Cardano was founded in 2017 by Charles Hoskinson, a co-founder of the Ethereum network. He is also the CEO of IOHK, the company that built Cardano’s blockchain. The company is named after the 16th century Italian polymath Gerolamo Cardano, and the Token ADA is named after the 19th century mathematician Ada Lovelace, who is regarded by many as the world’s first computer programmer.
Cardano is a proof-of-stake blockchain platform that says its goal is to allow “changemakers, innovators and visionaries” to bring about positive global change and “redistribute power from unaccountable structures to the margins to individuals”.
The ADA token is designed so that owners can participate in the operation of the network by giving those who hold the cryptocurrency the right to vote on any proposed changes to the software.
In August 2021, Charles Hoskinson announced the launch of the “Alonzo” hard fork and on Sept. 12, 2021, the Cardano ‘Alonzo’ hard fork officially launched, bringing smart contract functionality to the blockchain. Over 100 smart contracts were deployed in the following 24 hours after the launch.
Cardano is used by agricultural companies to track fresh produce from field to fork, while other products built on the platform allow educational credentials to be stored in a tamper-proof way, and retailers to clamp down on counterfeit goods.