Introduction to the fundamentals of Cardano

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Cardano Summary

Cardano is a blockchain project that improves upon & expands the ideas of the first and 2nd blockchain generations.

They’re approaching it with rigorous research-based development strategies, like writing peer-reviewed papers beforehand, and then writing high assurance code afterwards.

IOG started R&D in 2015, and launched Cardano in 2017 with a federated proof of stake system. (I’ve already made a post about Proof of Stake).

Cardano Goals

Their main goal is to bring the ultimate financial system to billions of unbanked people around the world, especially in developing nations.

Technology-wise, Cardano’s end-goal is:

  • To have a fast blockchain without sacrificing security properties and network stability
  • To be highly decentralized in various metrics
  • To have interoperability with the real world and other projects in the space
  • To let the development and decisions be made by the community with a liquid-democracy-like system.

Cardano Development Pillars

For that, they’ve defined 5 development pillars for the project, and they’re named after important figures: Byron, Shelley, Goguen, Basho and Voltaire.

Byron pillar is already completed. As it was an era of laying out the fundamental pieces for Cardano to work: like delivering the official wallet and the secure & efficient consensus algorithm (called Ouroboros), among other things.

Shelley transformed the Cardano network from a federated system to a distributed one. In other words, decentralized block production started here, and as a pillar it’s just about completed as well.

Now Goguen is all about Smart Contracts capabilities. They’ve already launched Smart Contracts, and it has received an important update in September to improve performance and bring more functionality, solidifying this pillar.

Basho represents their scalability strategies to reach large throughput. As of now, it’s still mainly under development and updates will probably come throughout 2023.

Finally, Voltaire highlights their governance aspect. A “beta version” of this pillar has been already running these past 2 years by the name of Catalyst. Where the community votes on projects that are then funded by the decentralized Treasury.

As of this post, about 38 million dollars have been funded to a little over a thousand projects.

In short, as defined by Charles Hoskinson (CEO of IOG, which launched Cardano):

“Cardano is an evidence-based peer-reviewed third generation cryptocurrency that seeks to bring economic identity and banking to the world for those who don’t have it, built with decentralized principles and led and operated by its community.”

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