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What Is Cardano (ADA)? A Crypto Coin Study
This coin study is a quick overview of everything you need to know about Cardano at a glance.
By Joe Coburn Posted in Coin Study on November 26, 2018 5 min read
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Cardano is a scientific blockchain designed to run smart contracts. Traded as “ADA”, and currently sitting at the number eight spot of top cryptocurrencies by market capitalization. Here’s everything you need to know.

What Is Cardano?

Cardano is a “decentralized public blockchain and cryptocurrency project”, so nothing new or surprising there. Cardano is a smart contract platform, and it works in a similar way to how Ethereum works. Although it’s not a clone of Ethereum, it’s designed to run financial applications. The Cardano blockchain works with a scientific philosophy underpinning everything. Academic researchers and engineers are working together, in the hopes of producing a smarter, faster, and stronger blockchain.

By applying technology principles from the aerospace, banking, and engineering communities, Cardano aims to balance the needs of user privacy with regulation, with the hope that “…regulated computing will bring greater financial inclusion by providing open access for all to fair financial services.”

Cardano is being built by three key organizations. These are:

The Cardano Foundation: They exist to develop Cardano, educate users, and to study and propose cryptocurrency regulation.
Emurgo: Serve as a tech incubator and research facility. They provide investment to new business ventures.
IOHK: A financial engineering company contracted to help work on Cardano.

With these large companies supporting Cardano, it’s a very professional and polished product. The Cardano Settlement Layer GitHub project contains over 16,000 commits from 91 different contributors. The well-organized project is bustling with questions, bug fixes, and new feature implementations.

How Does Cardano Work?

Cardano uses a Proof of Stake consensus algorithm called “Ouroboros”. This is like other Proof of Stake networks but it operates with security at the forefront of everything it does.. This is everything you’d expect from a scientific blockchain, but what does this mean in reality?

Further Ouroboros details are in the Ouroboros technical paper. Not only does this outline the Proof of Stake implementation, but it goes into detail regarding the security “…this is the first blockchain protocol of its kind with a rigorous security analysis”.

The Cardano Foundation and associated contributing companies are developing an outstanding modern blockchain, with academic peer reviews and transparency at the core of all their work. By applying the same principles used in scientific and academic research, the results should, in theory, be far higher quality than competing blockchains.

Software development and blockchain company FP Complete carried out an independent 3rd party audit of the Cardano codebase and processes in December 2017 through February 2018. These contractors continue to carry out regular audits, and you can read the initial audit report.

This audit uses a traffic light rating system. Green tasks are those that are well executed, yellow are potentially flawed issues or processes, and red flags refer to confirmed flaws. There are only two red flags in the whole project, and these relate to code management (missing regression testing), and continuous integration (Any failing tests may not get noticed quickly). Both of these issues relate to the production of the software, and resolutions for both are in-progress.

Unlike many other projects, Cardano didn’t start with a white paper, rather, it started with a collection of best practices, outlined in the Cardano philosophy. There are many principles outlined here, but the summary is simple. Cardano aims to learn from the mistakes of thousands of other crypto projects and to develop the project in line with the best practices in computer science, engineering, finance, and science.

How Much Does Cardano Cost?

Cardano uses the ADA token. There are roughly 31 billion total possible ADA. The current price for one ADA is $0.076, but this price has been extremely volatile in the past—just like most cryptos. On the fourth of January 2018, ADA reached its all-time high price of $1.33. It’s never seen such a high price since, and the current price represents a roughly 94% decrease.

Cardano price chart

As Cardano is currently sat at the number eight spot of top cryptocurrencies by market cap ($1.9 billion), it’s available to buy on a vast number of exchanges. It’s not supported on Coinbase, but you can buy it on several exchanges listed in our best crypto exchanges guide. This includes exchange giants Binance and Bittrex.

If you’re looking for a wallet to securely store your ADA, then Daedalus is the wallet for you. While it doesn’t support any other cryptocurrencies right now, Bitcoin and Ethereum support are coming soon. This wallet lets you stay in control of your private keys, and is open-source, with the code freely available on GitHub.

Still not sure about public vs private keys? Our what is blockchain guide can help.

What’s Cardano’s Future Potential?

The future looks very promising for Cardano. With a world-class team, responsible governance, and a leading peer-reviewed ethos, the academic approach will pay dividends for the project, blockchain, and ADA token. Taking such a stance ensures that the product and community are rock-solid. This may mean that developments take slightly longer than with other less cautious projects, but who wouldn’t prefer things done “right” the first time and taking a little longer, than “quick and dirty” hack jobs?

There’s a relentless interest in Cardano. The community pushed the price up to over a dollar in less than one month, and with over 140,000 Twitter followers, 21,000 Facebook likes, and 69,000 Reddit subscribers, the Cardano Foundation isn’t short of a fan or two.

Join the Cardano Community

If you’d like to get involved with the Cardano community, then you have plenty of options. If you want to contribute or browse the code, then you can do so on the GitHub repository. Or, take a look at these other communication options:

  1. Official Twitter Account
  2. Official Facebook page
  3. Discord channel
  4. Cardano subreddit
  5. Official Cardano Forum

In our opinion, Cardano is one cool project, but what about you? Let us know in the comments below, or get involved with our Facebook and Twitter communities, we’d love to hear from you!


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