Cardano ecosystem

Documentation for the

Cardano is a decentralized third-generation proof-of-stake blockchain platform and home to the ada cryptocurrency. It has been designed from the ground up by a team of top engineers and academic experts.

Cardano has a strong focus on sustainability, scalability, and transparency and is a fully open source project that aims to deliver an inclusive, fair, and resilient infrastructure for financial and social applications on a global scale. It is powered by Ouroboros, the ground-breaking proof-of-stake consensus protocol.

3rd Gen

Cardano is the first blockchain platform to evolve out of a scientific philosophy and a research-first driven approach. It is being designed for function and scale right from the start.

Formally verified

The Cardano platform has been designed from the ground up and verified by an industry-leading combination of top engineers and academic experts in the fields of blockchain and cryptography. Cardano uses formal verification methods to ensure that the system behaves as designed.

Secure, scalable, and interoperable

Security is one of the founding principles of Cardano. As it is written in the functional language Haskell, it uses pure functions to build the system, where components can be tested in isolation. More advanced features of Haskell, such as basing the implementation on formal and executable specifications, extensive property-based testing, and running tests in simulation provides a range of powerful methods for ensuring code correctness.

Explore more

The high-level architecture of the Cardano platform stack is modular by design and includes various system components that interact together to fulfil different deployment use cases.

New to Cardano?

If you are new to Cardano and would like to learn more about the basics we have a range of explainers on the components of blockchain and how Cardano stands out from other solutions. From explanations on cryptocurrency and consensus and diving deeper into the types of wallets and delegation instructions, we aim to make your introduction to Cardano seamless and comprehensive.

Stake pool operators

Committed to the health and diversity of Cardano, stake pool operators (SPOs) act as the driving force of the ecosystem, being responsible for transaction processing and block production. Interested in running your own stake pool? Find out how to set up and operate a stake pool.


Many exchanges are part of the Cardano ecosystem, contributing to network sustainability by running their own pools or delegating their stake to the existing ones. If you are an exchange interested in integrating with Cardano, you can find out how to set up your production environment and utilize the latest features of the Cardano blockchain.

Stake pools

A stake pool is a reliable server node that focuses on maintenance and holds the combined stake of various stakeholders in a single entity.


Delegation of stake is a mechanism inherent in the Cardano proof of stake (PoS) protocol that allows the protocol to scale even in a setting where the set of stakeholders are highly distributed.

© IOHK 2015 - 2021

Cardano Logo

Cardano is an open-source project.

Cardano is a software platform ONLY and does not conduct any independent diligence on, or substantive review of, any blockchain asset, digital currency, cryptocurrency or associated funds. You are fully and solely responsible for evaluating your investments, for determining whether you will exchange blockchain assets based on your own judgement, and for all your decisions as to whether to exchange blockchain assets with Cardano. In many cases, blockchain assets you exchange on the basis of your research may not increase in value, and may decrease in value. Similarly, blockchain assets you exchange on the basis of your research may fall or rise in value after your exchange.

Past performance is not indicative of future results. Any investment in blockchain assets involves the risk of loss of part or all of your investment. The value of the blockchain assets you exchange is subject to market and other investment risks