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$ADA: Crypto Exchange Kraken Calls Cardano and “ICO Warrior” and Praises Its “Design and Values”

This article looks at highlights from a recently-released comprehensive report on layer one blockchain Cardano ($ADA) by Kraken Intelligence, the research arm of crypto exchange Kraken.

Kraken’s 42-page highly impressive research report, which is titled “Cardano: A new generation in smart contract platform design”, was released a couple of days ago. After the introduction, the report examines Technology, Web3 Ecosystem, and Network Growth & Adoption.

Here are some key highlights from Kraken’s report:

  • Cardano initially took on notoriety among a class of ICO-craze-driven projects in 2017 following the network’s launch. While the ICO-wave gained infamy from the number of overpriced assets that ultimately disappeared into crypto dust, Cardano finds itself among a subset of ICO Warriors that persisted the treacherous perils of a dark and quiet crypto winter — bloody, beaten, yet hungry for more.
  • While the blockchain space is seemingly saturated with Layer-1 (L1) smart contract platforms, Cardano’s approach and philosophy is quite unique relative to its L1 peers, which may give Cardano a competitive edge if developments prove to be successful.
  • Importantly, Cardano is very much a value-driven project, emphasizing community governance, academic peer-review, and the importance of high assurance programming.
  • Cardano’s values have noticeably directed the project’s developments and design decisions, and as a result, the blockchain looks like it has been designed with the purpose and standards of providing decentralized, global, financial infrastructure rather than only focusing on providing a Web experience.
  • With ambitious goals, Cardano recognizes the necessity for their infrastructure to run correctly the first time it runs. This is in contrast to a ‘launch now, fix as we go’ philosophy employed by many Silicon Valley development teams.
  • Ironically, despite the ‘Ethereum Killer’ label, Cardano is actually far more reminiscent of Bitcoin, particularly with respect to its tokenomics, consensus protocol, and accounting style.
  • The tokenomics of Cardano’s cryptocurrency, ADA, were intended to mimic those of Bitcoin with the adoption of a maximum supply such that no more than 45 billion ADA will ever exist. Similar to Bitcoin, the rate at which new ADA is minted decreases over time such that the circulating supply (currently 33.2 billion ADA) asymptotically approaches the maximum supply…
  • Cardano’s design is fundamentally unique among most of its peers particularly as its design closely reflects a PoS-based, smart contract-enabled version of Bitcoin, due to the design of its base protocol and accounting model, rather than an iteration on Ethereum.
  • Key technical features that distinguish Cardano from its L1 peers are its base protocol Ouroboros and its secure delegator-friendly design, the Extended Unspent Transaction Output (EUTXO) accounting model, the project’s Haskell base, unique Layer-2 (L2) solutions, and community focus.
  • One feature of Cardano that makes it incredibly unique to most other smart contract platforms is its accounting model, which refers to the way transactions are handled and how wallet/account balances are maintained and updated. There are two common approaches in blockchain accounting design, each with their own costs and benefits. Firstly, the Unspent Transaction Output (UTXO) model made popular by Bitcoin, and secondly the Account-based model made popular by Ethereum and used in other networks such as Solana, Polkadot, and Algorand.
Source: Kraken Intelligence
  • For Cardano, the team at lOG was drawn by the UTXO model’s features and benefits, but they also wanted to retain Ethereum’s programmable smart contract functionality. Therefore, Cardano implements the Extended UTXO (EUTXO) model which is an extension of Bitcoin’s UTXO model that facilitates the use of smart contracts.
  • In a traditional UTO model, the outputs of a transaction contain a value (e.g. the amount of BTC) and an address (i.e. address of the owner). The EUTXO model extends this model by enabling the addition of metadata and scripts (smart contracts).
  • … Cardano adopted Haskell in an effort to build a product with unmatched advantages in reliability and security and to position itself as a viable solution for institutional-grade, global financial infrastructure.
  • Cardano-based non-fungible tokens (CNFTs) have been live on Cardano since the Mary hard fork event in March 2021. CNFTs are similar to NTS on Ethereum, but they differ in that CNFTs are native tokens while Ethereum NFTS are embedded in smart contracts (ERC- 721 and ERC-1155 tokens). As a result, CNPTs operate more effiçiently than Ethereum- based NFTS.
  • Cardano saw a massive uptick in adoption starting late 2020 and throughout the course of 2021… Cardano underwent exponential growth in nearly every adoption metric listed, both on-chain and off-chain. There are now nearly 3 million wallets (1348% annual growth) on the network and over I million delegated wallets (870% annual growth).
Source: Kraken Intelligence
  • As the on-chain and off-chain data suggest, Cardano saw a massive increase in adoption as well as a corresponding uptick in price. While its price action and adoption is often attributed to retail interest, the project also garnered the interest of commercial and governmental institutions.
  • With roots as early as 2015, the project has persisted through treacherous markets and development hiccups to ultimately position itself as a major contender in a competitive space of Li smart contract protocols.
  • Last year saw the emergence of a large number of L1s flood the industry, but Cardano’s unique combination of features including its Ouroboros protocol which combines PoS with Nakamoto-style consensus, EUTXO model, Haskell base, community focus, delegator-friendly design, and Bitcoin-like tokenomics distinguishes it amongst its peers.
  • Looking forward, much of the excitement surrounding Cardano is predicated on the continued rollout of dApps, and much of IOG’s effort in 2022 is focused on improving the scaling and performance of the network, as well as rolling out supporting infrastructure for developers. In particular, Hydra is expected to be partially implemented and usable to enable micro transactions. Also, a beta mainnet release of Milkomeda is expected to go live, providing Cardano with EVM capabilities. If all goes well, 2022 could prove to be an exciting year for this ICO Warrior.

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