Learn all about Cardano nodes.

Cardano (ADA) is a third-generation Proof of Stake blockchain focusing on scalability, interoperability, and governance.

Cardano’s network was originally launched in September 2017 as a federated, permissioned blockchain where a few central entities controlled block production. These entities were founded as the core pillars supporting the growth and adoption of the Cardano ecosystem.

Input Output Global (IOG) is responsible for engineering the Cardano blockchain itself, EMURGO is the venture and commercial arm of the ecosystem, and the Cardano Foundation looks after community management and the future strength of the network itself.

Cardano Phases

The Cardano project’s development has five distinct phases before full completion.

  • Byron: Cardano’s mainnet launch phase in a federated and permissioned state. The launch of the ADA cryptocurrency.
  • Shelley: The era of decentralization and a transition to Proof of Stake, where Cardano moved from static and federated to dynamic and decentralized.
  • Goguen: The introduction of smart contracts into the network.
  • Basho: Bringing scalability and thousands of transactions per second (TPS) to the network.
  • Voltaire: The roll-out of on-chain governance to the decentralized network.

Proof of Stake Transition

In 2020, Cardano successfully transitioned to a decentralized network powered by Proof of Stake, where block production was managed by Cardano community validators.

Initially, the community produced only a percentage of the blocks, with the original entities still responsible for some block production. However, Cardano is now fully decentralized.

Cardano’s Proof of Stake is underpinned by the Ouroboros Praos consensus mechanism, a peer-reviewed Proof of Stake blockchain protocol. This paper guarantees a similar level of security as Bitcoin without the energy needed to secure the network.

Accounting Structure

Cardano’s accounting structure is based on the Unspent Transaction Output (UTxO) model. This is the same accounting model as Bitcoin.

Cardano employs a unique Extended Unspent Transaction Output (eUTxO) model to accommodate the use of smart contract scripts. This enhances Bitcoin’s original design and facilitates highly secure smart contracts.



To learn how to stake ADA (Cardano), see here.

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