Find out all about Cardano and the Ada cryptocurrency.
Cardano is being built from the ground up and aims to be the most practical and effective cryptocurrency network ever made.
Primarily based in Japan, it began development in 2015, and was publicly launched on 29 September 2017. Cardano Ada (ADA) tokens were first made available for trading on 1 October. Since then it’s become the fourth largest cryptocurrency by market cap, peaking at over US$1.3 billion on 27 November 2017.
Where to buy Cardano Ada tokens
As a new cryptocurrency, options for buying Ada are still very limited. You will also need a wallet that supports it.
- Max supply: 45 billion ADA
- Ada currently in circulation: About 32 billion ADA
What is Cardano and how does it work?
Note: Cardano is still under development. Not all of the features described below are active at the time of writing.
Cardano is entirely open source and created from the ground up with the goal of being the most practical cryptocurrency ever made. Some of its features, such as the Cardano blockchain and Daedalus wallet, were purpose-built from scratch and designed to be better than anything else currently available.
One of the main features of the Cardano system is the multi-layer design:
- The settlement layer. This is the layer that operates the ADA tokens.
- The computing layer. This layer can run smart contracts, recognise individual users and perform other functions.
Bitcoin and most other cryptocurrencies have all of these functions in one layer. This multi-layer system brings some features that traders may find useful.
- Upgradeability. The system has been specifically designed to allow for relatively smooth and easy upgrades with soft forks. The multi-layer design allows for each layer to be forked and upgraded separately.
- Adaptability. The computing layer can be adapted in various ways without affecting ADA. For example, to help meet different regulatory requirements in different countries without needing to make one-size-fits-all changes to the ADA cryptocurrency.
- Privacy with compliance. Users can get privacy for their transactions even though the computing layer is able to recognise individuals. This system is designed to offer a level of anonymity while still allowing compliance with laws around the world.
These layers will be underpinned with the Cardano treasury, which will receive an as yet undecided portion of newly minted Ada and transaction fees.
Cardano uses an entirely new mining algorithm called Ouroboros. According to its developers, it’s the first proof-of-stake mining algorithm that’s been mathematically proven to be secure.
How proof of stake works
Most cryptocurrencies use “proof of work” mining, in which miners compete to solve problems, produce the next block and win a reward for doing so. By contrast “proof of stake” mining works by picking a semi-random stakeholder to solve the next block, with larger stakeholders (contributors with more ADA) more likely to be chosen.
This can potentially offer quicker and cheaper transactions, plus the benefits of being more energy-efficient.
The problem is finding a truly reliable and random way to pick the stakeholder to make a block. According to its developers. Ouroboros solves this problem.
Is Cardano trustworthy?
Cardano is entirely open source and patent-free. All its source code is publicly available for scrutiny. People interested in Cardano may find that this not only assists development, but also means any problems can be highlighted quickly. It’s also fronted and developed by some publicly accessible and widely known names.
- The Cardano Foundation: A Swiss-based non-profit designed to serve as a standards body for the Cardano protocol as it evolves over time, and to interface with regulators in different markets.
- IOHK: A well-known engineering company dedicated to peer-to-peer financial services innovations. IOHK is behind most of Cardano’s technology.
- Emurgo: A registered company formed to interface between Cardano and businesses by offering Cardano as a blockchain business solution.
This to consider before purchasing Cardano
The developers claim that Cardano was purpose-built to be the only cryptocurrency the world needs, offering an exceptional range of features and usefulness.
In particular, it’s designed to work well with regulations and to be accessible to almost anyone. For example, it’s already laid out plans to release Ada vending machines in Japan, and having an easy-to-use dedicated multi-currency wallet also removes an obstacle.
However, development is still ongoing and its full functions are not going to be available for some time. As of November 2017, only the settlement layer is operational.