What is Cardano (ADA)?

Cardano, ADA, and IOHK Explained

Cardano is an open sourced multi-layered blockchain-based computing platform developed by IOHK that can be used for both financial transactions and distributed computing. Cardano’s native cryptocurrency token is ADA and its platform can be used to create and run smart contracts, DApps, and more.

Essentially Cardano is an Ethereum competitor, where like Ethereum it is a decentralized and distributed platform for both settling financial transactions via a blockchain and creating and hosting distributed blockchain-based computer programs (computer programs that are collectively hosted on computers across the world using blockchain technology).

Cardano is an ambitious project that seeks to combine most of what crypto can do into a “3.0” version.

UNDERSTANDING THE TERMINOLOGYMulti-layered means different layers for different applications of the software, one for financial transactions, one for distributed computing. Blockchain is a type of database secured using cryptography that is generally distributed and decentralized. Distributed means hosted not on one central server, but on many computers by many people across the world. Decentralized means the network isn’t controlled by one entity. Smart contracts are computer programs that can execute like a contract and are recorded on a blockchain. DApps are distributed computer applications. A cryptocurrency token is a token of value that can be used for transactions inside or outside of its native network.


  1. Cardano is still being built out. If it succeeds it could be a really big deal; so far so good, but it still has to prove itself.
  2. ADA started life is an ICO.
  3. Cardano is decentralized, but it is actively worked on by IOHK. IOHK is a team of developers founded in 2015 by Charles Hoskinson and Jeremy Wood (who had both previously worked on Ethereum and have been active in the crypto space sine 2013).
  4. ADA was one of the standout new coins of 2017 with its market cap quickly rising to make it one of the top cryptos by market cap.
  5. ADA is under consideration for being added to Coinbase.

For more details, see the official pages on CardanoIOHK, and ADA.

Author: Thomas DeMichele

Thomas DeMichele has been working in the cryptocurrency information space since 2015 when CryptocurrencyFacts.com was created. He has contributed to MakerDAO, Alpha Bot (the number one crypto bot on Discord),...