**What:** Cardano is an open-source and decentralized, proof-of-stake blockchain platform. Its native cryptocurrency is ADA which can be used to participate in the running of the network as well as an exchange of value. Within the Cardano platform there are two different layers: The Cardano Settlement Layer (CSL), and the Cardano Computational Layer (CCL). ADA lives on the CSL which was built to be where the accounting of value takes place. The CCL exists on top of the settlement layer, and is designed to be similar to Ethereum, enabling smart contracts and applications to run on the platform. **Why:** Cardano is a project that began in 2015 as an effort to change the way cryptocurrencies are designed and developed. Cardano design emphasis is to accommodate the social aspects of cryptocurrencies, build in layers by separating the accounting of value from complex computation while at the same time addressing the needs of regulators. The platform seeks to rebuild trust in global systems by establishing a secure, transparent, and sustainable foundation for transactions, governance, and enterprise growth, guided by scientific principles. **Risks:** It is worth noting that while Cardano emphasizes its evidence-based development approach and testing, the project has a short history as a live project with working smart contracts. There is limited information on how the network runs and how it operates under stress as well as other potential risks that are evident in more battle-tested networks. **Benefits:** As a proof-of-stake blockchain, Cardano facilitates secure interactions and transactions among parties that do not know or trust each other, fostering trust in scenarios where it might not naturally exist. Its proof-of-stake design also means the network can scale without exponentially increasing energy consumption. Additionally, through an incentivized mechanism, participants are rewarded for their contributions as stake pool operators or delegators. The governance system allows ADA holders to submit or vote on proposals for platform upgrades or development direction.