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Is Cardano Dead in 2024? The Current State of ADA

Eric Huffman
Last updated: | 10 min read
Is Cardano Dead?

Many consider Cardano to be a blue-chip crypto due to its proven history and stability. However, Cardano’s native token, ADA, hasn’t seen the same surge in price enjoyed by other top cryptocurrencies like BTC, ETH, and SOL in the past year. Is Cardano dead? In this guide, we’ll examine what happened to Cardano and what the future may hold for the project.

While Cardano’s price moves in sympathy with the broad crypto market, ADA often doesn’t exhibit the same level of euphoria seen with other leading coins, such as Bitcoin or Ethereum. Some even jokingly refer to Cardano as their favorite stablecoin. Is the bull run really over for Cardano, or can we expect continued price appreciation?

Summary: Is Cardano Dead?


While Cardano’s price struggles against many other top-ten cryptocurrencies, the project is not dead and Cardano continues to find real-world use cases for blockchain technology.

  • Slow and steady growth: Cardano’s long-term price action mirrors the project’s development pace. Cardano sees fewer speculative bubbles, instead attracting long-term investors.
  • Decentralization: The introduction of decentralized voting and a treasury funded by gas fees will help Cardano take its first steps independent of IO Global. The transaction-funded treasury helps ensure ongoing development and improvements.
  • Real-world uses: Few blockchain projects compare to Cardano in forging real-world partnerships.

What is Cardano?


The Cardano project is a competitor to Ethereum, Solana, and other smart-contract blockchains. Charles Hoskinson, a co-founder of Ethereum, began developing Cardano in 2015. Cardano’s Mainnet network launched in 2017.

The project differs from many cryptocurrencies in that its roots grew through corporate backing. Development for the Cardano ecosystem is backed by Input/Output Global (IO Global), formerly known as IOHK or Input/Output Hong Kong. This structure helped ensure Cardano had the support it needed during development and has helped to secure real-world applications for the Cardano blockchain, including partnerships with mobile carriers and blockchain-based ID verification for governments.

While IO Global develops the technology for Cardano, the Cardano Foundation supervises development and promotion. A third entity, Emurgo, drives commercial usage for other networks on the chain. Ultimately, Cardano will be decentralized, with ADA used as both fuel for the network and a governance token for voting.

The Current State of Cardano


Cardano organizes its development goals around “eras,” with each era focused on specific goals. The project’s first three eras, Byron, Shelly, and Goguen, founded the blockchain, set the stage for decentralization, and introduced smart contracts. Basho, the fourth era, improves scaling. The final era, Voltaire, targets full decentralization through a governance model and introduces a treasury funded by a percentage of transaction fees. A hard fork planned for June 2024 will usher in the Voltaire phase for Cardano. A recent validator software update marks an important milestone for the hard fork.

cardano roadmap

Ethereum showed the world the possibilities of smart contracts. However, we also discovered the need for scaling solutions as network usage surges and smart contract complexity increases. The Basho Era was marked by two significant changes to Cardano to improve the network’s throughput and efficiency.

  • Hydra: The Cardano blockchain serves as a Layer-1 network, hosting and securing transactions. Hydra refers to a family of Layer-2 (L2) protocols that allow faster and cheaper transactions while maintaining security. Hydra Head is the first of these protocols and operates as an off-chain shared ledger. In effect, it creates subnetworks that can offload more complex transactions.
  • Mithril: The Mithril scalability solution enables certified snapshots of the blockchain state, allowing full or partial snapshots. At a base level, the initiative allows faster node deployment. However, additional uses could include sidechain synchronization, data exchange, and light wallets that don’t need to sync the entire chain.

Cardano’s robust support for smart contracts leads to real-world use cases, ranging from online bookstores and media hubs to partnerships with regional mobile carriers.

  • World Mobile: Starting with Zanzibar, World Mobile seeks to bring internet access to underserved regions through a blockchain-based sharing economy. The strategy parallels other Decentralized Physical Infrastructure Networks (DePINs), leveraging a decentralized network of Airnode Operators to connect users. World Mobile operates on a sidechain secured by the Cardano network.
  • Book.io: Built as a hub for readers and authors, Book.io enables readers, authors, and publishers to earn BOOK tokens. The BOOK token is native to Cardano, although the platform also supports Algorand, Ethereum, and Polygon.

book-io selection

  • NEWM: Another Cardano-native token, NEWM, serves as a governance and utility token for the NEWM decentralized music platform. The platform cuts out the middlemen in the music industry and allows artists and fans to transact directly.

newm homepage

  • Nucast.io: Cardano is also host to the Nucast video streaming platform, which uses NFTs to verify users. Stream a growing library of classic movies and shows, all powered by Cardano.

Cardano’s Price Performance in 2024


Like many other leading crypto projects, Cardano peaked in 2021, later crashing throughout 2022 and well into 2023. Bitcoin, Ethereum, and Solana have all recovered nicely, although still short of their all-time highs. By contrast, Cardano has remained a laggard even though prices have seen some gains from the lows. The relatively flat chart compared Many have proclaimed, “Cardano is dead.” But is Cardano dead, is ADA dead, or does ADA’s price reflect the speed of Cardano’s development?

The 1-year chart shows plenty of profitable trading opportunities. However, long-term holders saw less impressive growth of about 30% over the trailing 12-month period.

cardano 1-year chart

Many remain optimistic about ADA’s future price predictions. Our own Cardano price prediction paints a bullish picture for prices going forward. For example, 2025 could see appreciable gains compared to current prices. We see a potential low of $1.97 and highs as lofty as $2.84, compared to a current price of just $0.36 as of this writing.

Much of Cardano’s seemingly subdued price movement reflects the relatively slow development pace of the project. The project introduced smart contracts in 2021, four years after the chain went live and six years after Ethereum launched with smart contract support.

However, Cardano’s carefully planned evolution has also led to a reputation for stability and rock-solid security.

Bullish Arguments for Cardano’s Future


Let’s examine both sides of the debate about Cardano’s future. Bullish arguments center around the loyal community, unique tech, and growing real-world use cases.

Strong Community and Ecosystem

Few crypto communities can boast a more loyal following than Cardano. Frequent “fireside chats” on YouTube by founder Charles Hoskinson serve as a gathering location for both ADA holders and curious investors. Staking rewards also unite the community. Typically, about two-thirds of the circulating ADA supply is staked to help secure the network.

Technological Advancements

Many of Cardano’s improvements stem from peer-reviewed proposals. Improvements like Mithril undergo a rigorous review by some of the finest minds in the crypto space.

Testnets provide sandboxed versions of the chain, allowing extensive testing before deployment. However, Cardano’s comparatively slow pace shows in the network’s stability. As of June 2024, the network has been up and running for more than 2,500 days without shutdowns or restarts.

High Profile Partnerships

Stability and the backing of IO Global, the Cardano Foundation, and Emergo help Cardano gain traction and build partnerships and use cases not readily available to many competing crypto networks. Intersect and Pragma also help support the project.

As far back as 2021, Cardano was making headlines for its partnerships with governments and businesses. Ethiopia’s Minister of Education confirmed that they are working with Cardano to build a blockchain-based system to track student performance.

Bearish Arguments Surrounding Cardano


Is Cardano dead? Bullish arguments suggest the opposite. However, several bearish arguments point to its frustratingly slow development pace and limited app ecosystem compared to Ethereum, Ethereum L2s, and Solana.

Slow Development Pace

The most vocal critics point to Cardano’s slow development pace. Meanwhile, snail-like production speeds have helped the network earn its well-deserved reputation for stability. However, slower development will likely also hamper the price movement.

Tokens for similar networks, like Solana, trade on hype and gains in total value locked (TVL), a measurement of network smart contract usage. Ethereum leads in TVL, with more than 60% of TVL for all chains. Solana is fourth, with just under five percent of TVL for all chains. By comparison, Cardano is grouped with “Others,” ranking 29th in TVL.

tvl all chains

Limited dApp Ecosystem on Cardano

TVL on Cardano is hampered by two main factors: a limited number of decentralized applications (dApps) and the lack of a well-known stablecoin on the chain. The Mehen USD-backed stablecoin’s recent launch could help grow activity on the network and increase the selection of dApps on Cardano. However, the popular USDT and USDC stablecoin tokens are not available on Cardano.

The lack of dApps compared to similar networks and the tumbleweed wasteland of failed tokens on Cardano have led many to refer to the token as a dead coin and to the network as a “ghost chain.”

Adoption Barriers

Cardano is not compatible with Ethereum Virtual Machine (EVM) and uses its own programming language. This combination makes it difficult to attract a developer base and prevents well-known apps from being migrated from Ethereum. While transactions are much more affordable than Ethereum, many transactions are costlier than on Solana or Ethereum L2 networks.

Adoption remains a challenge for Cardano investors, with its largest dApp (Minswap) measuring just $54 million in TVL. By comparison, Lido, the largest dApp on Ethereum, boasts $29 billion in TVL, and Jito on Solana has more than $1.6 billion in total value locked.

Is Cardano a Good Investment in 2024?

Although Cardano still has adoption challenges, the stability and scaling initiatives for the chain make it well-suited to real-world initiatives looking for a blockchain-based solution. Early investors have enjoyed massive gains from launch to peak trading volumes, but even the earliest buyers have seen less than 20x on their investment.

Is Cardano a good investment going forward? Several factors could drive prices in the future.

  • Decentralization: The final named era for the Cardano project paves the way for decentralization, with the community voting on proposals. This could create additional demand for ADA, which would serve as both a fuel token and a governance token.
  • Mehen stablecoin: The absence of a stablecoin has stifled DeFi growth on Cardano. Many other chains have USDC or USDT, whereas Cardano has neither. However, the introduction of the Mehen stablecoin could bring more DeFi activity to the chain.
  • Continued real-world use cases: With the Cardano Foundation’s and Ermurgo’s support, Cardano will likely see more real-world use cases, each of which creates more demand for ADA tokens.

Many still consider Cardano a blue-chip crypto, and Cardano remains a top-ten cryptocurrency by market capitalization. Those two characteristics could bring more Cardano buyers looking for safer alternatives in the crypto space.

Conclusion


So, is Cardano dead? No, it’s not dead and shows many promising reasons to invest. Cardano’s reputation for stability and security and its real-world uses suggest continued slow and steady growth for ADA’s price. However, Cardano may not be well-suited to those seeking parabolic moves.

The relative stability of Cardano compared to other cryptocurrencies is a selling point for some investors, particularly those interested in limiting downside risk. Cardano isn’t dead; instead, it moves at its own pace.

FAQs

Will Cardano ever recover?

Many expect continued growth for Cardano. However, based on market trends and past price performance, growth is expected to be more measured relative to the volatility of the broader crypto market.

Has Cardano got a future?

Yes. Cardano has built one of the most secure blockchain protocols in the blockchain space and has proven to be exceptionally reliable. This dependability makes Cardano well-suited to real-world use cases that create demand for the ADA token.

Is Cardano destined to fail?

No. Although Cardano seldom sees the dramatic price moves frequently seen with other cryptocurrencies, this doesn’t point to failure. The project is alive and well, with Cardano’s partners actively seeking real-world use cases for one of the most reliable blockchains.

Is now a good time to invest in Cardano?

Cardano’s price is still relatively low, and the circulating supply is within eight billion tokens of the maximum supply. Prices are likely to increase as new supply dwindles and growth continues for the Cardano blockchain.

References

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