Relevant research papers and specifications

Cardano is a third-generation blockchain platform that aims to provide the community with more advanced features than any protocol yet developed. As a proof-of-stake blockchain, it is built with the rigor of high-assurance formal development methods and aims to achieve the scalability, interoperability, and sustainability needed for real-world applications. Cardano is the first platform to evolve out of scientific philosophy based on discovery, peer review, and cryptographic research.

Building a strong foundation in the blockchain industry, Cardano has an ethos of openness and transparency. All the research and technical specifications that underpin Cardano are publicly published and available to the community.

Cardano’s development roadmap is divided into 5 eras that focus on the foundation, decentralization, smart-contract and multi-asset ledger deployment, scalability, and governance of a pioneering blockchain environment. Relevant research papers and specifications according to the Cardano development roadmap are outlined below.


A period dedicated to building a foundational federated network that enabled the purchase and sale of ada. The network ran the proof-of-stake Ouroboros consensus protocol.

Relevant research papers:

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

Ouroboros-BFT: A Simple Byzantine Fault Tolerant Consensus Protocol

Relevant specifications:

A Formal Specification of the Cardano Ledger

Specification of the Blockchain Layer

Formal Specification for a Cardano Wallet

Cardano on-the-wire Specification

Small Step Semantics for Cardano


An era of optimization, improving the scalability and interoperability of the network. Enhancing the network performance, Basho will introduce sidechains, new blockchains, interoperable with the main Cardano chain, with immense potential to extend the network’s capabilities.

Relevant research papers:

Hydra: Fast Isomorphic State Channels

Parallel Chains: Improving Throughput and Latency of Blockchain Protocols via Parallel Composition

Proof-of-Stake Blockchain Protocols with Near-Optimal Throughput

Ledger Combiners for Fast Settlement

Proof-of-Stake Sidechains


A development era enabling the Cardano network to become a self-sustaining system. Voltaire will introduce a voting and treasury system that will enable network participants to use their stake and voting rights to influence the future development of the blockchain.

Relevant research papers:

A Treasury System for Cryptocurrencies: Enabling Better Collaborative Intelligence

Updatable Blockchains