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Cardano is one of the longest-running Layer 1 alternatives (i.e. the smart contract platforms that emerged after Ethereum).
Conceived in 2015 by Charles Hoskinson, one of the co-founders of Ethereum, Cardano was intended as a specifically commercial version of ETH, as well as one whose development would be shaped by academic research and peer review.
Using a custom Proof-of-Stake consensus algorithm named Ouroboros, Cardano claims to be more distributed, secure and energy efficient than Ethereum – and is the largest PoS coin by market cap.
Cardano has an upper limit of 41 billion ADA tokens, around half of which were sold to investors in the 2017 ICO, with the remainder being distributed to those staking their coins to secure the network. Like ETH, ADA is used to power dApps and pay for transaction costs on the network.
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