What Is Cardano (ADA)? How Does It Work?

Written by BTSE

December 21, 2022

Before You Invest: Cardano (ADA)

Cardano is a proof-of-stake blockchain that was created as a network that is more efficient than proof-of-work alternatives. It is specifically cast as an alternative to Ethereum as both networks utilize smart contracts and have the stated objective of being the foundation of a decentralized system. Cardano’s token, ADA, is its ecosystem’s native cryptocurrency. 

The platform is named after Gerolamo Cardano, a 16th-century Italian mathematician who discovered some of the fundamental theorems in the field of probability and algebra. ADA takes its name from Ada Lovelace, who is often described as the first computer programmer. 

Here is a detailed rundown of everything you need to know about the ADA token, which can be bought and sold using BTSE’s exchange.


What is Cardano (ADA)?

Like ETH, the Ethereum network’s native cryptocurrency, ADA can be used for validator staking and is paid out as rewards for validating transactions. It is also used for paying transaction fees on the Cardano network, and can be used to send and receive payments.

ADA’s supply is capped at 45 billion tokens, 35 billion of which were in circulation as of mid-November 2022.


What can Cardano (ADA) Do?

Cardano is described by its creators as a “third-generation” platform — this is meant to cast it as the next step beyond Ethereum’s “second-generation” status. With ADA being Cardano’s cryptocurrency, and with Cardano being a proof-of-stake network, ADA is an important instrument in the staking system that keeps the network operational.

ADA holders can stake their tokens to run a node and participate in Cardano’s proof-of-stake system. The quantity of ADA tokens staked on a node represents a participant’s pledge; this stake is a guarantee for a cut in transaction fees that are issued to stakers as rewards for validating transactions and updating Cardano’s open ledger.

Holders of ADA can join stake pools to aggregate their tokens in the same node. In fact, the Cardano team encourages this so that anyone can “contribute to the decentralization of the Cardano network.” This path means ADA holders can still glean rewards without owning large quantities of the token — there is no minimum requirement for the amount that is pledged. Rewards for individuals are determined by how much ADA they have staked.


Who founded Cardano (ADA)?

Cardano was developed by Charles Hoskinson. Development began in 2015, with the platform launching two years later.

Before he developed Cardano, Hoskinson was the founder of an advocacy group called the Bitcoin Education Project, and then became a co-founder of Ethereum in 2013 along with three other individuals and Vitalik Buterin. At Ethereum, he held the CEO position, but was removed from the team in 2014 as his view that Ethereum should be commercialized was in conflict with Buterin’s goal to retain the project’s nonprofit status.

This led to the seeds of Cardano. Hoskinson linked up with Jeremy Wood, a former colleague at Ethereum, in late 2014. Together, they formed a company known as IOHK (Input Output Hong Kong), which had Cardano as its banner project. 

Notably, Hoskinson has kept venture capital investments away from Cardano, opting to retain its public and decentralized nature as much as possible. 


What is the Cardano NFT marketplace? 

In 2021, Cardano implemented smart contract support, making it possible to create non-fungible tokens (NFTs) and manage multiple assets on the network. As of late October 2022, Cardano was the third largest NFT protocol by trading volume, behind Ethereum and Solana.

There are multiple marketplaces for prospective buyers who may be interested in acquiring NFTs that were minted on the Cardano network. The largest and most popular is JPG Store, which consistently processes more than 90% of NFT marketplace trading on Cardano. 

Other marketplaces include Epoch.art and CNFT.io. There are even more marketplaces, although their trading volumes remain extremely low.

Just like NFT creators who choose to offer their work on Ethereum and Solana, those who utilize Cardano create media that span genres, including fine art, illustrations, photography, music, and collectibles. There are Web3 games that utilize NFTs as well.


What is the Cardano ecosystem?

Cardano was built with two layers — a Settlement Layer and a Computation Layer — to separate any given transaction’s value from its computational data. As their names imply, the Settlement Layer enables users to send and receive tokens of value, while the Computation Layer gives developers a way to implement protocols such as smart contracts. 

A variety of platforms have been built on Cardano, including lending protocols, payment channels, NFT marketplaces, blockchain-based games, and decentralized exchanges.


Where and how to buy Cardano (ADA)?

The ADA token is listed on the world’s top cryptocurrency exchanges, including BTSE and its wider ecosystem of 10+ white-label exchanges that its infrastructure powers.

Swapping for ADA on BTSE’s exchange is an easy 5-step process:

  1. Log in to your personal account on BTSE. If you do not have a BTSE account, you can register here.
  2. In the “Spot” section, choose “ADA” as one element of your trading pair.
  3. Choose the other element in the trading pair — you can define the stablecoin, fiat currency, or cryptocurrency that best fits your trading strategy.
  4. Select the type of order you want to place — limit or market — then enter the amount of ADA you want to buy.
  5. Click “Buy Order.”

And then you’re done! Your new ADA token balance will be displayed in your wallet.


Final thoughts

While Cardano bills itself as an iteration beyond Ethereum, the total value locked on the network remains much lower than that of its main competitor.

Even though Cardano is the third largest network for NFT trading volume, it was a mere 7.5% of Ethereum’s and less than half of Solana’s in late October 2022. 

Cardano is still a fledgling ecosystem. It has plenty of space for further growth, and ADA remains one of the top 10 cryptocurrencies in terms of market capitalization, making it a token that is worth keeping track of.


You may also be interested in:


Any data, text, or other content on this page is provided as general market information and not as investment or financial advice. Past performance is not necessarily an indicator of future results.


Our aim is to create a platform that offers users the most enjoyable trading experience. If you have any feedback, please reach out to us at feedback@btse.com or on Twitter @BTSE_Official.

Note: BTSE Blog contents are intended solely to provide varying insights and perspectives. Unless otherwise noted, they do not represent the views of BTSE and should in no way be treated as investment advice. Markets are volatile, and trading brings rewards and risks. Trade with caution.

Related Articles

Stay Informed with BTSE

Join Our Newsletter

Never miss a beat with the latest updates and industry insights from BTSE.

Follow Us

Join our rapidly growing community and exclusive events!