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Cardano What is Cardano?

Cardano is an open-source decentralized proof-of-stake (PoS) blockchain founded in 2015 by Charles Hoskinson and launched in 2017 as a more efficient alternative to already established proof-of-work (PoW) blockchains such as Bitcoin and Ethereum.

Its primary digital currency and governance token is Ada (₳), named after XIXth century Augusta Ada King, Countess of Lovelace, regarded as the world's first computer programmer. Similar to Bitcoin's smallest division, the Satoshi, Ada's smallest division is called Lovelace, where 1 ₳ = 1,000,000 Lovelace.

Apart from its consensus protocol (a scientifically proven secure proof-of-stake protocol called Ouroboros), Cardano distinguishes itself from other blockchain technologies through its accounting model, the eUTxO, regarded as more scalable, easily verifiable, simpler and privacy-focused alternative to the commonly used account/balance model.

The continued development and network functionality is in large part attributed to an extended community of developers, scientists & engineers, working along 3 official organizations in charge of the ecosystem, engineering and business development of Cardano: The Cardano Foundation open_in_new , IOHK open_in_new & EMURGO open_in_new .

account_balance_wallet Most Popular Wallets

The Cardano wallet is a tool enabling secure interaction with the blockchain along with storage and management of digital assets. It facilitates sending & receiving tokens, signing transactions, purchasing Ada and delegating to SPOs.

There is an extended selection of wallets available, but you may start with one of the following popular options, depending on your platform of choice:

Apart from the above, other notable mentions are Daedalus open_in_new , a desktop-only wallet that comes bundled with a full Cardano node and a local independent snapshot of the entire blockchain, thus allowing its users to also contribute to the network decentralization, and Yoroi open_in_new , an open-source wallet initially released by EMURGO & IOHK. An even larger selection is available in the Cardano developer's portal showcase area open_in_new .


While most wallets allow purchasing Ada with credit/debit cards or even using Apple or Google Pay services straight in their apps through 3rd party services, probably the most common option is to get it via some of the major exchanges by either converting fiat or trading other cryptocurrencies for Ada and later withdrawing the funds to your wallet of choice.

Pretty much all reputable exchanges support Ada trading pairs with fiat, BTC, ETH or stable coins (USDT, USDC), but if you don't happen to already have an open exchange account, the following are some of the popular options:

savings Staking

Staking is an integral and fundamental part of the Cardano blockchain. Simply holding Ada and delegating it to one of the over 3,200 stake pools (as of Dec. 2022) allow you to earn perpetual rewards with no intervention or risks. Staking on Cardano is non-custodial, which means you are always in control of your funds (there is no lock-in period) allowing you to trade, withdraw or re-delegate your funds at any time, one of the reasons currently 75% of all Ada is delegated to one of the many SPOs available.

Delegation, apart from helping with network decentralization, rewards both you and the stake pool operators, so feel free to support any Cardano project of your choice by delegating to their own stake pool, or choose one based on their past performance and pool size, as showcased on platforms such as AdaPools open_in_new , open_in_new or even your wallet's delegation area.

hub DeFi Platforms

Cardano has a large selection of DeFi-related projects, ranging from DEXs, to lending platforms using digital collaterals and stable coins. Some sources, such as CardanoAssets open_in_new , estimate over 17,000 native Cardano assets in existence, while open_in_new reports a number of over 7 million fungible & non-fungible tokens having been minted on Cardano so far.

Check out some of the most interesting projects related to DeFi in the dApps & resources section, and the following popular DEX platforms for native Cardano assets trading:

portrait NFT Projects & Marketplaces

Yes, Cardano has NFTs! In fact open_in_new , one of the leading platforms tracking the Cardano NFT ecosystem, currently lists almost 8,000 individual projects accounting for an average daily trading volume of close to 1 million Ada.

There are over 15 marketplaces, both general purpose and project specific, allowing NFT trading on Cardano with the following covering over 95% of the entire transactions volume:

apps Other dApps & Resources

General Purpose
DeFi & dApps
  • TapTools open_in_new - Keep track of the performance of various Cardano native assets & your own portfolio's value
  • Genius Yield open_in_new - The all-in-one platform, that combines a concentrated liquidity DEX with an automated yield optimizer
  • Aada open_in_new - A lending and borrowing protocol built on the Cardano blockchain
  • MELD open_in_new - the first DeFi, non-custodial, banking protocol. You can securely lend & borrow both crypto and fiat currencies with ease and stake your MELD tokens for APY.

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