Cardano: Pros and Cons

Cardano saw a lot of hype upon its release last year.

The kind of hype that often accompanies pump and dump schemes, or coins that generally don’t have much substance behind them.

Now that some time has passed and the initial excitement has waned. I think it’s a good time to revisit why people got excited about this one, check out how the development is progressing, and also get a better grasp on what kind of realistic expectations one should have looking forward.

View this information in video form here:

Here are some quick specs on Cardano that I want to be sure to cover, because I’m going to get into some deeper topics with this one, so before I do, here are some cliff notes on what Cardano is all about:

  • Fully open source
  • Code was written from scratch in the Haskell programming language.
  • Founded by Charles Hoskinson and Jeremy Wood (you may remember these guys from Ethereum.)
  • Over 30 developers working on Cardano
  • Building a platform for smart contracts that can handle enterprise level usage
  • Proof of Stake mechanism they developed called OUROBOROS.
  • The wallet, DAEDALUS will one day accommodate staking as well as cross chain interoperability and crypto to fiat transactions.
  • Maximum supply of 45 billion ADA coins.
  • IOHK, or Input Output Hong Kong has been contracted to design, develop and maintain the Cardano platform until the year 2020, what happens after that will be interesting to see.
  • Cardano is designed so transactions and data are on two separate layers.
  • There will be a transaction layer, which they are calling the Cardano Settlement Layer (CSL).
  • There will also be a control, or computational layer, which they are calling the Cardano Control Layer (CCL).

This separation is what will allow Cardano to implement soft forks and effectively avoid damaging hard forks which can lead the community to split.

A couple months ago, at the end of May they released the first of many test networks. This one is the KEVM testnet. Now you can play around with any smart contract that runs on the Ethereum Virtual Machine with this variation of the EVM that is written in the language K.

I know that I breezed by a lot of information, much of which has a whole lot of interested aspects and details to learn about.

If you want to learn more about any of these aspects of Cardano, please check out the links I’ve provided at the endof this post.

Cardano hit the crypto scene with promises of legitimising cryptocurrency and smart contracts by way of rigid peer review accomplished by expert engineers and researchers.

(You might remember it as being advertised as another “Ethereum Killer” but that’s besides the point).
This type of adherence to academic discipline is practiced by those working to develop the Cardano platform because they see the need to create an ecosystem that is reliable, sustainable and scalable.
They see the best way to accomplish this is by adhering to strict methods of development that requires all code to be thoroughly examined and tested before being released.

Cardano also wants to appeal to those who value privacy by building features that will facilitate private transactions.They can easily accomplish this because the programming language of Cardano facilitates privacy features like zkSNARKs.
This is particularly interesting because at the same time, this platform also values the ability to work with regulators and sees that as an opportunity to more easily reach the masses.

Talk about concepts that carry some hefty pros and cons. Let’s examine this shall we?

First, let’s address how Cardano is being developed.
The cryptocurrency space is extremely fast-paced. We’ve become accustomed to these insane ICOs that raise millions of dollars in minutes, we’ve seen new Bitcoin forks pop up out of nowhere, we’ve seen cryptocurrencies pump and dump in a matter of days. If you step away from this space for even a week, chances are you will have missed out on some kind of new drama and or invention.

This cryptocurrency space is also full of individuals who are self-taught, independent thinkers, and many of whom reject the world of academia altogether. For them, perhaps this emphasis on academic standards isn’t quite as impressive. Perhaps it’s instead an example of trying to fit the “old world” into this new wave of free information, financial freedom and innovation, and for some, there’s just no room for it.

Here’s what I’m getting at, Cardano is very proud and vocal about its roots in academia, so much so that they’ve made it a cornerstone for how the development will take place for the entire platform.

No doubt, there are benefits to this which include:

  • code that has been created from scratch
  • written in a programming language that can facilitate large scale applications all while maintaining a level of security that is appropriate for securing funds
  • has been thoroughly examined by great minds.

All of this sounds epic, and exactly what a cryptocurrency should strive for in order to achieve a great reputation and also see mass adoption.

But there is one drawback: time.

As I’ve explained earlier, the speed at which this cryptocurrency space has developed is almost dizzying. I’m sure this can be attributed to the competition among the different projects, the expectations of investors, and also just the overall expectations of us as individuals in an age of increasing technological advancements.
Throw in a cryptocurrency that is trying to bring the best of both worlds and something’s gotta give.
If you’re not sure what this is yet for Cardano, it’s easy to find in many of the recent publications. That’s the reminder that Cardano will take time to develop, it is a long-term investment at this point.

For some, this might be a bit scary. Not only will you have to wait and see if the development will actually come to fruition, but also, will the updates and new releases come in time? Will Cardano still be relevant in two years from now? Will there be a “Cardano Killer” to come on the scene that finds a faster way to follow through?

These are worries that can only be appeased by your own due diligence and research into the team, their philosophy and how they’ve proven themselves thus far.
On the other hand, we’ve seen many crypto projects that have been hastily assembled, that have released improperly tested code, and that have been unable to follow through.

Perhaps it’s time we remember that good things come to those who wait.

I also mentioned earlier that Cardano wants to address two hot topics: privacy and regulations, by address, I mean they want to appeal to both.

How this is possible, I’m not quite sure.
In my opinion it definitely seems these two are quite conflicting since regulations have so far been synonymous with identification. Judging from the past, more often than not, projects tend to get pinched by the interests of governments and sway in their favour rather than prioritising privacy for their users. Maybe Cardano will be different? I sure hope so.

Additional Reading/Sources/Links:

Cardano Homepage
Charles Hoskinson White Board Talk on ADA
How to Be Safe Online
Deep Dive into ADA
Cardano Protocol
Staking Reward Era
Cardano Reddit
Cardano Monetary Policy
Cardano in China
Cardano Faucet