Introduction to the Cardano blockchain

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What is Cardano?

Cardano is a security focused blockchain that harnesses the latest research and engineering insights to build a platform suitable for the highest value applications.

After more than two years of planning and development, the Cardano blockchain was publicly launched on the 29th September 2017. Cardano’s Ada token was then made available for trading on the 1st October at Bittrex exchange.

Built on a foundation of peer-reviewed research created through partnerships with the world’s foremost universities, Cardano aims to create a platform for decentralised applications and smart contracts that can be processed with a technique called formal verification.

This allows logical proof of the correctness of code and smart contracts, for those applications where value is high and security is paramount. Cardano combines this with an innovative layered approach that separates accounting of value from all other smart contract and computation activity.

This means functionality can be added to smart contract capabilities without changing the protocol responsible for the cryptocurrency.

The Team

Cardano is made up of three companies who each have distinct roles in the project.

  1. Cardano Foundation: A Swiss non-profit and guardian of the Cardano ecosystem and community. It aims to proactively work with governments and regulatory bodies, as well as forming strategic partnerships with enterprises and other open-source projects to further global adoption of the technology.
  2. IOHK: A world-class engineering and technology company committed to using peer-to-peer innovations to provide financial services to three billion people that don’t have them. The group is contracted to design, build, and maintain the Cardano platform until 2020.
  3. Emurgo: a company formed to integrate, develop and support businesses who want to utilise Cardano’s decentralised blockchain.

What is unique about the project?

Cardano is the first blockchain project to be built on peer reviewed academic research.

This level of scrutiny of the underlying technology is an industry first. Further to this, Cardano is unique in that it’s written in the Haskell coding language.

Haskell is considered to be one of the most secure programming languages, minimizing the number of errors and adding extremely robust security to the platform. This includes use of a technique called formal verification, which allows mathematical proof of the correctness of code.

Cardano is also designed to operate in regulated industries whilst protecting individual privacy. Applications built on Cardano can be individually customised to meet regulator requirements, but individuals can protect their privacy by choosing whether they want to enter regulated domains.

How can I get Ada?

Right now the only exchange that Cardano has partnered with is Bittrex.com. More exchange partnerships will be announced in the coming weeks and months. Bittrex currently only offers a Bitcoin to Ada trading pair, but others will be added soon. You can sign up to Bittrex here.

How do I send/receive Ada?

You’ll want to start by getting a wallet. Cardano’s development partner IOHK has built the Daedalus wallet, allowing users to securely store their Ada. It will eventually support many different cryptocurrencies.

Key Documents & Project resources


Key Resources

Cardano Hub: The main website for all Cardano, from here all information and resources.

The Block Explorer: Search addresses, transactions, epochs & slots on the Cardano network.

The Daedalus Wallet: The open source cryptocurrency wallet for Ada, built to grow with the community.

The Whitepapers

Cardano has a very strong academic heritage and is the first cryptocurrency to have one of its academic papers accepted at Crypto 2017, the leading cryptography conference. IOHK have research centres or partnerships with many of the top global academic institutions including the University of Edinburgh and the Tokyo Institute of Technology.

On the Cardano Hub website, there are two sections within the Whitepapers tab:

  1. Philosophy: Confusingly most cryptocurrency projects call this their whitepaper, using the word in a non-academic sense. Here you can learn where the project has come from, and what its goals are. It explains how Cardano embraces the latest academic and engineering insights to build a highly secure Haskell blockchain.
  2. Academic Papers: This section hosts the peer-reviewed research papers that are behind Cardano’s technology, including the first provably secure PoS protocol Ouroboros.

Monetary Policy

  • Total Max Supply: 45,000,000,000 ADA
  • Total Ada distributed in Pre-Sale: 25,927,070,538 ADA

An amount equal to 20% of Ada vouchers sold during the Sale period, or 5,185,414,107 Ada vouchers were generated and distributed to three entities of the Cardano ecosystem that are part of the Technical and Business Development pool: IOHK, Emurgo and Cardano Foundation.

Together with the Ada sold, this brings the supply of allocated tokens to 31,112,483,745 ADA.

More details can be read in the Cardano monetary policy document.

The Code & Technical Documentation

The entire Cardano blockchain is completely open source software and is available to see on Github. There is also extensive technical documentation produced by IOHK which can be viewed here.

The Roadmap

The Cardano roadmap is due to be released imminently and will be published here.

Pre-Sale

The pre-launch token sale of Ada ran from September 2015 to January 2017 was undertaken over 4 different tranches. During the sale the average price paid for 1 Ada was $0.0024 USD and 94.8% of Ada voucher holders who participated in the sale are Japanese. The audit report summary carried out by Cardano Foundation is available here, and the genesis block distribution may be seen here.

Mining and Staking

We are currently in the bootstrap era during which IOHK and Cardano Foundation trusted nodes are currently operating the network. We will then move into the reward era for which details will be released very soon and updated here.


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Other Stuff


Rules & Moderation

We strive to maintain a friendly, informative and happy atmosphere here. Our primary policy is to lead with respect on all counts. We will flag and delete any posts that contain:

  • Rude or offensive commentary
  • Nudity or graphic content
  • Anything that can be described as “trolling”
  • Anything that can be described as “spammy”

Our community guidelines are simple, but strict:

  • Always be supportive and helpful to others
  • Speak to others the way you’d like them to speak to you

Join the Cardano Community!

Further questions or help? – Join the Cardano Community! If you have any further questions, Cardano community staff as well as knowledgeable community members are always on hand to assist you. We have lots of community channels, you can find us on Slack, Facebook, Twitter, or Youtube.