While some altcoins seem to be “just for fun”, others seek to do things better than BTC and ETH — be it through higher security, increased environmental friendliness, or even disrupting the accepted flow of existing financial and/or regulation systems.
Cardano (ADA) definitely falls in the latter camp. But is it possible for one cryptocurrency to achieve all of that?
Cardano (ADA)’s historical price chart
During these booms and crashes, Bitcoin (BTC) hogged up much of the spotlight. Between crypto exchange hacks, regulators seeking to modulate the cryptocurrency hype and a narcissistic billionaire wanting to manipulate Bitcoin’s price, the price of BTC was a rollercoaster ride.
We can see that Cardano (ADA) fluctuated alongside BTC, clearly caught in the torrential waves during these periods.
Even though Cardano (ADA) developers have forged interesting partnerships with Ethiopian and Tanzanian governments, all that work was unfortunately overshadowed by Bitcoin’s dominance in the cryptocurrency market.
And as an altcoin, good news directly relating to it merely mutes the fluctuations as opposed to appreciating its price.
What is Cardano (ADA) all about?
Cardano (ADA) prides itself for being open-sourced, peer-reviewed and evidence-based. Instead of designing the cryptocurrency and its following system with principles in mind such as Bitcoin, it has done the reverse.
Through its extensive library of research and surveys, Cardano (ADA)’s founders and developers have distilled some important principles to incorporate in its design such as:
- Scalability in use cases for applications in different industries such as agriculture, education, finance, government, healthcare and retail
- Sustainability and environmental friendliness via a Proof-of-Stake consensus mechanism, drastically cutting down energy requirements and carbon emissions
- Security in its system via a trustless and improved version of distributed ledger technology that incorporates multiple signatures
These principles are distilled in the goal of making Cardano (ADA) a more efficient world supercomputer of sorts — a decentralised computing platform focused on identity management.
This does away with the inefficiency of the mining mechanism (Proof-of-Work) that Bitcoin and Ethereum uses, and moving towards a validation mechanism (Proof-of-Stake).
How can Cardano (ADA) be applied in real life?
Earlier, I mentioned that Cardano (ADA) has forged partnerships with the Ethiopian and Tanzanian governments (though those efforts were largely overshadowed by the 2021 Bitcoin crash).
The idea is for Cardano to provide a blockchain-based mobile network to provide people with easy access to mobile connectivity and digital essential services such as banking, healthcare and education.
These seem like no big deal to us in Singapore, but consider how challenging it is to provide financial and educational services where large segments of the population are unbanked, untraced, and undocumented.
Such problems are rife in the larger African continent, and Cardano (ADA)’s adoption will soon be expected in Kenya, Nigeria and South Africa. I guess there will be no more scam emails from shady Nigerian princes.
If Cardano succeeds, the implications will be huge. It has the potential to revolutionise Africa by addressing some of the systemic problems within the continent, like corruption.
Is there a chance that Africa could break free of its war-torn, battered and colonised past, all because of Cardano? We don’t know. But with its vast natural and human resources, Africa has plenty of potential for growth — perhaps similar to what we’ve experienced in Asia in the last century.
What are the problems around Cardano (ADA)’s adoption?
So Cardano sounds like an exciting proposition for countries in Africa. But it faces 2 huge problems — its adoption rate, and its ongoing work-in-progress status.
Adoption rate: Cardano’s Proof-of-Stake consensus mechanism requires a pool of network users. You can’t validate something if there’s no one around to validate it. Currently, Cardano is trying the government buy-in method to get more users on its platform. But if its adoption rate is low, it’s not going to take off.
Work-in-progress status: Cardano’s roadmap is promising and all, but it’s still very much a work in progress. At the time of writing, Cardano does not even have smart contracts — where two users get to exchange cryptocurrencies or goods without a middleman to verify it.
Until basic features like smart contracts are rolled out, its adoption rate will remain small. This chicken-and-egg situation is one of the deeper problems with Cardano, at least right now.
How does Cardano (ADA) derive its value?
Cardano (ADA) uses a proof-of-stake consensus mechanism to verify its transactions, requiring its users to put up a portion of their ADA up onto the Cardano network:
|Cryptocurrency||Price||Market Cap||Circulating Supply||Supply Cap|
|Cardano (ADA)||~S$1.67||~S$53 billion||31.9 billion ADA||45 billion ADA|
Because Cardano uses a proof-of-stake consensus mechanism instead of a proof-of-work mechanism, the remaining 14 billion ADA cannot be mined. Instead, it will be minted much like cash is, or earned as a reward from staking your own Cardano (ADA) onto the Cardano network.
Cardano’s value is very much derived from its real-world applications. At the time of writing, it has spawned 3 dApps (decentralised applications) relating to authentication, identity and traceability:
|Decentralised App (dApp)||Purpose||Where it is used|
|Atala PRISM||Digitalise paper-based identification processes in businesses, governments, education institutions and individuals||Republic of Georgia 🇬🇪|
|Atala SCAN||Counteract counterfeit products by providing a blockchain-based authentication solution||New Balance OMN1S 👟|
|Atala Trace||Provide reliable tracing in a logistics supply chain by using blockchain for immutable product certification and verification||BeefChain 🐄|
Should you invest in Cardano (ADA)?
Cardano (ADA) has the potential to change identity management as we know it. And for regions like Africa, it might very well be the only thing that’s holding it back from rising up in the ranks of the world.
There are also dApps based on the Cardano (ADA) blockchain that focuses on it, such as Atala PRISM, SCAN and Trace, digitalising processes whilst solving authentication and traceability problems.
However, the thing that holds Cardano (ADA) back and its value down is the fact that, for a platform that touts itself to be better than Ethereum, basic features such as smart contracts have yet to be implemented, and its never ending work-in-progress status.
From an investment standpoint, Cardano (ADA) has some appealing features: low price, applicability in real-world situations, and small carbon footprint relative to Bitcoin and Ethereum.
As it’s still early days yet for Cardano, ADA is most definitely a HODL (buy-and-hold) crypto for the long-term investor.
Whatever crypto you choose, it’s bound to be speculative, incredibly volatile, and not very suitable for retail investors (as a certain minister puts it).
We highly recommend putting in only a small amount into cryptocurrencies; your investment portfolio should still mainly comprise tried-and-tested, real-world assets like stocks, REITs and ETFs. If you’re a total n00b to investing, be sure to have a read on how to start investing in Singapore, okay? You’ll be glad to know that we’ve condensed it into 5 easy steps.
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