Cardano is a decentralized public blockchain and cryptocurrency project that is fully open source and provides a platform for payments, smart contracts and decentralized applications (DApps). Designed and built by a team of engineers and academics in 2015, Cardano utilizes Ouroboros, a proof of stake algorithm based on the Haskell programming language that seeks to provide a provably secure protocol. Using an approach centred around scientific philosophy and research, Cardano’s protocol is built on two layers, one for handling transactions and the balance ledger (Cardano Settlement Layer), and one for decentralized apps and smart contracts (Cardano Computation Layer). The protocol is fully open source and immutable in its present form, but it is being developed in a manner that will seek to create a DAO (decentralized autonomous organization) in order to add mutability, consumer protection, and arbitration. This is done with the aim of protecting the rights of users while providing a form of accountability.
Ada (ADA), Cardano’s cryptocurrency, was designed as a form of digital cash as opposed to a token merely for use in blockchain transactions. Cardano plans to update their blockchain to allow third parties to create tokens which will lead to a fully autonomous system.