Cardano’s primary innovation is its mission to be the first blockchain network developed via evidence-based methods and founded on the pillars of peer-reviewed research. Sometimes referred to as a “professor-coin,” it is regarded as being the most research and theory-focused blockchain in today’s ecosystem.
There are currently 90 white papers supporting the development of Cardano, as compared to the fewer than five developed for the majority of blockchain protocols. A foundation built on scientific methods and research are crucial in supporting Cardano’s focus on providing security and sustainability via mathematically proven consensus mechanisms.
mathematical backing for its security. Ouroboros is considered secure as long as 51% of the stake is controlled by entities who are not misbehaving, as opposed to the 67% control required by the majority of proof of stake protocols. Block validation within Ouroboros is more akin to that of proof of work blockchains than that of the most common proof of stake protocols. Ouroboros uses probabilistic finality, making reorganization possible due to the blocks being added canonically as opposed to validators finalizing the blocks as they are produced. In its final implementation Ouroboros is expected to enable near-instant finality via an improvement called Hydra.
The state of Cardano now utilizes Extended UTXO (eUTXO) to simplify smart contract use by splitting smart contract execution into multiple transactions. It doesn't only utilize the UTXO (unspent transaction output) model, a Bitcoin innovation, that is used by all but a handful of blockchains, to maintain the blockchain’s state. This is unique from other smart contract blockchains, such as Ethereum, which generally tend to utilize account-based models.
Cardano’s plan to utilize eUTXO, in addition to those aspects of its block validation that resemble the functionality of proof of work protocols, are two aspects of Cardano that were specifically developed to mirror the simplicity of proof of work protocols while capturing the incentivized participation, scalability, and resource usage benefits of proof of stake models.
The main participants in the Cardano network are core nodes and relay nodes, which together comprise a stake pool.
To be continued...
Charles Hoskinson is a Colorado-based technology entrepreneur and mathematician. He attended Metropolitan State University of Denver and University of Colorado Boulder to study analytic number theory before moving into cryptography through industry exposure.
His professional experience includes founding three cryptocurrency-related start-ups – Invictus Innovations, Ethereum and IOHK – and he has held a variety of posts in both the public and private sectors. He was the founding chairman of the Bitcoin Foundation’s education committee and established the Cryptocurrency Research Group in 2013.
His current projects focus on educating people about cryptocurrency, being an evangelist for decentralization and making cryptographic tools easier to use for the mainstream. This includes leading the research, design and development of Cardano, a third-generation cryptocurrency that launched in September 2017.
There is no on-chain governance in the current phase of Cardano (Shelley). The Voltaire phase of Cardano’s launch will focus on proposing, experimenting with, and implementing a decentralized governance model for the protocol to set a voting and treasury system.
Cardano Improvement Proposals (CIPs) are one of the first implementations of off-chain governance for Cardano. CIPs are led by the Cardano Foundation, which was founded with the mission of overseeing and supervising the advancement of Cardano and is focused on core development and ecosystem growth for the protocol. To be continued...