As Cardano creeps up the list of largest cryptocurrencies by market cap, we’re taking a dive into these two cryptocurrencies, breaking them down and comparing their fundamentals, history and success.

With many questioning is Cardano (ADA) better than Ethereum and whether it will take over the second largest cryptocurrency, we wanted to see what all the fuss was about. Let’s explore the battle of Cardano vs Ethereum and see how they are different.

Where Did They Come From?


Cardano was first announced in 2015 and later launched in September 2017 by Ethereum co-founder Charles Hoskinson. The project is an open source platform on which developers can create smart contracts, allowing the opportunity for real world data to enter the world of blockchain.

When the project launched it had already amassed a market cap of $600 million, which grew wildly in just three months, closing the year at $10 billion. Cardano claims to solve issues in the crypto space by providing a digital currency platform that overcomes the fact that “Bitcoin is too slow and inflexible, and that Ethereum is not safe or scalable.”

Unusually, Cardano does not have a whitepaper and instead goes through rigorous rounds of academic research and testing before any updates are implemented. This ensures that the blockchain network, which operates on a more eco friendly Proof of Stake concept, identifies and addresses any issues before it goes live.


Ethereum was first announced in 2013 and later launched in 2015 by Vitalik Buterin and a team of developers. The platform provides an opportunity for developers to create their own decentralized apps (dapps) along with smart contracts and token standards.

The platform is considered to be “the most actively used blockchain” with large thanks for the decentralized finance (DeFi) industry built on top of it. The open source code allows anyone to create their own network on top of the Ethereum blockchain, which facilitates all transactions. Ethereum is run by a non profit organization and aims to make blockchain accessible to anyone.

Where Are They Now?


In the three and a half years since launching the cryptocurrency network has seen wild growth, increasing a whopping 2,000% in the last year alone. Recently the platform underwent several upgrades in order to support multi asset currencies, including stablecoins, as well as allowing for the creation of NTFs (non-fungible tokens), crypto’s latest craze.

Cardano currently has a market cap of $38 billion, with 1 ADA trading at roughly $1.20. Of the network’s 45 billion max supply, just under 40 billion are in circulation, attributing to 71%.


In 2020 as the crypto market boomed Ethereum was no exception, reporting gains of 360% (double that of Bitcoin’s). This was largely due to the massive interest in the DeFi movement which amassed billions of dollars in that year alone. With no maximum supply on coins, Ether is currently trading around $1,800 with the entire market value sitting at roughly $205 billion. It remains the second largest cryptocurrency behind Bitcoin.

How Do They Differ?

In investigating Cardano vs Ethereum we will look at a few defining characteristics of both networks.  


Bitcoin is considered to be the first generation of cryptocurrency technology, with Ethereum’s “smart programmable money” and smart contract development placing in the second tier. Improving on Ethereum’s expensive and energy reliant processes, Cardano claims to provide the third generation. While they both operate off their own blockchain networks, Cardano uses the Proof of Stake concept while Ethereum uses Proof of Work.

This is soon to change as Ethereum rolls out its ETH 2.0 upgrades which will move towards a PoS mechanism. This will make Ether transactions considerably cheaper, however for now Cardano is offering the most economical transaction fees.

Essentially, both platforms want to become decentralized marketplaces on which future technology can be built.

Return On Investment

Looking at one platform (CoinMarketCap) to compare the two ROIs, Cardano has experienced a 5,500% growth since being listed on the platform on 2 October 2017. On the other hand, Ethereum reports a 64,635% since the price tracking began on 11 August 2015. While these two networks have been live for significantly different amounts of time, they both show healthy return on investment.


Ethereum is led by Vitalik Buterin, who at just 19 years old released the Ethereum whitepaper. Having previously worked for Bitcoin Magazine, the talented computer scientist wanted to create a more adaptable version of Bitcoin, which he described as “a decentralised mining network and software development platform rolled into one”.

Buterin announced the project at the American Bitcoin Conference in early 2014, where he rented a house with fellow creators Gavin Wood, Charles Hoskinson, Joseph Lubin and Anthony Di Iorio.

Six months later when the project had moved to Switzerland, Hoskinson left the project due to disagreement over Ethereum becoming a non-profit organization. After a sabbatical, Hoskinson joined forces with former Ethereum colleague Jeremy Wood to start a project called IOHK (Input Output Hong Kong).

Their primary focus was a smart contract and public blockchain platform by the name of Cardano. Hoskinson, among others, considers this to be an “improved” version of the second largest crypto network. Charles Hoskinson has been quoted saying “I’m not here to make day traders rich. I’m here to change the world.”

Cardano vs Ethereum

In the case of whether Cardano (ADA) is better than Ethereum, both platforms bring an immense amount of innovation to the industry and still function perfectly well alongside each other. While people call Cardano the “Ethereum Killer” this isn’t necessarily the case as both blockchains bring different elements to the table in their unique ways.

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