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What Is Cardano (ADA)?
Cardano was founded in 2017 and named after the 16th-century Italian polymath Gerolamo Cardano. The native ADA token comes from the 19th-century mathematician Ada Lovelace, widely regarded as the world’s first computer programmer. The ADA token is designed to ensure that owners can participate in the operation of the network. Because of this, those who hold the cryptocurrency have the right to vote on any proposed changes to the software.
The team behind the layered blockchain say that there have already been some compelling use cases for its technology, which aims to allow decentralized apps and smart contracts to be developed with modularity.
In August 2021, Charles Hoskinson announced the launch of the Alonzo hard fork, causing ADA price to surge, gaining 116% in the following month. Finally, on Sept. 12, 2021, the Cardano ‘Alonzo’ hard fork officially launched, bringing smart contract functionality to the blockchain. Over 100 smart contracts were deployed in the following 24 hours after the launch. Agricultural companies use Cardano to track fresh produce from field to fork. At the same time, other products built on the platform allow educational credentials to be stored in a tamper-proof way and retailers to clamp down on counterfeit goods.
Who Are the Founders of Cardano?
Cardano was founded by Charles Hoskinson, who was also one of the co-founders of the Ethereum network. He is the CEO of IOHK, the company that built Cardano’s blockchain.
In an interview for CoinMarketCap’s Crypto Titans series, Hoskinson said he got involved in cryptocurrencies back in 2011 — and dabbled in mining and trading. However, he explained that his first professional involvement in the industry came in 2013 when he created a course about Bitcoin that 80,000 students took.
As well as being a technology entrepreneur, Hoskinson is also a mathematician. In 2020, his technology company donated ADA worth $500,000 to the University of Wyoming’s Blockchain Research and Development Lab.
What Makes Cardano Unique?
Cardano is one of the biggest blockchains to successfully use a proof-of-stake consensus mechanism, which is less energy-intensive than the proof-of-work algorithm relied upon by Bitcoin. Although the much larger Ethereum is going to be upgrading to PoS, this transition will only take place gradually.
The project has taken pride in ensuring that all of the technology developed goes through peer-reviewed research, meaning that bold ideas can be challenged before they are validated. According to the ADA team, this academic rigour helps the blockchain be durable and stable — increasing the chance that potential pitfalls can be anticipated in advance.
In 2020, ADA held a Shelley upgrade to make its blockchain “50 to 100 times more decentralized” than other large blockchains. At the time, Hoskinson predicted that this would allow hundreds of assets to run on its network.
The Alonzo hard fork launch in September 2021 will end the Shelley era and usher in the Goguen phase. Users can develop and deploy smart contracts on ADA, allowing native decentralized applications (DApps) built on blockchain. Cardano’s price broke the $3 mark and hit an all-time high of $3.101 on Sept. 2, 2021, ahead of the launch.
How Many Cardano (ADA) Coins Are There in Circulation?
There is a maximum supply of 45 billion ADA — but there was a circulating supply of about 31 billion at the time of writing. Five rounds of public sales of Cardano tokens were held between September 2015 and January 2017. Cardano’s price during its pre-launch sale was $0.0024, which represents an over 1000x return, given ADA price now.
Approximately 2.5 billion ADA was allotted to IOHK once the network launched. Meanwhile, an additional 2.1 billion ADA was given to Emurgo, a global blockchain technology company that served as a founding entity of the ADA protocol. Last but not least, 648 million ADA was given to the not-for-profit Cardano Foundation, which aims to promote the platform and increase levels of adoption.
Overall, about 16% of ADA’s total supply went to the project’s founders, with the remaining 84% being split among investors.
How Is the Cardano Network Secured?
Cardano is secured through an “environmentally sustainable, verifiably secure” PoS protocol that’s known as Ouroboros.
The project says that Ouroboros improves upon the security guarantees delivered by a PoW consensus mechanism while using substantially less power — claiming that it is four times more energy-efficient than Bitcoin.
It is described as a blend of unique technology and mathematically verified mechanisms, with behavioural psychology and economic philosophy thrown in for good measure. Overall, the objective of Ouroboros is to achieve sustainable and ethical growth.
An incentive mechanism means that participants in the network are rewarded for their involvement.
What Is Cardano’s Alonzo Upgrade?
On Sept. 12, Cardano released its highly-anticipated Alonzo upgrade. Following the upgrade, the blockchain network can now support many crypto applications, including non-fungible tokens (NFTs) and smart contracts.
Alonzo is named after American mathematician Alonzo Church, who is considered one of the founding fathers of computer science. In addition to supporting NFTs and smart contracts, Cardano can now be used for decentralized exchanges. In general, Alonzo puts Cardano in the same class as Ethereum, the world’s leading blockchain that supports applications other than its native Ether token. Smart contracts, for instance, are one of the cornerstones of the decentralized finance sector — and Cardano now supports smart contracts.
In February 2022, Cardano wallets broke the three million milestones. Since December 2020, it has surged by 1,200%, from 190,000 to over 3,000,000. This coincided with an increase in smart contracts following the Alonzo Upgrade, and ADA surpassed the 1,000 smart contracts milestone on Jan. 27, 2022. Another indicator of the ecosystem’s explosive growth is developer activity: Cardano boasted the most developers contributing to its Github, beating out more developed blockchains like Solana. On average, more than 50 contributions are submitted to its repo per day.
However, the network is still struggling with implementing its smart contracts, and users complained about a sluggish launch of its SundaeSwap decentralized exchange in January 2022.
Where Can You Buy Cardano (ADA)?
As one of the biggest cryptocurrencies in the world in terms of market capitalization, you shouldn’t have much difficulty finding a major exchange to buy Cardano on, including Binance, Bittrex, eToro, and HitBTC.
If you’re struggling to find a trading pair that unites ADA with your local currency, check out this guide on how to convert fiat into Bitcoin — giving you a gateway to buying altcoins.”
To check Cardano’s price live in the fiat currency of your choice, you can use CoinMarketCap’s converter feature directly on the ADA currency page or the dedicated exchange rate converter page. Popular Cardano price pairs include ADA/USD, ADA/JPY, ADA/KRW, ADA/CNY, ADA/GBP and ADA/AUD.
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