Many or all of the products featured here are from our partners who compensate us. This may influence which products we write about and where and how the product appears on a page. However, this does not influence our evaluations. Our opinions are our own. Here is a list of our partners and here's how we make money.
The investing information provided on this page is for educational purposes only. NerdWallet does not offer advisory or brokerage services, nor does it recommend or advise investors to buy or sell particular stocks, securities or other investments.
Cardano, also known as ADA cryptocurrency, is a digital asset that fashions itself as a next-generation competitor to Ethereum.
Cardano tokens can be used to pay for services on the cryptocurrency's underlying blockchain network, which is intended to eventually allow people to carry out complex transactions without the costs imposed by traditional providers such as banks or brokers.
Often, however, Cardano is bought or sold with U.S. dollars. Many buyers of Cardano also consider the tokens an investment, hoping they will rise in value as more people use the technology.
» Learn more: What to know about investing in Cardano
Cardano price today
Cardano has become one of the most valuable cryptocurrencies, but its value has been quite volatile like other assets in the sector. Unfortunately, that means the price of Cardano today may not be a good indication of what it will be tomorrow. The chart below shows Cardano's current price and historic Cardano price data.
» The basics: What is cryptocurrency, anyway?
Pros and cons of Cardano
Cardano's developers hope to make it one of the leading networks used by decentralized applications designed to cut out intermediaries, and their associated costs, in fields such as finance and computing.
Here are the pros and cons of ADA.
0.5% - 4.5%
varies by type of transaction; other fees may apply
0.5% - 3.99%
depending on payment method and platform
no promotion available at this time
Get $5 in Bitcoin
when you make your first trade. Terms Apply.
$20 of BTC
for new users after trading $100 or more within 30 days
Well-known leadership: Cardano founder Charles Hoskinson was also a co-founder of Ethereum. He has said his latest project is a logical next step of the ideas that have been simmering in the blockchain space.
Academic review: Cardano presents itself as a product of unique academic rigor. The platform's developers say it is the first of its kind "to be founded on peer-reviewed research and developed through evidence-based methods."
Cardano staking: Cardano is among a new generation of crypto projects underpinned by a concept called "proof of stake." This is a complex subject, but generally, proof-of-stake cryptocurrencies encourage owners to "stake" their holdings to help verify transactions on the underlying blockchain network. This gives owners an option to earn cryptocurrency without buying more. Crypto staking can also be a more environmentally friendly alternative to the energy-intensive "proof-of-work" process pioneered by Bitcoin. (Want to start staking? See our list of the best crypto platforms for staking and rewards.)
Still in development: The creators of Cardano are taking a deliberate approach toward rolling out features on the network, and some key features that will define its potential are just in their infancy. For instance, the network only recently introduced the ability to carry out smart contracts. As a result, it will have to play catch-up to more established smart contract protocols like Ethereum and Solana.
Stiff competition: While Hoskinson believes that Cardano is the best way to carry out the vision that began with Ethereum, the older protocol still has many fans. And it is continuing to roll out updates that will help it compete with newer entrants. Other well-known developers are targeting the space as well.
Blockchain risks: Many people believe blockchain technology will underpin a massive economic shift that eliminates the costs and impediments of centralized services. But this transition has not yet played out, and there is no guarantee that it will. Centralized services may remain the dominant way to establish trust and reliability in transactions.
» Ready to invest? Here are our picks for best cryptocurrency exchanges.
Neither the author nor editor held positions in the aforementioned investments at the time of publication.