Cardano is a decentralized blockchain platform built with the proof-of-stake (PoS)  consensus protocol using the native cryptocurrency ADA.

The relationship between ADA and Cardano (the blockchain) is similar to how ether is the native cryptocurrency running on the Ethereum blockchain.

Cardano operates as a public blockchain, it’s open-source, and it was developed to overcome the shortcomings of Bitcoin and Ethereum, mainly lack of speed and flexibility on Bitcoin’s part, and lack of scalability on Ethereum’s.

Charles Hoskinson, the co-founder of Ethereum, started developing the platform in 2015 after leaving the Ethereum project.

Hoskinson and Ethereum co-founder Vitalik Buterin had a disagreement about accepting venture capital from outside investors in the early days of Ethereum.

Hoskinson, at the time, was the head of the Ethereum Foundation and suggest that it be run as a for-profit organization. Buterin was against the idea and wanted to keep Ethereum open-source.  The community was also behind Buterins position.

Hoskinson ultimately lost out and was forced to exit Ethereum.

In 2015, Hoskinson teamed up with the Input Output Hong Kong (IOHK) project, which was designing a scalable and secure blockchain for academic institutions, corporations, and government agencies.

The project was focused on creating an Ethereum clone centered around commerce, compliance, and computation for the Japanese market.

The project broadened its vision and opened up to the global market.

Cardano’s primary selling point early on was its proof-of-stake (PoS) consensus at a time when both Bitcoin and Ethereum were using proof-of-work (PoW).

PoS was designed to be more energy efficient than PoW, with PoS leveraging a staking model while PoW leveraged a computing power model.

PoS is what validates transactions and mints new ADA on the Cardano blockchain.

in 2021, with the launch of the Alonzo mainnet, Cardano finally introduced smart contract capabilities, putting to bed criticism that Hoskinson and Cardano developers were never going to release any new features.

The release of the Alonza hard fork and the introduction of smart contract development and creation will usher in a future with native decentralized applications (DApps) being built on the blockchain.

ADA is a 10 top cryptocurrency by market capitalization, with a $15 billion mcap in August 2022.

ADA has a max supply of 45 billion ADA, with a circulating supply of 33 billion ADA