction fees for the consumer – that’s paid by the vendor, like with many fiat debit card transactions. The card is linked to a digital wallet, and you can pay in either Bitcoin or Ethereum at the moment, with plans to be able to pay in any major cryptocurrency.

TenX offers 0.01% cashback in the form of TenX tokens as well, offering the opportunity to earn passive income over time if the tokens appreciate in value, which certainly seems likely given all the great features on offer. At the time of writing, TenX token PAY is valued at $2.19. Check out this this video of TenX co-founder and CEO instantly purchasing a coffee in Singapore with his card.

Unlike Token card, TenX have already released their card – however, TenX are one of the cards affected by the WaveCrest shutdown, meaning that the cards are currently frozen pending reactivation – perhaps they released too soon after all! The WaveCrest situation is unfortunate, and has dealt a big blow to a lot of projects making strides in debit cards for crypto. The situation hasn’t been adequately explained, with WaveCrest and Visa both remaining relatively tight-lipped about it, but you can read more about it here.

Presumably, WaveCrest are doing everything they can to get reinstated as the card issuer, though TenX is reportedly working with a new issuer already whose identity cannot be revealed at the moment due to a non-disclosure agreement. It’s expected that TenX will redistribute new cards during Q1 of this year, so if you’re set on using TenX as your card provider, hang in there.

Token

Let’s take a look at Token card.

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Token is a project working with the Ethereum system, and they plan to allow users to pay with any ECR-20 token (any token compatible with the Ethereum system). The project can be divided into three elements– Token Contract Wallet, Token Card, and Token App. The app will be available for Android and IOS, and the wallet is of course where the card balance will be stored. Token are working with a card issuer in secret, and are holding off on revealing their identity.

They were reportedly almost set for card launch when WaveCrest’s membership was terminated by Visa in early January 2018, which has significantly delayed things for them and many other similar projects. Token are based in London and raised about $13 million in their May 2017 ICO.

Here’s the plan. Transactions aren’t free, and incur a fee of 1.5% for most cryptocurrency, or 0.5% for TKN (Token). 1% of all transactions are further placed into an asset smart contract and kept dormant, with the option of redeeming them at any time through the Cash and Burn system proposed by Token.

A somewhat strange idea, the concept is that 1% of all transactions are sent to the TKN Asset Contract. TKN holders can receive their share by “burning” their TKN, which results in the TKN coins being permanently destroyed. Token describe this as an incentive for people not to redeem the fee that will at the same time serve to gradually reduce supply and increase the value of TKN for other users whenever someone chooses to “burn” their tokens.

Which one’s the card for me?

It’s difficult to say. They both have different features, upsides and downsides. Token’s use of the Ethereum Network could contribute to the value of ETH and ER-20 currencies overall, meaning good news for investors. On the other hand, perhaps it’s not such a bad thing that the release has been delayed – ideally when it’s launched, the Lightning Network will have solved Ethereum’s scalability problems and sped things up considerably. Token is also the only card to provide private network keys, which is a great feature giving added security.

TenX has no transaction fees for the consumer, which is definitely a bonus. Last we checked, it wasn’t available in the US yet, but this should also be corrected by the time of release sometime this year. Of course, there are a number of other card projects as well, some of which are currently operational, so it’s a good idea to check them all out before taking the plunge. Both projects mentioned here are extremely promising, both for the utility offered to users and for widespread adoption of cryptocurrency in general. Stay tuned for more updates in the crypto debit card world as issuers get a move on and start giving the people what they want.

What exciting times we live in!

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Mysterious crypto company buys $175 million in land in Nevada…

Never a dull day in crypto-world. A relatively unknown company just purchased over 67,125 total acres of land in Nevada. The company, Blockchains LLC, describes itself as an incubator of blockchain-powered ideas, ventures and businesses. While little is know about the purchase the county office confirmed the transaction valued at over $175 million. The following is taken directly from their website:

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The property is part of the largest industrial park in the world, the Tahoe-Reno Industrial Center, that also counts TESLA (2,800 acres) and its famed “Gigafactory”, GOOGLE (1,210 acres) and data center giant SWITCH (2,000 acres) as tenants. Blockchains LLC (67,125 acres) will now own around 67% of the total area covered by the park. While no one is fully aware of the company’s plan, the broker involved in the deal confirmed that the intent was to build a corporate headquarters and software design research center in the park.

This all sounds very mysterious. I wonder what it could be???? Crypto is gonna be so much fun in 2018.

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