What is Cardano?
The vision is to enable a more democratic, equitable society so that all people have economic inclusion. 1.7 billion people in the world are unbanked and many are being denied the financial services because their identities cannot be verified.
Approach and offerings are underpinned by fundamental science and research:
- first to solve the proof-of-stake problem and consequently the development of a blockchain protocol that's 4 million times more efficient than Bitcoin (Bitcoin's energy consumption is like Belgium while Cardano equals 1 household)
- a global scale financial system that is 100x more decentralized than Bitcoin
- first provably secure blockchain protocol for a high secure financial network
- first research to apply the rigor of functional programming languages to the design of smart contracts
Cardano's a third generation blockchain for the age of real-life application and it has more advance features than previous blockchain generations:
- scalable: the ability to underpin all global commerce
- interoperable: compatible with legacy financial systems as well as current and future blockchain networks
- sustainable: maintains itself and enables participants to govern it to ensure its sustainability
What else makes Cardano special:
- 50-100x more decentralized than Bitcoin/Ethereum
- underpinned by scientific rigor
- world's first provably secure network
- globally (geographically) diverse blockchain
- top 10 crypto
- interoperable with legacy systems and other blockchains
- world's most environmentally sustainable blockchain solution
- home to ADA, leading proof-of-stake crypto by market cap
- world's first PoS blockchain
Cardano engineers/devs deploy formal methods to ensure faithful traslation fo science into performant code .
Staking, the dual role of ADA:
- payment: store of value or pay for good and services
- staking: participation in "virtual lottery" -> can be delegated to a stake pool
- Cardano incentives achieve a level of decentralization that is orders of magnitude higher than that of Bitcoin (3 large mining groups control the network -> over 50% of hashing power, Ethereum's in similar situation)
- true decentralization in Cardano via incentives mechanism prevents pool from growing too large (e.g. in the future Bitcoin miners could converge into one single gigantic pool that controls the entire network, see above)
Cardano is currently targeting 500 and soon 1000 (k-parameter) stake pools but in theory the sky's the limit.
Cardano has several development stages (all done in parallel -> not waiting for one phase to finish to start another one) each focused on a set of functionalities that together make it more advance than previous blockchain generations:
- Foundation (Byron (done)): laying the groundwork for the most advance blockchain generation. This stage was focused on building a community to support the creation of Cardano. It allowed the users to buy&sell ADA on the Ouroboros protocol which is the first PoS protocol underpinned by academic research and a mathematically proven level of security.
- Decentralization (Shelley (done)): ensuring greater security and robustness. In this stage, nodes/serves/stake-pools (blocks of data) are hosted by more and more network participants leading it to become decentralized. The more decentralized the less risk of compromise by malicious behaviour. Cardano will be 50-100x more decentralized than other major blockchain networks and thus more secure.
- Smart contracts (Goguen (Q2/Q3 2021) ft. Alonzo (last hardfork) ft. Mary (done) ft. Allegra(done)): enterprise ready smart contract creation and management. This stage adds the ability to build decentralized applications (DApps) on Cardano's solid foundation of peer-reviewed research and high-assurance development. Critically, it enables users from technical and non-technical background to create and execute functional smart contract. This supports the development of enterprise-level smart contracts for mission-critical applications.
- Scalability (Basho(2021)): establishing unrivalled high-performance resilience. This stage focuses on optimization and the underlying performance of Cardano network, improving scalability and interoperability. This includes the introduction of side chains (new blockchains interoperable with the main Cardano chain) increasing the capacity of the network and enabling experimental features without impacting security. This means secure and reliable scalability and thus maintainability.
- Governance (Voltaire (2021) ft. Project Catalyst): establishing self-sustainability to secure the future. This stages ensures that Cardano can be maintained and improved over time. It sees the addition of a treasury system (400 million ADA or 0.5 billion $ at present time and growing each epoch(=5 days)) whereby a fraction of all transaction fees are pooled to provide funds for development activities undertaken following the voting process. this stage makes Cardano truly decentralized and future-proof and transfers management (power to the edges) to the community.