Cardano is a third-generation blockchain that promises a high level of scalability, making it fast and capable of offering high throughput compared to earlier blockchains. Its sustainability level is linked to the fact that it uses “staking” instead of “mining”. Cardano also has an interoperability feature, making it compatible with other blockchains. This blockchain seeks to address the issues encountered in Proof of Work (PoW) platforms such as ever-increasing transaction fees linked to congestion, increasing energy usage, as well as incredibly slow transaction times, and decided to solve them.
Cardano, unlike the older blockchains, uses a Proof of Stake (PoS) consensus mechanism, which is significantly less energy-intensive, and more environmentally friendly, than what is obtainable in PoW networks. Given how much computing power and the complex machinery that PoW blockchains use, there have been calls for more efficient blockchains that rely on alternative consensus mechanisms like PoS.
Cardano: Its Origin
This ecosystem was created by a co-founder of Ethereum, Charles Hoskinson. He noticed the issues linked with PoW blockchains like Ethereum and decided to create a network that would solve those issues. He started working on Cardano in 2015 but launched it to the public in 2017. The native token, ADA, was named after 19th-century mathematician Ada Lovelace, often regarded as the first computer programmer. As for the underlying ecosystem, Cardano is named after Gerolamo Cardano, a 16th-century Italian polymath.
The Cardano Foundation, a Switzerland-based not-for-profit organization is responsible for overseeing the development of the Cardano blockchain. The development work is outsourced mainly to two for-profit blockchain development companies: Input Output Hong Kong (IOHK), run by Charles Hoskinson; and EMURGO.
What Cardano Is About?
Unlike most blockchain projects, the team behind Cardano decided not to release a whitepaper to detail what they intended to do, instead, they created design principles to show how they would solve the problems seen in other platforms.
Cardano works using the “Ouroboros” consensus protocol. Its team created Ouroboros, which is a Proof of Stake protocol that is highly secure and has been audited thoroughly.
Every aspect of the development process is based on intense research and adds crucial peer thoughts into the creation. It is also a blockchain that includes evidence-based methods to ensure that it blossoms and continues to tick the boxes and milestones in its roadmap.
The Cardano Chain is divided into two parts, the Cardano Computational Layer (CCL), and the Cardano Settlement Layer (CSL). Having these features makes it different from the typical smart contract project. Ethereum possesses a single-layer architecture that results in issues around network connection, high transaction fees, and sluggish transaction times, but that is not the case with Cardano.
Cardano solves these problems using CCL and CSL. As for the CSL layer, it allows peer-to-peer transactions to occur seamlessly, like the transfer of tokens between different users in the ecosystem. It acts as the balance ledger.
In the CCL layer, Cardano stands apart from the rest, as it handles the computational needs of the chain, making it easy for smart contracts to work efficiently. The separation of the two layers affords CCL the flexibility to work more effectively. It comes with an off-chain protocol that allows users to customize rules when verifying transactions.
By incorporating the Ouroboros protocol into the mix, Cardano is solving the issues that have been seen in other consensus protocols and chains.
A smart contract feature will be a part of Cardano, and it will serve as a layer where decentralized apps can be created seamlessly by developers. It will also encompass easy-to-use tools for developers to create DeFi platforms and other dApps. Its development team has stated that it will add Project Catalyst, a democratic on-chain governance system to allow the seamless development and execution of projects within its ecosystem.
Cardano’s Development Phases
Cardano’s Roadmap has stated that the project will be executed in five different stages to ensure that its goals are met. Every stage in the roadmap is named after a popular historical figure.
- Foundation – The foundation period is called the Byron era.
- Decentralization – This is called the Shelley era.
- Smart Contracts – Goguen era is the period that smart contracts are introduced.
- Scaling – The scaling era is christened after the Basho era.
- Governance – As for the governance period, it is called the Voltaire era.
How Ouroboros Functions
Ouroboros divides time into different periods that include slots. Slots are fixed amounts of time, and they can be likened to the shift patterns seen in factories. At the moment, an epoch in Ouroboros stands for five days, while a slot is synonymous with a second. It is important to note that the numbers can be altered when agreed upon by members of the community. Immediately an epoch comes to an end, another starts immediately.
Every slot has a leader that was chosen at random through a randomized lottery system. The system offered those with higher stakes a better opportunity of being chosen as slot leaders.
Slot leaders are responsible for:
- Validating transactions
- Creating transaction blocks
- Incorporating new blocks.
If it is noticed that the slot leader is unable to create a transaction block in the epoch, the mantle is passed to the successive slot leader. Every block made by the slot leader is analyzed by the input endorsers. The latter is made up of stakeholders that are elected depending on how many ADA they have staked.
For Ouroboros to work effectively, a small number of token holders have to be regularly online to ensure that network connectivity is achieved. To ensure that computing power consumed is reduced drastically, stake pools are incorporated into the architecture. It takes out the need to use massive energy which has been a major bone of contention in Ethereum and Bitcoin.
Cardano is solving the issues that are common in PoW chains like massive consumption of energy, high transaction fees, and sluggish confirmation periods. The fact that it was created by some members of the founding team behind Ethereum has added to its strengths because they know the issues surrounding Ethereum and are seeking to provide solutions in Cardano.