In depth Overview of Cardano

A new generation in smart contract platform design



  1. Introduction
  2. Technology
  3. Web3 Ecosystem
  4. Network Growth & Adoption
  5. Conclusion


Cardano initially took on notoriety among a class of ICO-craze-driven projects in 2017 following the network’s launch. While the ICO-wave gained infamy from the number of overpriced assets that ultimately disappeared into crypto dust, Cardano finds itself among a subset of ICO Warriors that persisted the treacherous perils of a dark and quiet crypto winter — bloody, beaten, yet hungry for more. With Cardano’s Shelley hard fork in July 2020, a long 3 years after the blockchain’s launch, the project regained life, seeing a momentous surge to hold a strong position in the top 5 crypto assets by market capitalization for much of 2021. While the blockchain space is seemingly saturated with Layer-1 (L1) smart contract platforms, Cardano’s approach and philosophy is quite unique relative to its L1 peers, which may give Cardano a competitive edge if developments prove to be successful. Importantly, Cardano is very much a value-driven project, emphasizing community governance, academic peer-review, and the importance of high assurance programming. Cardano’s values have noticeably directed the project’s developments and design decisions, and as a result, the blockchain looks like it has been designed with the purpose and standards of providing decentralized, global, financial infrastructure rather than only focusing on providing a Web3 experience. This could be a driving factor behind why Cardano won a recent poll by Ethereum founder, Vitalik Buterin, which asked his followers which currency they preferred to support the global financial system in 2035.1 Ultimately Cardano’s design and values have earned it a few notable government partnerships as well as a strategic collaboration with DISH Network

That being said, some of Cardano’s design decisions have also come at the cost of extended development times and launch dates, a potential threat to the network’s adoption as the demand for Web3 is here and now, and users are willing to sacrifice values of decentralization and safety for the financial opportunities introduced by DeFi…