“It was the best of times, it was the worst of times…” is the opening passage from A Tale of Two Cities. The book begins at the cusp of the French revolution, at a time when the world was buffeted by almost unbearable forces: sickness, rampant poverty & wealth inequality, corruption, nationalism, political change, hopelessness and despair. While this was written by Dickens in the 1850s, it feels deeply relevant today after non-stop political drama and two + years of covid. The pandemic slog has fundamentally changed us and resulted in a lot of questions about who we are and where we are going.
So, why is any of this relevant to Cardano? Cardano is a blockchain ecosystem that runs on the Ouroboros consensus protocol. A blockchain is simply an immutable ledger that allows data to be entered and stored, while offering a verification mechanism that ensures the data is valid and secure. An information storage device hardly sounds revolutionary in this day and age. Yet Cardano is revolutionary, or at least it offers the potential for revolutionary change. This is because Cardano is more than a simple blockchain. It offers an ever growing ecosystem of tools that will help us build a world in which technology is available to all, not just the privileged few.
Most of the people reading this post do not ever have to concern themselves with the water they drink or if they will have enough food to eat — if they can provide medical care for themselves and their children. Yet up to one quarter of the world’s population struggles with these issues on a daily basis, and their struggle is largely related to their place of birth. The Cardano ecosystem was built to address the fundamental inequality that currently leaves a huge segment of the world’s population behind. Per their website Cardano was constructed to build “A future that serves the many as well as the few and which empowers (people) to imagine and create new ways of transacting, interacting, creating and governing”.
Cardano provides an entire set of tools, built on a secure and academically reviewed protocol, that allows us to view global challenges in a new way. The secure blockchain base allows us to build without fear of corruption or instability in our foundation. The supply is fixed and secure — not subject to the whims of governments or other interested parties. Cardano is also environmentally friendly because its proof of stake mechanism requires a fraction of the energy needed for some other types of cryptocurrency. These are the basics, and they are powerful in and of themselves, but the truly revolutionary part of Cardano is the stated mission of providing opportunity unilaterally across the globe.
Identity is something that we take for granted in the developed world. Your nation generally provides you with a mechanism of establishing who you are, where you were born, and your academic credentials. They hold this information, your entire identity really, in their grasp. In the developing world this doesn’t really exist at all. It’s very difficult to prove who you are which in turn makes it incredibly difficult to travel, work other places, escape from poverty, and build generational wealth. Cardano offers a solution, which it is starting to offer in Africa. This ia a digital identity that belongs to a person, not a nation state. This information is verified, readily available and shared at the request of the individual, not the nation state. When fully implemented, this will be nothing short of miraculous for those who are currently undocumented and unable to break out of a cycle of poverty.
Another aspect of our increasingly global world is the cost of remittances, for foreign workers sending money home. The pandemic years have put a white-hot spotlight on the need for an agile, global workforce. However, travelling workers still pay a high price to send money home to their families. Cardano offers the tools to streamline this system and allow a faster and more equitable movement of money across boundaries and borders. This means that more money would reach the people that need it most, instead of being scooped up by legacy financial institutions or, worse, never reaching its intended destination at all.
Who thought about supply chain issues prior to covid? This was a problem in the developing world, but not in Europe or the United States — we thought. Covid has also laid bare the fractures in our mechanisms of simply getting things from one place to another. But Cardano can help with this also. The blockchain provides an immutable ledger which, as the infrastructure is added, will allow for improved movement and tracking of all kinds of goods, from medical supplies to olive oil, while drastically decreasing the potential for theft or counterfeit materials.
Have you ever given to charity and wondered where your money is really going? Yep, Cardano addresses that problem also. This capacity is actually in production with Veritree, a charitable foundation focused on planting trees to mitigate the effects of climate change. The number and location of trees planted is verified on the blockchain so that anyone can see the progress of the foundation and where their donations are going.
Mission driven stake pools are the last of the topics for this post. Cardano is actually built in a manner that rewards both delegators and stake pools for securing the network. These rewards are used by some of the stake pools, the mission driven pools, to support charitable causes which range from feeding the hungry to mental health awareness; from environmental causes to homeless pets. The list is as long and varied as the location of the stake pools, but one thing is for sure — all of their donations and contributions are truly impacting the world and are verifiable on the blockchain.
As with all cryptocurrency, Cardano is a relatively new technology. It is still in its adolescence, still growing, occasionally in the awkward all elbows and knees phase, surely a work in progress. The difference inherent in Cardano is that it is owned by all of us. It will eventually be voted on and governed solely by its community stakeholders although currently IOHK, like any parent, still steers it on a right and steady course while it matures and grows into its full potential. The future is unknown and the current tribalism among cryptocurrencies might end up as momentous as the VHS vs. BETAMAX wars of the 1980s — much ado about an antiquated technology that is no longer used. But we don’t think so. I hope in this brief post we have shown you why we not only invest in ADA but are invested in the Cardano ecosystem. We believe it is the pathway to a better future. We hope you will join us in working toward a better world.