Cardano was developed by IOHK — a cryptocurrency research and technology company that develops blockchains for governments, academic institutions, and corporations.
Notably, IOHK’s co-founder, Charles Hoskinson, is also a co-founder of Ethereum — a platform Cardano draws significant inspiration from.
Often described as a ‘third-generation blockchain,’ Cardano is designed to represent the future of digital currency. As such, the project features several major differences from most other smart contract platforms. For instance, Cardano uses a proof-of-stake consensus mechanism, which reduces the power burden of the network while ensuring security.
Unlike other platforms, the Cardano blockchain is also separated into two layers — with the Cardano Settlement Layer (CSL) handling the transmission and settlement of the ADA cryptocurrency while the Cardano Computation Layer (CCL) handles the execution and operation of smart contracts.