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From the Cardano roadmap:

Cardano is a third-generation blockchain, created from the ground up using research, peer-review, and a rigorous formal development model. The story began in 2015, with a vision of addressing the three strategic challenges facing all blockchain networks: scalability, interoperability, and sustainability. Two years, thousands of GitHub commits, and hundreds of hours of study later, the first version of Cardano shipped in September 2017, and the Byron era began.

The first incarnation of Cardano allowed users to buy and sell the ada cryptocurrency – so named for revolutionary programmer Ada Lovelace – on a federated network running the groundbreaking Ouroboros consensus protocol. The heart of the Cardano network, Ouroboros is the first proof-of-stake protocol created on the basis of academic research, with a mathematically-proven level of security.

The Byron era also saw the delivery of the Daedalus wallet, IOHK’s official desktop wallet for ada, as well as Yoroi, a light wallet from IOHK’s sister company Emurgo designed for quick transactions and day-to-day use.

As much as the Byron era was about the first crucial technology developments, it was also about building a community and getting people involved in creating the blockchain of the future. Cardano has grown from a small group of enthusiasts to a global community, with ada hosted on more than 30 exchanges and with an average market capitalization that makes it one of the leading cryptocurrencies in the world.

SCRAPE: Scalable Randomness Attested by Public Entities

This paper discusses the difficulty of finding a reliable public randomness source that can be trusted to remain unbiased by potential adverse behavior, and a secret-sharing scheme to address the issue.

Ouroboros: A Provably Secure Proof-of-Stake Blockchain Protocol

The original Ouroboros research paper, outlining the first proof-of-stake blockchain protocol with rigorous security guarantees, as well as a novel reward mechanism for incentivizing honest protocol engagement from the network.

The Bitcoin Backbone Protocol with Chains of Variable Difficulty

A formal analysis of bitcoin’s target recalculation function in the cryptographic setting, extending the q-bounded synchronous model of the bitcoin backbone protocol.

Checking Laws of the Blockchain with Property-Based Testing

A paper covering how to use property-based testing in the context of blockchain protocols, including examples and general descriptions of the laws that blockchain and blockchain-like systems should be expected to satisfy.

A Formal Specification of the Cardano Ledger

A formal specification defining the rules for extending a ledger with transactions, as implemented in the Byron release of the Cardano Ledger.

Specification of the Blockchain Layer

A formal specification that formalizes the definition of a valid block, and what is required for it to be added to the blockchain, in the scope of the Byron era and the transition to the Shelley era of Cardano.

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