Bitcoin is the first successful internet money based on peer-to-peer technology; whereby no central bank or authority is involved in the transaction and production of the Bitcoin currency. It was created by an anonymous individual/group under the name, Satoshi Nakamoto. The source code is available publicly as an open source project, anybody can look at it and be part of the developmental process. Bitcoin is changing the way we see money as we speak. The idea was to produce a means of exchange, independent of any central authority, that could be transferred electronically in a secure, verifiable and immutable way. It is a decentralized peer-to-peer internet currency making mobile payment easy, very low transaction fees, protects your identity, and it works anywhere all the time with no central authority and banks. Bitcoin is design to have only 21 million BTC ever created, thus making it a deflationary currency. Bitcoin uses the SHA-256 hashing algorithm with an average transaction confirmation time of 10 minutes. Miners today are mining Bitcoin using ASIC chip dedicated to only mining Bitcoin, and the hash rate has shot up to peta hashes. Being the first successful online cryptography currency, Bitcoin has inspired other alternative currencies such as Litecoin, Peercoin, Primecoin, and so on. The cryptocurrency then took off with the innovation of the turing-complete smart contract by Ethereum which led to the development of other amazing projects such as EOS, Tron, and even crypto-collectibles such as CryptoKitties.
Cardano is a decentralised platform that will allow complex programmable transfers of value in a secure and scalable fashion. It is one of the first blockchains to be built in the highly secure Haskell programming language. Cardano is developing a smart contract platform which seeks to deliver more advanced features than any protocol previously developed. It is the first blockchain platform to evolve out of a scientific philosophy and a research-first driven approach. The development team consists of a large global collective of expert engineers and researchers. The Cardano project is different from other blockchain projects as it openly addresses the need for regulatory oversight whilst maintaining consumer privacy and protections through an innovative software architecture. The protocol features a layered blockchain software stack that is flexible, scalable, and is being developed with the most rigorous academic and commercial software standards in the industry. Cardano will use a democratic governance system that allows the project to evolve over time, and fund itself sustainably through a visionary treasury system. Technological Innovation Cardano is the first protocol to incorporate Ouroboros, the ground breaking proof of stake algorithm. The IOHK team employed a “first-principles” approach, driven by peer-reviewed academic research to build Cardano from the ground up. The result of this collaborative effort is the first cryptocurrency to be based in Haskell code, which focuses on industrial strength product that delivers the resilience necessary for mission-critical systems, in this case, securing investment. Cardano’s multi-layer protocol performs advanced functions, and has a settlement layer that is elegantly linked to a control layer. The settlement layer will have a unit of account, while the control layer will run smart contracts and will be programmed to recognize identity, assisting compliance (and allowing blacklisting, for instance). The protocol is geared towards protecting privacy rights of users, while also taking into account the needs of regulators. In doing so, Cardano is the first protocol to balance these requirements in a nuanced and effective way, pioneering a new approach for cryptocurrencies. The system is also designed to allow upgrade through soft forks, enabling it to adapt to changing needs and evolve quickly, when required. A treasury system is also being installed that will ensure the sustainability of the protocol. Cardano is built in the spirit of collaboration by being completely open source and patent-free. Engineered for efficiency and scalability, the Cardano ecosystem will develop into the most complete cryptocurrency ever constructed. Conceptual Innovation i. Privacy and regulation The original Bitcoin blockchain was meant to be a way for individuals to transact directly and anonymously with each other outside the control of banks and governments. This guarantees privacy in financial dealings, a fundamental individual right, but full anonymity can be counterproductive. Today most blockchain projects look to further either the aims of privacy or of regulation. To be effective globally, we think our blockchain must ‘square the circle’ by finding the right mix of individual privacy protection and provision for regulatory control. ii. Governance Public, decentralized blockchain projects rely on crowd-based governance models. This allows for democratic control of the network by its participants, which is essential to building truly decentralised economies. However, if they are not carefully designed, such governance can go awry. Both the Bitcoin and Ethereum communities have experienced devastating schisms on the question of how to upgrade their networks – in Ethereum's case already causing a split. The Cardano blockchain has an airtight governance model that allow the community to democratically take clear and binding decisions. iii. Funding The Cardano blockchain has sophisticated maintenance and development needs and is able to adequately fund itself, both in terms of running costs and new investment. The Token: ADA Voucher Every blockchain project has a token of value commonly referred to as a cryptocurrency. Ada is the cryptocurrency on the Cardano blockchain. With Ada, holders can send value between friends, pay for a good or service, deposit funds on an exchange, or enter an application. To perform a transfer on the settlement layer requires you own Ada, or acquire Ada through an exchange. It will also be the native token to be used in applications built on the computation layer. The Wallet: Daedalus Each cryptocurrency requires a “wallet” to store Ada. Typically this wallet is a software application that can be installed on any computer or smartphone. Daedalus is a highly-engineered wallet with advanced security features that was developed by IOHK specifically for the Cardano blockchain and protects your assets with the most advanced cryptography. In the future, Daedalus will not only support Ada, but other cryptocurrencies such as Bitcoin, Ethereum Classic and many more. The Cardano Foundation The Cardano Foundation’s core mission is to standardise, protect and promote the Cardano Protocol technology. The Cardano Foundation acts as a supervisory and educational body for Cardano. Our mission is to: 1. Standardise, protect and promote the Cardano Protocol and its applications 2. Be a community hub offering authoritative, timely information about the technology and Cardano’s wide-ranging potential 3. Liaise and influence government and regulatory bodies, form strategic partnerships with businesses, enterprises and other open source projects and aid the creation of formal software standards for Cardano, a crucial feature for its long term success and critical in adoption and government engagement Areas of Focus: 1. Cardano Protocol - We function as an objective standards body for the Cardano protocol as it evolves over time. 2. Cardano community - We support, grow and help educate the Cardano blockchain community. 3. Cardano ecosystem - We work to expand and protect the Cardano ecosystem. This includes promoting Cardano as a platform for commercial entities and serving as an objective organization for enterprises interested in joining Cardano. 4. Serving the wider blockchain community - We aim to influence and progress the emerging commercial and legislative landscape for blockchain technology and cryptocurrencies in general. We proactively approach government and regulatory bodies and form strategic partnerships with businesses, enterprises and other open-source projects. IOHK Founded in 2015 by Charles Hoskinson and Jeremy Wood, IOHK is a world-class engineering and technology company committed to using peer-to-peer innovations to provide financial services to three billion people that don’t have them. The group is contracted to design, build, and maintain Cardano through to 2020. Emurgo Emurgo is the venture building entity in the Cardano ecosystem, its goal is to aid, integrate, and foster Cardano blockchain applications. Emurgo captures the transformative power that blockchain technology brings to the developing world. Decentralized applications built on Cardano technology, funded and supported by Emurgo, will have the potential to build groundbreaking applications. Project Road Map IOHK has now released the settlement layer. This means you can transact, trade, and purchase Ada tokens fully independently of the computation layer. The goal for the computation layer is to have a beta released by the first quarter of 2018. Once both settlement and computation layers are live, users will be able to setup a custom environment to build decentralised applications on the Cardano stack. In 2019, IOHK intends to work on Cardano’s long-term scalability and augment its capabilities. As developers, IOHK has been contracted through 2020 to make sure Cardano is being adequately maintained. The goal is to create a sustainable ecosystem that is capable of funding and supporting itself.