What is Cardano? [ADA]

In the beginning...
Today, Ethereum is the undoubted leader in the smart contract platform field. Many projects want to win this battle. One of the most promising and decent ones is Cardano. Founded by Charles Hoskinson (Ethereum co-founder) and IOHK team, ADA has quickly jumped in the top 10 chart and gained a market cap of $20B.

ADA run a presale in Japan in 2015-2017. The team has sold about 26B tokens at a price of $0.0024 each raising ~$62M.

The Japanese company Emurgo hired IOHK to develop Cardano. They must finish building the platform by the end of 2020. Thus Emurgo will be a studio for developing smart contracts and dApps running on their own platform.

So, what the heck is Cardano?
Cardano is an open-sourced public blockchain. There a lot of scientists and researchers among the developers of Cardano (including of the creators of Haskell programming language, Cambridge and Oxford professors).

Cardano is also a smart contract platform, with a focus on security.

The biggest advantage of Cardano is balancing the needs of users with the needs of regulators. The team wants to create a platform that combines privacy yet keeps an ability to regulators. This vision will help Cardano provide open access to the power of blockchain and dApp for many financial services and markets.

Cardano's architecture is multilayered. The devs want to separate the accounting functionality (how much to transfer) from the logic part of the platform (why to transfer).

Cardano Smart Contracts Platform
Currently, the IOHK team is developing their own virtual machine for executing smart contracts (just like Ethereum does in its EVM). We will need to use a new programming language called Plutus to launch smart contracts on Cardano. Plutus is a lightweight version of Haskell. However, devs promise to add more languages in future and we will be able to write contracts in JavaScript, C, and Java.

Cardano platform is evolving slowly, but surely. Ethereum Foundation should speed up with their releases if they don't want to lose this race.
Anyway, it's great to have multiple choices. Competition is always a good thing to have.

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