While Bitcoin may steal all the headlines in mainstream media when it comes to cryptocurrencies, there is a huge market for this developing technology of which Bitcoin is just one constituent part. In fact, there are over 4,000 cryptocurrencies in circulation today, compared to just a handful as recently as 2013.
Of course, with so much competition out there, each cryptocurrency and the blockchain supporting it must try and differentiate itself from its rivals and prove it is the thinking man’s choice for future investment. Cardano is one such exciting option, with a whole host of USPs and benefits that make it attractive to prospective buyers. Here’s a rundown of its four primary advantages over the competition.
Scalability, which relates to the number of transactions that a blockchain can process per second, is one of the most important factors in the success of a cryptocurrency. Some older cryptocurrencies are crippled by their poor scalability, with market leader Bitcoin capable of just seven transactions a second and Ethereum performing not much better at 15 transactions per second.
Cardano, by contrast, has refined the technology which makes up its blockchain to the point that it is capable of handling many thousands of transactions per second, making it incredibly more scalable than either of the aforementioned established cryptocurrencies.
Dual layer functionality
Another way in which Cardano differs from other options on the market is by splitting its blockchain functions into two layers. The settlement layer – which is common to many cryptocurrencies – allows for one party to send ADA coins to another with the minimum of fuss. It has also been improved to allow for greater adaptability in the settlement layer from nation to nation and jurisdiction to jurisdiction.
However, the real boon of the dual layer functionality offered by Cardano lies in its second, computational layer. Although still in development, this promises to allow users to enter into smart contracts which automatically transfer funds upon the satisfaction of certain criteria, thus negating the need for a third party.
Those unfamiliar with the world of cryptocurrency might not realise just how much energy goes into sustaining its complex network of blockchain commands and transactions. Traditionally, cryptocurrency transactions have been verified via the use of computing power, which can exhaust resources in an inefficient manner. Indeed, in 2017 it was revealed that Bitcoin transaction validations consumed more energy than the entire country of Ireland!
Cardano does things a little differently. Instead of using computing power to verify a transaction, it uses a proof-of-stake concept which involves so-called “validators” freezing a portion of their own assets, then validating the transaction and receiving a reward for doing so. This is a far more efficient way of doing things, which not only means that processing costs are kept to a minimum, but that the impact on the environment is already greatly reduced.
Proof-of-stake systems are already in place in other cryptocurrencies, but Cardano claims that its “Ouroboros protocol” is unique in how validators are selected. This mechanism chooses validators at random, ensuring that everyone has as much chance of earning a reward as anyone else. This, its creators say, separates it from other cryptocurrencies, which are not as impartial or as equalitarian.
Sometimes referred to as the “Honest Majority” principle, this protocol operates upon the idea that those with a big stake in Cardano will have a vested interest in keeping it secure and trustworthy. That’s a huge draw for users who wish to take advantage of a blockchain that’s decentralised, transparent and fair for all who contribute.
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