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|Initial release||September 29, 2017|
|Latest release||Cardano SL 1.3.1 / 16 October 2018|
|Circulating supply||c. 25.9 Billion (as of 20 June 2018[update])|
|Supply limit||45 billion|
|Exchange rate||$0.076 (as of 16 October 2018[update])|
|Market cap||$1.96 billion (as of 16 October 2018[update])|
Cardano is a distributed computing platform that runs the blockchain for the Ada cryptocurrency. Bittrex was the first exchange and Daedalus was the first cryptocurrency wallet that holds Ada and allowes transfers to other wallet addresses, but there are more to choose from now.
Cardano blockchain was created by blockchain development firm Input Output Hong Kong (IOHK) and led by Charles Hoskinson, former co-founder of BitShares, Ethereum and Ethereum Classic, and aims to run smart contracts, decentralized applications, side chains, multi-party computation, and metadata.
Coins are minted and decisions are made via a proof-of-stake algorithm called Ouroboros instead of a proof-of-work system; consensus is generated by coin-holder vote. In this protocol, slot leaders generate new blocks in the blockchain and verify the transactions. Anyone holding an Ada coin can become a slot leader.
This staking mechanism makes it unnecessary to brute force the hash code. Thus saves a significant part of the energy required by work-based systems, and allows a resource-efficient and cost-saving blockchain creation.
The Ada cryptocurrency operates on its own blockchain called the Cardano Settlement Layer (CSL). The CSL is an accounting layer and supports ledger transactions. A second layer called the Cardano Computation Layer (CCL) will support smart contracts and decentralised applications.
This multi-layer architecture allows for easier updates via soft forks than Ethereum does; in Ethereum these two layers are intertwined.
Cardano was released on September 29, 2017 under the 'Byron' bootstrap phase with the official launch in Japan.