Cardano (CCC:ADA-USD) stumbled into 2021. The altcoin ended 2020 trading for just 18 cents — a price actually below its 2018 highs.
2021 has been much better, however. In a hot cryptocurrency market, Cardano has been one of the biggest winners, rallying more than 600%.
For stocks, those kinds of rallies can be disconcerting. Barring a massively positive piece of news — say, a biotech getting a blockbuster drug approved — a 600%-plus move usually is a sign of crazy trading, rather than a sign that there’s further upside ahead. But cryptocurrencies can be different.
After all, big rallies draw big attention. Importantly, that attention doesn’t come just from buyers and speculators. Big moves draw developers as well.
Developers no doubt notice Cardano now. The altcoin came into the year with a market capitalization (calculated as supply times price) under $6 billion. The figure now is at $42 billion. That’s enough to get real players interested.
And they should be. I believe a number of “altcoins” have real promise. Cardano is one of the more intriguing ones out there.
The Case for Cardano
The argument for Cardano’s utility is relatively simple: It was designed to be useful.
That sounds like a silly statement, of course. All cryptos (well, maybe not quite all) are supposed to be useful.
But for many cryptocurrencies, the designers simply built the platform. From that point, they leave it to users and developers to create the value. Unfortunately, the ecosystem often has to fix the flaws as well.
On that front, Cardano is a bit different. It has three separate organizations guiding its development. Its design was built using peer-reviewed studies.
And it’s an attractive design. Notably, Cardano uses “proof of stake” rather than “proof of work.” In other words, there’s no “mining:” transaction fees are paid randomly based on the size of a holder’s ownership. This should improve security and limit the environmental impact created by crypto mining.
There is an argument to be made that Cardano and its Ouroboros protocol comprise the best crypto platform out there. Certainly, I’m not saying that definitively is the case.
But this is a purpose-built platform that includes some of the best attributes of the some of the best cryptocurrencies. This can work. It can work big.
A Lot of Work Left To Do
The one big risk is that Cardano’s positive attributes are mostly theoretical at this point.
That’s not necessarily a surprise. Cardano is younger than some of the better-known cryptocurrencies: It was only released in 2015. But it is something that needs to change.
Right now, there simply aren’t many applications running on Cardano. That’s in large part because the designers still are working on the platform, which one media outlet rightly called a “work in progress.”
For instance, Cardano still doesn’t support smart contracts. That’s on the way as soon as this month, but other platforms already offer that functionality.
And from there, Cardano needs to attract developers. There’s a potential roadblock there in that smart contracts on Cardano will require fluency in the Plutus programming language — a language which is not widely known.
Given all the attention cryptos are garnering at the moment, Cardano obviously has a chance at seeing real growth and real adoption. But it will have to garner some of that attention for itself.
The Virtuous Circle
Of course, that’s why the higher price can be bullish for ADA-USD long-term. The higher price itself brings in precisely the kind of attention that Cardano needs.
After all, there is no shortage of crypto platforms with aims similar to those of Cardano. And while the design might be a differentiator, design alone isn’t enough. Users and developers need to join.
That’s the next step for Cardano. It’s a step the platform may well be able to take. And, if it does, Cardano has a lot more upside ahead.
On the date of publication, neither Matt McCall nor the InvestorPlace Research Staff member primarily responsible for this article held (either directly or indirectly) any positions in the securities mentioned in the article.
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