Cardano Cryptocurrency Review
Welcome to the ADA Cryptocurrency Review. New to crypto? Access our Blockchain 101 material before you dive in!
Curious about how we came up with our score for Cardano? To learn more about our scoring methodologies please click here.
Profile Snapshot of ADA
Blockchain Use Case (1.8/2.0)
Cardano is a third generation blockchain network that uses a Proof of Stake consensus mechanism they are calling Ouroboros. ADA is the native token of the Cardano platform.
Cardano is similar to the Ethereum network and other blockchain-as-a-service platforms that we have already reviewed. The project is developing a smart contract platform that aims to deliver more advanced features than its predecessors.
We’ll touch on this in the development team section but the project boasts some of the best minds in game theory and blockchain mechanics. This project is driven by a principled approach and is the first blockchain platform that is being built based on peer reviewed research.
The key to Cardano is it’s multi-layered approach. There will be multiple layers to the platform, the most notable being the settlement layer and the computational layer. The settlement layer will deal with the exchange of value, such as ADA tokens or other types of information. The computational layer will house all the smart contracts built on the platform and this is where, not surprisingly, the computations as it regards these contracts will take place. These two layers will interact with each other providing, in theory, a more scalable blockchain network.
Platforms like Ethereum have both settlement and computations running on the same layer of the platform. This can create a bottleneck that does not allow these platforms to scale as well as Cardano potentially can.
Development and Management Team (1.9/2.0)
Charles Hoskinson has a long and successful track record in the blockchain and cryptocurrency industry. He is the co-founder of BitShares which is the first cryptocurrency to utilize the Delegate Proof of Stake consensus mechanism. He has a deep understanding of blockchain consensus mechanisms and Proof of Stake especially. This should be an asset to the Cardano project as they explore uncharted territories in this space.
Charles is also a co-founder of the Ethereum network and he served as it’s initial CEO from December 2013 to June 2014. He has seen a project go from just an idea to something that is functional and that produces value.
He is the current CEO of Input Output HK. The firm hosts one of the largest cryptocurrency research divisions in the world. There main project is Cardano but it also incubates Ethereum Classic and a variety of other blockchain related projects.
Jeremy Wood got interested in cryptocurrency and blockchain shortly after moving to Japan. There he arranged several Bitcoin and cryptocurrency meet ups in an effort to educate others in the community about the potential of these assets.
He joined the Ethereum team in 2013, managing day to day operations for the project and like Charles, saw the project grow over time to what it is today. He left the project in 2014 and went on to start IOHK with Charles in April 2015.
The team behind these two is quite large and consists of various leaders in their field. A standout is Professor Philip Wadler who is highly respected in the programming community. He contributed to the design of various programming languages, including Haskell, which is the language that the Cardano platform will be written in. You can learn more about Philip Wadler and the rest of the team by clicking here.
Partnerships and Other Influences
IOHK and Cardano are partnered with this entity called Emurgo. You can think of Emurgo as a blockchain focused incubation fund. The role of Emurgo is to develop and support ventures that increase the use cases for the Cardano platform. They do this in two ways:
- By directly investing in start-ups that can further promote the use case of Cardano.
- By creating commercial partners that will use Cardano to solve issues they are facing.
IOHK also oversees the development of other platforms, including Ethereum Classic. Charles Hoskinson was a co-founder of Ethereum so this makes perfect sense. Both teams should be able to learn from each other and each platform should be the better for it.
The platforms are working on a project that will test the interoperability between the Ethereum Classic and Cardano blockchain networks. The interoperability of blockchain networks is a big question facing the community at the moment. Currently each blockchain networks exists as a standalone network. If these teams can find a solution to this problem it would be a major breakthrough for the industry.
Competition and Risks (1.7/2.0)
The following can be considered competitors to the Cardano project:
The following can be considered competitive advantages that the Cardano project has compared to other platforms:
- The project has IOHK backing it. The project is staffed with a huge team (as well as teams working on other projects) and it would be difficult to find a team that is better suited to deliver on success than this one.
- Their multi-layered approach is a very good idea and if implemented correctly should improve on the scalability of DApp platforms that came before it.
- Their partnership with Ethereum Classic is unique. If these two teams can figure out a way for both blockchains to communicate and interoperate they will have achieved something special. This is a problem that is plaguing the cryptocurrency and blockchain communities at the moment
The following should be considered when analyzing this project’s chances of succeeding:
- It’s difficult to say this because crypto is so young but they are a bit late to the party. Projects like Ethereum have the first mover advantage and have cleared plenty of hurdles that Cardano has yet to face.
- The decisions governing the platform protocol, though research driven, are much different that those that exist and they have not been fully tested. There’s still a tremendous amount of work to be done before the feasibility of this idea can be vetted out.
Network and User Trends (1.4/2.0)
It should be noted that Network Hashrate and Mining Distribution are not relevant to our review of ADA because the platform uses a Proof of Stake consensus mechanism.
Information concerning daily transactions were not readily available. In order to analyze the transactional capabilities of the platform we relied on information distributed by the team.
Please keep this in mind when forming your own conclusions.
Transactions Per Second
Transaction throughput is very important metric for a blockchain network. Blockchain networks won’t be able to scale if they are not able to process a significant amount of transactions in a given amount of time.
Based on a test using 40 nodes housed on the Amazon Cloud network the median rate of transactions processed per second was 257. This might not seem like a lot but when compared to its competitors it is one of the leaders of the pack.
You can view the findings for yourself by clicking here.
The amount of fees that a user of a blockchain network has to pay per transaction is important. If fees are too high then users might be unable to use the network for a particular purpose and might find cheaper alternatives.
The Cardano platform assesses very cheap transaction fees. There is a minimum transaction fee and an additional fee is accessed per byte of data that needs to be processed. The minimum transaction fee on the network is roughly 0.155281 ADA which comes out to about 2 cents.
To learn more about fees on the Cardano platform click here.
The amount of active user accounts can signal if the network is growing or contracting as far as participants are concerned. The more accounts, the more interest there is in a platform. More users also allows the platform to get an understanding of network capabilities.
Currently the amount of active user accounts have gone down. Over the past 3 months the amount of active user accounts has decreased by 64.8%.
To see the amount of active user accounts please click here.
Financial Considerations (1.7/2.0)
Cardano is an exciting project and it definitely constitutes a new age of thinking as it concerns how blockchain networks should be built. We’re excited about the project because the team is top notch and the ideas that the platform’s foundation will be built upon have been thoroughly researched and peer reviewed.
The multi-layer protocol is a great idea and should improve upon the scalability of blockchain platforms that came before it. But as we stated in the risk section above a lot of the principles and ideas that will govern the development of this platform are untested.
If you are investing in ADA you must believe that the team that is developing the project will make some huge breakthroughs in the space. You are not investing in a mature or even reasonably tested network. An investment in Cardano, like many crypto investments at this point in time, is a long-term investment.