Cardano has been in the market since 2017 and, in that time, has undergone massive iterations to realize its goal of decentralizing the internet.
This guide will consider whether the Cardano blockchain is functional and whether users can take advantage of all the features that its core developers are creating.
Does Cardano Have A Working Product?
Cardano has a working product. The blockchain network was launched as a third-generation blockchain to fuse the functionalities of Bitcoin and Ethereum in a two-layer network:
- Cardano Settlement Layer (CSL)
- Cardano Computational Layer (CCL)
The CSL layer enables value transfer the same way that Bitcoin does, allowing users to send and receive funds sans an intermediary.
The computational layer hosts smart contract capabilities as Ethereum does.
Smart contracts are programmable statements that self-execute once a set of conditions are fulfilled. These smart contracts are also known as decentralized applications (dApps).
Together, the settlement and the computational layers form the entire Cardano blockchain. But are both of these layers accessible to the general public?
The short answer is no, not yet!
When Cardano launched in 2017, its core developer IOHK (Input Output Hong Kong), released a roadmap.
According to this roadmap, the Cardano features were scheduled to be released in five phases which are:
- Foundation (Byron era)
- Decentralization (Shelley era)
- Smart Contracts (Goguen era)
- Scaling (Basho era)
- Governance (Voltaire era)
Each phase represents a fundamental feature.
Although not all the features are complete, Cardano is functional. Its settlement layer is accessible, and the blockchain supports value transfer requests. Anyone can send and receive ADA, the native token for the Cardano blockchain.
Currently, the core developers are working on releasing smart contract functionality (i.e., Goguen era), whose testnet they released in 2021.
Following this testing, the functionality is expected to be ported over to the mainnet allowing the community to build dApps that run on Cardano.
What will Cardano be used for?
So far, Cardano can be used as a digital peer-to-peer payments solution through its settlement layer.
According to the core devs, Cardano supports many applications thanks to its forthcoming computation layer, which will enable smart contract functionality.
When the computation layer is activated on Cardano, the blockchain will host dApps with various uses, including Atala PRISM, Atala Trace, and Atala Scan.
All three of these solutions are designed by IOHK to enable easier ID and credential verification, supply chain tracking, and counter product counterfeiting, respectively.
Does Cardano have a fixed supply?
Cardano’s native blockchain token ADA is limited to a max supply of 45 Billion, all of which were pre-mined during the 2015-2017 launch period.
Out of these 45 Billion tokens, 16% were allocated to the founders and team members, while the remaining 84% were distributed amongst investors.
The blockchain won’t release any additional tokens, and neither does it engage in burning coins; therefore, ADA is neither a deflationary nor inflationary token.
Is Cardano better than Ethereum?
Cardano can be a better blockchain than Ethereum in some areas. These include:
- Eco-friendliness. Cardano’s network is much more energy-efficient because it uses a staking consensus mechanism called Ouroborus;
- Transaction costs. It is cheaper to transact on the Cardano blockchain than it is on Ethereum;
- Scalability. Transactions settle much faster on Cardano than they do on Ethereum also due to the use of Ouroboros consensus mechanism compared to Ethereum’s Proof of Work (PoW) mining.
Ethereum’s developers are currently upgrading the Ethereum network to start using staking as a consensus mechanism instead of mining. Once this upgrade is fully installed, Cardano might lose its edge against Ethereum.
Does Cardano burn coins, and why?
Cardano blockchain does not burn its ADA tokens. There have always been 45 Billion ADA coins which represent the maximum supply of this asset.
Currently, there are about 32 Billion of these tokens in circulation, meaning they can be bought, sold, and exchanged on trading platforms.
The rest of the tokens are held in either treasury accounts controlled by the Cardano Foundation or locked in some other form.
What are the best alternative coins to ADA?
Cardano’s ADA token has several alternatives in the crypto marketplace. They can be grouped into various categories depending on their usage.
Here are a few of these alternatives:
Best smart contract network alternative coins:
- Ethereum (ETH)
- Solana (SOL)
- Tron (TRX)
- Polkadot (DOT)
Best staking alternative coins:
- Ethereum 2.0 (ETH2)
- Solana (SOL)
- Avalanche (AVAX)
- Algorand (ALGO)
- Polygon (MATIC)
Cardano is one of the leading cryptocurrencies by market capitalization, despite not having fully launched its main product – smart contract functionality.
However, it still offers something to its users, such as enabling them to send and receive payments across the internet in a peer-to-peer manner without the help of trusted intermediaries.