Cardano is a public blockchain that hosts ADA, a cryptocurrency designed to function as digital cash.
The platform seeks to protect the privacy of users while being regulator-friendly1. Based on peer-reviewed academic research2, this self described “third-generation blockchain”3 claims to be created from ‘scientific philosophy.’4 Unlike most other blockchains, Cardano is written in the Haskell programming language5.
Cardano was founded in 2017 by co-founder and ex-CEO of Ethereum, Charles Hoskinson. He sought to create a platform that was scalable, sustainable and interoperable6. Cardano has two infrastructural layers, the Cardano Settlement Layer (CSL) and the Cardano Computation Layer (CCL).
More specifically, the settlement layer is the ledger on which users transfer ADA between accounts, and where the transactions are recorded. The second layer, the computation layer, contains smart contracts and other information as to why transactions occur7. It utilizes its own proof-of-stake (PoS) consensus algorithm called Ouroboros to secure the network and validate transactions8.
The Cardano platform is maintained by three separate and independent organizations: the Cardano Foundation, Input Output HK (IOHK) and Emurgo. The Cardano Foundation is based in Switzerland and is responsible for supervising and overseeing the development of the Cardano ecosystem9.
IOHK has put forward the team that designed and built Cardano, and importantly integrated Ouroboros, the proof-of-stake algorithm that is unique to Cardano10. Finally, Emurgo is the company that helps organizations adopt Cardano’s decentralized blockchain by investing, advising and developing the integration of the blockchain into the company.