Imagine what it would be like to have a blockchain that is:
Doesn’t it sound like a dream?
Well, the dream is about to come true with the third generation of blockchains with the first generation being the likes of Bitcoin and the second generation being the likes of Ethereum.
But when you include the positive features of the first two with some additional unparalleled features, you get third generation blockchains like Cardano.
Cardano is a blockchain conceived with exactly that in mind.
We will cover the following points in this beginner’s guide:
- What Is Cardano?
- How Cardano Works
- Cardano’s Team
- Total Cardano (ADA) Supply & Market Cap
- How To Buy Cardano Cryptocurrency (ADA)
- Cardano (ADA) Wallets
- Cardano’s Future and Roadmap
- Official Resources
What Is Cardano?
But we have Ethereum for that, don’t we?
Well, Ethereum is not as good and has time and again faced network congestions. Therefore, we need something better developed from scratch while keeping all these challenges in mind. Cardano is one of them.
In short, you can think of Cardano as Ethereum for face value but inside it is the robust research-first driven approach that lays the bedrock of what needs to be achieved and how effectively.
And just like Ethereum, Cardano has its own cryptocurrency called Cardano (ADA) which acts as a fuel for the Cardano network.
Cardano is more than just a cryptocurrency, however, it is a technological platform that will be capable of running financial applications currently used every day by individuals, organizations, and governments all around the world. The platform is being constructed in layers, which gives the system the flexibility to be more easily maintained and allow for upgrades by way of soft forks. After the settlement layer that will run Ada is complete, a separate computing layer will be built to handle smart contracts, the digital legal agreements that will underpin future commerce and business. Cardano will also run decentralized applications, or DApps, services not controlled by any single party but instead operate on a blockchain. (Source)
How Cardano Works?
Cardano has deliberately made itself modular so that future upgrades and iterations can be easy.
Cardano has two parts, namely, the settlement layer and the computational layer. The settlement layer is for the settlement of cryptocurrency transactions (ADA transactions) while the computational layer is for computing smart contracts and DApps code.
Because of this, the team can change the consensus protocol on the settlement layer anytime without disturbing the computational layer and vice-versa.
There is more.
The unique thing about Cardano is its long-term plans.
Charles Hoskinson, the CEO of Cardano, states that they want to build something like TCP/IP protocol that can last for decades and ultimately make an inclusive economy for the 3 billion deprived people. That is why so much emphasis has been given to research and peer review. I also agree with this approach as this is an old-age method for making robust products.
In fact, Charles says that they have very carefully chosen their consensus protocol, which is a proof of stake protocol called as Ouroboros.
Through Ouroboros, time in Cardano is divided into epochs (pronounced “epics”), which are further divided into slots which are short time periods of around 20 seconds, and each slot has a designated leader. Slot leaders can create no more than a single block in their assigned slot and hence are awarded in the form of transaction fees collected in an epoch.
But this slot leader is decided in accordance with the stake you have in the system. So if you have more ADA at stake in the system, the chances of you being a slot leader are higher.
So this way, Cardano provides security as good as Bitcoin’s proof of work but in a cheaper and more efficient manner. This method also makes Cardano much faster where one need not wait for 10 or more minutes for a transaction to go through.
There are more scalability developments that Cardano will implement and we will talk about the same further in this article.
Cardano’s Team is also highly decentralized and distributed as it comprises of inspiring minds that come from three different organizations, namely:
- Cardano Foundation: An independent standards body based in Switzerland with core responsibilities to support the community of Cardano users and to work with authorities on regulatory and commercial matters.
- IOHK [Input Output HongKong]: IOHK is blockchain technology company formed by Charles Hoskinson in 2015 specifically to promote peer-to-peer innovations to provide financial services to 3 billion people around the world who don’t have it. IOHK has the contract of development of Cardano till 2020 and some of its other clients are Binance and Ethereum classic.
- Emurg: It invests in start-ups and assists commercial ventures to build on the Cardano blockchain.
Total Cardano (ADA) Supply & Market Cap
Cardano has been in the market since September 2017.
The total fixed supply of ADA is 45,000,000,000 ADA out which 25,927,070,538 ADA is floating in the market.
And according to CoinMarketCap, the total circulating supply of ADA is 25,927,070,538 ADA, and the current price of each unit is $0.28. That values it at approximately $7.4 billion (at the time of writing this article).
How To Buy Cardano Cryptocurrency (ADA)
The Cardano project is gaining popularity steadily and hence exchanges trading Cardano cryptocurrency are also increasing. Some of the exchanges through which one can buy/sell Cardano cryptocurrency are:
- Binance: Supported pairs are ADA/BTC, ADA/ETH, ADA/BNB, ADA/USDT
- Huobi: Supported pairs are ADA/BTC, ADA/ETH, ADA/USDT
- Gate.io: Supported pairs are ADA/BTC, ADA/USDT
- Bittrex: Supported pairs are ADA/BTC, ADA/ETH, ADA/USDT
- Bithumb: Supported pairs are ADA/KRW
Buying ADA for fiat currencies like USD, EUR etc is not possible as of now but with Cardano’s popularity, you can expect such pairs in the near future.
Cardano (ADA) Wallets
Cardano is not an ERC20 token. Instead, it has its own dedicated blockchain from the very start and hence has a totally different wallet developed by the Cardano team.
The only viable and popular wallet for Cardano right now is Daedalus wallet, which is a desktop client to store, send, and receive Cardano.
- Desktop Wallet: Daedalus Wallet (Windows & Mac)
- Mobile Wallet: Infinito Wallet (Android app| iOS app)
- Hardware Wallet: Very soon, you should expect Ledger Nano S supporting Cardano as it is work in progress.
Cardano’s Future and Roadmap
Cardano is focused on solving 4 critical problems faced by blockchains of the world today and all that all at one place:
Believe it or not, it is a highly ambitious project and a complex one too.
That’s why they don’t have any hardcoded deadlines or dates for their milestones in the roadmap. But their roadmap is chopped into 5 important milestones, namely:
Cardano is currently in its early development phase and is completing Byron. Along with that, the preparations of Shelley test net launch are also underway.
Goguen will be taken care of and will implement sidechains for scalability and smart contracts also.
Update as of 1/10/2018: We are currently in Byron, the bootstrap phase, where we are making improvements. These include to the code, for example in the wallet backend, and debugging. We will improve the design of Daedalus and make integration through APIs to third parties simpler. We will then move from Byron to Shelley, where the network becomes decentralized. Over the next 18 months work will be done that contributes to stability, interoperability, and governance. Throughout the arc of development, Cardano’s protocols will increase in complexity, interdependence and use more exotic cryptographic primitives. (Source)
You see how meticulously the Cardano team is moving forward. But some may argue that it is happening at the pace of a snail. I agree, but given the fact that they follow the research-first and peer review process, such speed is expected.
Also, when you are focused on creating a protocol that can last for decades, you do need super meticulous planning.
On the other hand, Cardano is written in Haskell language and there is a sheer dearth of Haskell developers around the world and that is also one of the reasons for its slow development.
But I fear that even when it is completed, the smart contract and DApps development will require the knowledge of Plutus programming language. This can be a huge learning curve as well as hinder the adoption of Cardano.
Having said that, it is early to decide now as Cardano will take another year or more for its complete development and such things will only be clearer once the development is complete.
That’s all from my side in this introductory round-up of Cardano Cryptocurrency.
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