What is cryptocurrency is a common question amongst new people who first hear about bitcoin or other cryptocurrencies. Cryptocurrencies are defined as digital assets used for medium of exchange with strong cryptography securing transactions, controlling possible creation of additional tokens or coins and verifying asset transfers. What is cryptocurrency backed by is another common question from people who are looking to get into crypto, and for that the answer is not so simple. Some of the cryptocurrencies are not backed by anything, and some of them are backed by physical assets.
Charles Hoskinson, one of the co-founders of ethereum, launched cardano in September of 2017. For supporters of this digital currency, ADA offers all of the benefits of ethereum, as well as many others. Cardano offers a platform for Dapps and smart contracts, like ethereum before it. Beyond that, ADA aims to solve some of the most pressing problems plaguing cryptocurrencies everywhere, including interoperability and scalability. Cardano also hopes to tackle issues related to international payments, which are typically both timely and expensive. Thanks to its focus on this area, ADA was able to take international payment processing times from days down to just seconds. As of February 9, 2019, cardano had a market cap of $1.16 billion and a per token value of $0.041.
Within a cryptocurrency network, only miners can confirm transactions by solving a cryptographic puzzle. They take transactions, mark them as legitimate and spread them across the network. Afterwards, every node of the network adds it to its database. Once the transaction is confirmed it becomes unforgeable and irreversible and a miner receives a reward, plus the transaction fees.
In 1983, the American cryptographer David Chaum conceived an anonymous cryptographic electronic money called ecash. Later, in 1995, he implemented it through Digicash, an early form of cryptographic electronic payments which required user software in order to withdraw notes from a bank and designate specific encrypted keys before it can be sent to a recipient. This allowed the digital currency to be untraceable by the issuing bank, the government, or any third party.