Last updated 19/07/2021
Official website: https://cardano.org/
Cardano is a decentralised, open-sourced, public blockchain and cryptocurrency project. Cardano is developing a smart contract platform which aims to provide more advanced features than any protocol previously created. It is the first blockchain platform to grow out of a scientific philosophy and a research-first driven approach. Based on peer-reviewed academic research, Cardano’s ethos is one of openness and transparency. All the research and technical specifications that support Cardano are published with public access, and all their development is made available to the public. The global team of experts who design Cardano are leaders in disciplines ranging from distributed systems to programming languages and game theory and is jointly developed by IOHK and partners. Cardano is Proof-of-Stake based and aims to be the most sustainable, secure and transparent blockchain network.
Cardano has three organisations that are contributing to the its development. Firstly, there is the Cardano Foundation, an independent standards body based in Switzerland with core responsibilities to support the community of Cardano users and to work with authorities on regulatory and commercial matters. The second organisation working on Cardano is IOHK, a leading cryptocurrency technology and engineering company that builds cryptocurrencies and blockchains for academic institutions, enterprise, and government entities. And lastly Emurgo, who invest in start-ups and assist in commercial ventures to build on the Cardano blockchain.
The Cardano Roadmap is an overview of Cardano’s development. They have organized it into five eras: Byron, Shelley, Goguen, Basho, and Voltaire. Each era is centred around a set of functionalities that will be provided across various code releases.
While the eras of Cardano will be released consecutively, the work done for each era will occur in parallel, with research, prototyping, and development of each other. You may find their detailed road map here.
Byron - Foundation (2017)
The first version of Cardano allowed users to Buy and Sell the ADA cryptocurrency – named after the revolutionary programmer Ada Lovelace – on a federated network running the groundbreaking Ouroboros consensus protocol. The Byron era also saw the delivery of the Daedalus wallet, the official desktop wallet for ADA developed by IOHK, as well as Yoroi, a light wallet that was developed by IOHK's sister company Emurgo which was designed for quick transactions and easy day-to-day use.
Shelley - Decentralization (2017/18)
The Shelley era includes the important step in Cardano’s journey to optimize decentralization. These will be steady steps, but of great significance. During the Byron era, the network was federated but as the Shelley era evolves more and more, nodes will move more towards being managed by the Cardano community. Once the bulk of the nodes are run by network participants, Cardano will be more decentralized and enjoy superior security and vigor as a result.
Goguen - Smart contracts (2018/19)
The work for Goguen has been under way in parallel with Shelley. When complete, it will allow users from technical and non-technical backgrounds to make and execute functional smart contracts on the Cardano network. The Goguen era also encompasses work to make Cardano accessible to wider audiences via Marlowe, allowing financial and business experts with no previous technical knowledge to make smart contracts.
Basho - Scaling (2019/20)
The Basho era of Cardano is an era of optimization, improving the scalability and interoperability of the network. One of the core developments of Basho is the introduction of sidechains; new blockchains, interoperable with most of the Cardano chain, with immense potential to increase the capabilities of the network.
Voltaire - Governance (2020 onwards)
The Voltaire era of Cardano will provide the final pieces required for the Cardano network to become a self-sustaining system. For the Cardano network to become genuinely decentralized, it will need not only the distributed infrastructure pioneered during the Shelley era but also the capacity to be maintained and enhanced over time in a decentralized way.
Daedalus is a full node wallet, which will allow you to store ADA, the cryptocurrency native to the Cardano blockchain. Daedalus is a Hierarchical Deterministic (HD) wallet, allowing you to create an infinite set of keys from a single seed (we call the seed the 12-word Daedalus wallet recovery phrase). When you want to relocate your Daedalus wallet or open it on a separate device, you will only need to enter your 12-word Daedalus wallet recovery phrase and the HD algorithm will find all your ADA. This means worrying about managing lots of 12-word Daedalus wallet recovery phrases is something you will not have to do.
If you are new to Crypto and are looking to Buy Cardano (ADA), Exodus is a good wallet to consider. BC Bitcoin have produced a many helpful wallet guides to help you set up and use various wallets. Always conduct your due diligence and research into any platform or service you are looking to use.
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Cardano Documents: https://docs.cardano.org/
Block Explorer: https://cardanoscan.io/
Disclaimer: The information provided in this article is intended for informational purposes only. It is the readers responsibility to complete their own research and due diligence.