2017
2018
2019
2020
ShelleyGoguen
Basho
Voltaire

Cardano is ranked as one of the most actively developed cryptocurrencies, according to coincodecap.com.coincodecap.com.

01

Byron

Foundation

Cardano is a third-generation blockchain, created from the ground up using research, peer-review, and a rigorous formal development model. The story began in 2015, with a vision of addressing the three strategic challenges facing all blockchain networks: scalability, interoperability, and sustainability. Two years, thousands of GitHub commits, and hundreds of hours of study later, the first version of Cardano shipped in September 2017, and the Byron era began.

The first incarnation of Cardano allowed users to buy and sell the ada cryptocurrency – so named for revolutionary programmer Ada Lovelace – on a federated network running the groundbreaking Ouroboros consensus protocol. The heart of the Cardano network, Ouroboros is the first proof-of-stake protocol created on the basis of academic research, with a mathematically-proven level of security.

The Byron era also saw the delivery of the Daedalus wallet, IOHK's official desktop wallet for ada, as well as Yoroi, a light wallet from IOHK's sister company Emurgo designed for quick transactions and day-to-day use.

As much as the Byron era was about the first crucial technology developments, it was also about building a community and getting people involved in creating the blockchain of the future. Cardano has grown from a small group of enthusiasts to a global community, with ada hosted on more than 30 exchanges and with an average market capitalization that makes it one of the leading cryptocurrencies in the world.

See how we did it below…

30+

 Exchange listings
(coinmarketcap.com)

490,032

 Cardano community members

61,000

 Total answered support tickets

23,430

 Total GitHub code commits

15

 Code releases

Byron era research

SCRAPE: Scalable Randomness Attested by Public Entities

This paper discusses the difficulty of finding a reliable public randomness source that can be trusted to remain unbiased by potential adverse behavior, and a secret-sharing scheme to address the issue.

Ouroboros: A Provably Secure Proof-of-Stake Blockchain Protocol

The original Ouroboros research paper, outlining the first proof-of-stake blockchain protocol with rigorous security guarantees, as well as a novel reward mechanism for incentivizing honest protocol engagement from the network.

The Bitcoin Backbone Protocol with Chains of Variable Difficulty

A formal analysis of bitcoin’s target recalculation function in the cryptographic setting, extending the q-bounded synchronous model of the bitcoin backbone protocol.

Checking Laws of the Blockchain with Property-Based Testing

A paper covering how to use property-based testing in the context of blockchain protocols, including examples and general descriptions of the laws that blockchain and blockchain-like systems should be expected to satisfy.

But Why Does It Work? A Rational Protocol Design Treatment of Bitcoin

This paper includes a formal investigation of the core cryptographic assumptions underlying the security of bitcoin, and extends existing academic research on the subject.

Bootstrapping the Blockchain, with Applications to Consensus and Fast PKI Setup

An investigation into how to improve upon some of the core assumptions of the bitcoin network and some applications of the resulting constructions.

Multi-mode Cryptocurrency Systems

A study of multi-mode cryptocurrency protocols and introduction of a rigorous security model for addressing blockchain bloat, as well as applications thereof.

Number of Confirmation Blocks for Bitcoin and GHOST Consensus Protocols on Networks with Delayed Message Delivery

An investigation into the required number of confirmation blocks for Bitcoin and GHOST on networks with delayed message delivery.

A Formal Treatment of Hardware Wallets

A research paper that provides the first formal model of the Bitcoin hardware wallet operations, identifying the properties and security parameters of a Bitcoin wallet and formally defining them in the Universal Composition (UC) Framework.

A Formal Specification of the Cardano Ledger

A formal specification defining the rules for extending a ledger with transactions, as implemented in the Byron release of the Cardano Ledger.

Specification of the Blockchain Layer

A formal specification that formalizes the definition of a valid block, and what is required for it to be added to the blockchain, in the scope of the Byron era and the transition to the Shelley era of Cardano.

Byron work scope


Ouroboros Consensus Protocol

The Ouroboros proof-of-stake consensus protocol is the core mechanism of the Cardano network, defining the way nodes reach consensus about the state of the ledger. It is the first provably secure proof-of-stake protocol in the industry to be based on formal, peer-reviewed and published academic research. Research continues following the initial paper and Byron era implementation, with new variants of the protocol developed and published gradually.



Ada Cryptocurrency

Based on the Ouroboros proof-of-stake consensus protocol, ada is one of the most respected cryptocurrencies, and has one of the highest market capitalizations. Ada, which was launched in 2017, is the currency that will underlie the Cardano smart contract platform.



Cardano Block Explorer

The Cardano block explorer allows users to see information about the latest transactions. Searches can be made on addresses, transactions, epochs, and slots on the Cardano network.



Daedalus Wallet

Daedalus is IOHK’s official desktop wallet for Cardano and the ada cryptocurrency. It is a full-function desktop wallet available on Windows, Mac, and Linux.



Daedalus Japanese Interface and Installer

The Daedalus wallet has the option for a Japanese language user interface and installer. The language is detected automatically based on settings in the operating system.



Optimized UTxO Coin Selection

Unspent transaction output (UTXO) selection optimization has been much debated in blockchain. If a user ends up with too many very small transaction outputs, wallet operation can be inefficient. With too few, some transactions are difficult to execute. IOHK studied and mathematically modelled UTXO selection algorithms to come up with a UTXO coin selection algorithm that delivers the best outcome most often.



Paper Wallets

The introduction of paper wallets in Cardano provides users with a safe offline ‘cold’ storage option for ada, making it easy to store and receive ada offline. Users can use their paper wallets for long-term currency deposits, keeping their wallet and private keys offline.



Yoroi Light Wallet (Project Icarus)

Yoroi is a light wallet for Cardano which is developed and promoted by Emurgo. Unlike the Daedalus wallet, Yoroi does not download the entire blockchain to verify transactions but instead references a secure central server which has a full copy of the blockchain. Private keys are encrypted on the user's machine and not shared with servers, allowing people to transact quickly and securely for day-to-day use. Yoroi is available as a Chrome extension, or as a mobile app via the AppStore or Google Play. Yoroi also supports the Ledger Nano hardware wallet. It was known initially as Project Icarus while it was being developed in IOHK.



Ledger Hardware Wallet Support in Yoroi and Adalite

Cardano and ada support Ledger hardware wallets for secure ada storage. Ledger support is provided by both the Yoroi and AdaLite wallets.



Faster Blockchain Sync

Cardano SL 1.3 included enhancements to speed up syncing of the blockchain. Tests have shown wallet syncing occurring between 1.5 and 4 times faster, depending on the network environment. Network relays can now also support more users syncing at once, which will reduce congestion at busy times.



Optimized Block Storage

More efficient storage improves performance for operations that use locally stored blockchain data, especially wallet restoration and blockchain synchronization. Optimization will also reduce the amount of hard drive space on a user’s device that is required to store the blockchain. While this stage of optimization is complete, there will be even more to come as part of additional rearchitecting work.



Cardano Byron Testnet

The Cardano testnet is a free-to-use blockchain that is designed for testing purposes. It runs code that is the latest Byron release version. Cardano users – such as exchanges, developers, and the regular community – can use the testnet to test in a production-like environment off the main blockchain, since the testnet has the same functionality, integration capabilities, and properties as the Cardano production environment. The testnet also enables us to receive pre-release feedback from users to help us make improvements.



Log Submission Mechanism

It is now possible for users to submit bug reports and any supporting log files directly from within the Daedalus application. Not only will this improve the technical support that can be provided to individuals, it will also allow support and development teams to identify and fix broader issues more efficiently.



Exchange Interface Enhancements

Performance improvements made to the code allow exchanges to handle higher levels of activity. By enabling exchanges to make withdrawals for multiple users in a single transaction, they can serve more users with the same fixed volume of transactions. Exchanges can make use of a new exchange API to support this feature, and work has been done to revise old APIs to better integrate with exchanges and make ada accessible to more people.



Exchange Interface Additions

Based on requests from exchanges, Cardano has added new interface capability for exchanges. For larger, higher volume exchanges, it is now possible to create and sign transactions offline. Further, a full set of interfaces is provided for querying the chain and interacting with the node.



Technical Support Desk

The creation of a Daedalus wallet support desk allows IOHK to provide troubleshooting and technical support to users who are encountering problems, ensuring that they have an optimal Daedalus experience. It also allows for better handling and logging of bugs, which can then be passed to the development team to be fixed.



Exchange Support Team

The exchange support team has been created to provide additional support and a direct point of contact for exchange users to communicate with IOHK. Necessarily, exchanges have more complex needs than normal users, and play a vital role in allowing people to purchase ada and join the Cardano ecosystem. The exchange support team ensures that exchanges can resolve any issues quickly, as well as providing a channel for exchanges to make feature requests.



24/7 Monitoring via Prometheus

IOHK has set up 24/7 monitoring for the Cardano network and node operations using the open-source monitoring system Prometheus. This enables extensive live monitoring and improved response times to all kinds of operational and performance issues.



Nix DevOps Tooling Integration

The introduction of Nix tooling into the internal development processes of IOHK has allowed the DevOps team to create more robust deployment pipelines, improving the efficiency and speed of development testing and deployment. Additionally, the nature of Nix and NixOS enables some of the benefits of functional programming - such as pure functions and easy unit testing - to be applied across DevOps.



Symphony of Blockchains Visualization

IOHK creative coders designed and implemented the Symphony of Blockchains, a blockchain data visualization engine. This radical combination of digital art and data analysis can be used to help understand the blockchain network and chain data through an immersive audiovisual experience.



Medusa Commit History Visualization

Medusa is a 3D graphical tool that shows the history of Cardano software development by plotting changes to GitHub files as they happen, allowing users to explore activity in the code base and see real-time heat maps of code commits.



The Ouroboros proof-of-stake consensus protocol is the core mechanism of the Cardano network, defining the way nodes reach consensus about the state of the ledger. It is the first provably secure proof-of-stake protocol in the industry to be based on formal, peer-reviewed and published academic research. Research continues following the initial paper and Byron era implementation, with new variants of the protocol developed and published gradually.


Based on the Ouroboros proof-of-stake consensus protocol, ada is one of the most respected cryptocurrencies, and has one of the highest market capitalizations. Ada, which was launched in 2017, is the currency that will underlie the Cardano smart contract platform.


The Cardano block explorer allows users to see information about the latest transactions. Searches can be made on addresses, transactions, epochs, and slots on the Cardano network.


Daedalus is IOHK’s official desktop wallet for Cardano and the ada cryptocurrency. It is a full-function desktop wallet available on Windows, Mac, and Linux.


The Daedalus wallet has the option for a Japanese language user interface and installer. The language is detected automatically based on settings in the operating system.


Unspent transaction output (UTXO) selection optimization has been much debated in blockchain. If a user ends up with too many very small transaction outputs, wallet operation can be inefficient. With too few, some transactions are difficult to execute. IOHK studied and mathematically modelled UTXO selection algorithms to come up with a UTXO coin selection algorithm that delivers the best outcome most often.


The introduction of paper wallets in Cardano provides users with a safe offline ‘cold’ storage option for ada, making it easy to store and receive ada offline. Users can use their paper wallets for long-term currency deposits, keeping their wallet and private keys offline.


Yoroi is a light wallet for Cardano which is developed and promoted by Emurgo. Unlike the Daedalus wallet, Yoroi does not download the entire blockchain to verify transactions but instead references a secure central server which has a full copy of the blockchain. Private keys are encrypted on the user's machine and not shared with servers, allowing people to transact quickly and securely for day-to-day use. Yoroi is available as a Chrome extension, or as a mobile app via the AppStore or Google Play. Yoroi also supports the Ledger Nano hardware wallet. It was known initially as Project Icarus while it was being developed in IOHK.


Cardano and ada support Ledger hardware wallets for secure ada storage. Ledger support is provided by both the Yoroi and AdaLite wallets.


Cardano SL 1.3 included enhancements to speed up syncing of the blockchain. Tests have shown wallet syncing occurring between 1.5 and 4 times faster, depending on the network environment. Network relays can now also support more users syncing at once, which will reduce congestion at busy times.


More efficient storage improves performance for operations that use locally stored blockchain data, especially wallet restoration and blockchain synchronization. Optimization will also reduce the amount of hard drive space on a user’s device that is required to store the blockchain. While this stage of optimization is complete, there will be even more to come as part of additional rearchitecting work.


The Cardano testnet is a free-to-use blockchain that is designed for testing purposes. It runs code that is the latest Byron release version. Cardano users – such as exchanges, developers, and the regular community – can use the testnet to test in a production-like environment off the main blockchain, since the testnet has the same functionality, integration capabilities, and properties as the Cardano production environment. The testnet also enables us to receive pre-release feedback from users to help us make improvements.


It is now possible for users to submit bug reports and any supporting log files directly from within the Daedalus application. Not only will this improve the technical support that can be provided to individuals, it will also allow support and development teams to identify and fix broader issues more efficiently.


Performance improvements made to the code allow exchanges to handle higher levels of activity. By enabling exchanges to make withdrawals for multiple users in a single transaction, they can serve more users with the same fixed volume of transactions. Exchanges can make use of a new exchange API to support this feature, and work has been done to revise old APIs to better integrate with exchanges and make ada accessible to more people.


Based on requests from exchanges, Cardano has added new interface capability for exchanges. For larger, higher volume exchanges, it is now possible to create and sign transactions offline. Further, a full set of interfaces is provided for querying the chain and interacting with the node.


The creation of a Daedalus wallet support desk allows IOHK to provide troubleshooting and technical support to users who are encountering problems, ensuring that they have an optimal Daedalus experience. It also allows for better handling and logging of bugs, which can then be passed to the development team to be fixed.


The exchange support team has been created to provide additional support and a direct point of contact for exchange users to communicate with IOHK. Necessarily, exchanges have more complex needs than normal users, and play a vital role in allowing people to purchase ada and join the Cardano ecosystem. The exchange support team ensures that exchanges can resolve any issues quickly, as well as providing a channel for exchanges to make feature requests.


IOHK has set up 24/7 monitoring for the Cardano network and node operations using the open-source monitoring system Prometheus. This enables extensive live monitoring and improved response times to all kinds of operational and performance issues.


The introduction of Nix tooling into the internal development processes of IOHK has allowed the DevOps team to create more robust deployment pipelines, improving the efficiency and speed of development testing and deployment. Additionally, the nature of Nix and NixOS enables some of the benefits of functional programming - such as pure functions and easy unit testing - to be applied across DevOps.


IOHK creative coders designed and implemented the Symphony of Blockchains, a blockchain data visualization engine. This radical combination of digital art and data analysis can be used to help understand the blockchain network and chain data through an immersive audiovisual experience.


Medusa is a 3D graphical tool that shows the history of Cardano software development by plotting changes to GitHub files as they happen, allowing users to explore activity in the code base and see real-time heat maps of code commits.


Latest Updates


Backwards-incompatible changes in Cardano 1.4 Wallet API

Matthias Benkort and Jacob Mitchell cover what's new

In this blog, wallet API lead Matthias Benkort explains backwards-incompatible Cardano wallet API changes that are coming in Cardano 1.4, and devOps lead Jacob Mitchell shows how to build a Cardano client with both the old V0 wallet API and the new V1 wallet API, instead of the default option providing only the new API.

DECEMBER 18, 2018 | Matthias Benkort

IOHK releases Icarus to the Cardano community

Developers can now build their own light wallets

Today IOHK releases Icarus, a reference implementation for a lightweight wallet developed by the IOHK engineering team. We hope that this code base will be used as a point of reference to enable developers to create their own secure light and mobile wallets for Cardano. Icarus is a fully open source code base that will be the first step in a range of open source initiatives to provide developers with a suite of tools for Cardano.

AUGUST 15, 2018 | Brian McKenna
View all Byron updates

cardano-sl Repository medusa

Explore historical and real-time GitHub commits