Cardano (ADA) is a blockchain platform founded in September 2017 by Ethereum co-founder Charles Hoskinson. The platform was developed using peer reviewed research which remains a core principle of the ecosystem. Often referred to as a “3rd generation cryptocurrency”, Cardano's native token ADA is built on a proof of stake protocol called ourobouros and has a finite supply of 45B. ADA is used for staking, for network fees and there are plans to use it as a voting mechanism for changes to the platform. The Cardano blockchain is also designed to operate smart contracts that run a variety of other dapps.
Many people draw comparisons between projects like Cardano, Ethereum and Polkadot and there are some similarities like smart contracts and powering dapps. Here are three key design goals for the Cardano protocol that set it apart.
The Cardano blockchain is composed of two layers; the settlement layer where peer to peer transactions occur and the computational layer where smart contracts are executed. The purpose of this separation is to improve transaction speed, efficiency and security in the blockchain allowing Cardano to scale easily.
In the next phase of development, the Cardano team will be working to allow compatibility between smart contracts from different programming languages. Ultimately, Cardano hopes to create more open communication and transfer of tokens and information and become the “internet of blockchains.”
Because ongoing research and innovation is key for the growth of the Cardano ecosystem, a treasury mechanism has been built into the network. The projects that receive funding are voted on by the community, so there is no need to create additional tokens or fork to keep innovation going.