Cardano was launched in September 2017 by Ethereum co-founder Charles Hoskinson and has quickly become the flag-bearer of third-gen blockchains. Cardano's goal is to build a highly scalable and energy-efficient, smart contract platform. Cardano's underlying consensus mechanism is Ouroboros – an algorithm that's peer-reviewed by researchers from the University of Edinburgh, Tokyo University, and other institutions.
Cardano is maintained by IOHK and The Cardano Foundation by a team that's well-known in the community for being academics and programming experts. Cardano consistently ranks as one of the most productive projects, when it comes to dev activity. The native token of the ecosystem, ADA, is used for staking and paying transaction fees.