What is Cardano?

4 min readDec 31, 2020

Cardano (ADA) is a decentralized platform that will enable complex programmable value transfers in a secure and scalable manner. Founded by Charles Hoskinson, its development began in 2015 and it raised around USD 60 million in an ICO in 2017 before its launch. Hoskinson was also one of the founders of the Ethereum.

Cardano is an innovative blockchain network for participation testing, Proof of Stake (PoS), as a development platform for decentralized applications (DApp), smart contracts and decentralized finance (DeFi).

Cardano aims to achieve the scalability, interoperability with other blockchains and sustainability needed for real-world applications, with digital identity services, DApps and large-scale smart contracts that will underpin the economy of the future.

One of its features is that it is built in layers, which gives it flexibility and allows it to be easily upgraded.


It houses its ADA cryptocurrency.

Built with the rigor of formal, high-security development methods and based on peer-reviewed academic research, Cardano has a spirit of openness and transparency. All research and technical specifications supporting Cardano are publicly published and all Cardano development activity is made available to the public.

Cardano is designed by a global team of experts who are leaders in disciplines ranging from distributed systems to programming languages and game theory, and is jointly developed by IOHK and its partners. IOHK develops the technology, the Cardano Foundation is responsible for overseeing the development and promoting Cardano, while Emurgo drives commercial adoption. While we build Cardano, we are simply custodians.

The network has federated nodes belonging to the IOHK to start its growth with stability, and also a percentage of private nodes, stake pools, with the objective of being the latter the ones that operate the network in a total way, and so when the blockchain is completely decentralized, it will belong to the community and it will be the community that will decide its future through advanced governance functions.

Cardano’s roadmap for its development has been divided into five eras: Byron, Shelley, Goguen, Basho and Voltaire. While each separate era has its own set of features to be developed and supported in multiple versions of code in a sequential order, the development of each era is parallel and simultaneous in the different systems.

Cardano also has its own block browser, which allows users to check the history of ADA transactions that are publicly recorded in the blockchain.

How do you mine or stake Cardano?

Cardano does not run in a Proof of work (PoW) blockchain like Bitcoin. Instead, Cardano has a Proof of Stake (PoS) algorithm known as Ouroboros, which works in a specific way compared to most participation testing algorithms. Ouroboros divides spaces of time called “epochs”, which can be compared with working a shift. Each epoch is led by a chosen slot leader who is responsible for creating and confirming blocks in the Cardano blockchain. If a slot leader doesn’t create a transaction block in his epoch, the next “turn” leader will try, with a minimum of 50 percent or more of the blocks produced within an epoch. Transactions in blocks created by slot leaders are then approved by ticket endorsers, who are chosen based on stakes. There may be more than one entry endorser in each epoch.

The Ouroboros rewards system has incentives for availability and transaction verification, rather than using large amounts of energy to mine coins as in the work test. The rewards awarded for participating in the Cardano blockchain are divided among three parties: ticket endorsers, multi-group computing stakeholders, and slot leaders.

Cardano staking is a Shelley era feature of the roadmap. The Shelley Incentivized Testnet, available in May 2020, allows ADA holders to earn rewards by delegating their stakes or running a stake pool.

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