This is a list of common terms and concepts related to Cardano that you should know to have a clear understanding of how the ecosystem works.


The name of the crypto currency of the Cardano blockchain. Named after the english mathematician and writer, Ada Lovelace.

1 ADA = 1,000,000 Lovelaces


A type of network data-structure that contains information about ADA ownership, transaction output, network type and delegation preferences. 


A collection of binary data that is self-contained, uniquely identifiable and has value.  


The fourth (4th) phase of Cardano development. This phase will introduce performance enhancements. Named after Matsuo Basho the most famous poet of the Edo period in Japan.


Byzantine Fault Tolerance is a property of a network system that allows for some elements of the network to fail or act maliciously without harming the network as a whole.


A block is a container for the records related to recent transactions. Each block contains not only transaction records but also information about the previous block and, as each new block is verified by the network, it is added to the chain.


The initial bootstrap phase, or phase one of the Cardano network. Named after the British poet, peer and politician, Lord Byron.


The process by which the networks nodes come to an agreement on the state of the network and on which blocks should be produced. Cardano uses the Ouroboros protocol to achieve consensus.


The total amount of stake delegated to a stake pool. This includes any pledge the operator may have made plus the stake delegated to the pool by other delegators.


The fixed fee, denominated in ADA, charged by a pool to delegators. The fee is subtracted from the epochs rewards total before the profit margin is applied. 


Daedalus is a wallet for the ADA cryptocurrency that allows you to send, receive, store and delegate your holdings. The Daedalus wallet is a full node, it manages a full copy of the Cardano blockchain. Daedalus is good for people who are new to Cardano since it is very user friendly.


A decentralized application also known as a smart contract. dApps were popularized by Ethereum and can now be found on a variety of blockchain platforms.


Delegation is the act of assigning the stake associated with your ADA holdings to a stake pool so it can earn rewards for participating in the network. 


A period of time defined by a set number of slots. On the Cardano blockchain an epoch consists of four hundred thirty-two thousand (432,000) slots which takes approximately five (5) days.  


Every transaction costs a fee to process. Transaction fees are used to prevent attacks on the network by introducing a small cost that would become prohibitively expensive when abused on a large scale.


A fungible token is a digital asset that is built so that each individual token or fraction of a token is equivalent to the next. For example, one (1) ADA held by person "A" is equal to one (1) ADA held by person "B".


The third (3rd) phase of Cardano development. This phase will introduce smart contracts. This phase is named after American computer scientist and professor, Joseph Goguen.  


A hard fork is a backwards incompatible update that makes a fundamental change to the way the cryptocurrency works. Cardano had a hard fork to transition from Byron to Shelley.


A way to encourage individuals to participate in the system by rewarding them with a return that is proportional to their investment. 


The ability to access and share information across different blockchain networks without the need for intermediaries.


The ledger is a distributed database that is operated in a decentralized manner by multiple nodes across numerous locations.


The smallest unit of the ADA crypto currency. Named after the english mathematician and writer, Ada Lovelace.

1 Lovelace = 0.000001 ADA


Marlowe is a domain-specific programming language developed for the purpose of writing financial smart contracts.


A unique digital asset with blockchain managed ownership that represents such things as a collectible card, digital art, event tickets, or records of physical assets. A non-fungible token cannot be divided into smaller parts.


Ouroboros Byzantine Fault Tolerant protocol. A version of the Ouroboros protocol that includes byzantine fault tolerance.


A provably secure proof-of-stake consensus protocol. The Cardano blockchain uses Ouroboros to provide the mechanics for stake delegation, stake pools, incentives and rewards.


The performance metric measures stake pools and shows what percent of slots assigned to a pool are successfully made by that pool. For example, if a stake pool is assigned four (4) slots, but only makes two (2) of them, the "performance" of that pool would be fifty percent (50%).


It is the amount of ADA committed to the stake pool by the operator. The pool operators do not need to include a pledge to operate a pool but, if they do, they must make sure to maintain their own delegated stake above this number so their pools are able to mint blocks.


A Turing-complete programming platform designed for writing smart contracts using functional programming methods. Plutus is based on the Haskell programming language.


The number of blocks a stake pool has successfully produced in the current epoch.


Also known as the "pool tax". The profit margin is the percentage of the total rewards that the operator takes after the fixed fee has been applied but before the rewards are distributed to delegators.


Proof-of-stake is a type of consensus mechanism used to reach agreement on which records should be added to the blockchain. Proof-of-stake reaches consensus based on the stake or wealth of the network’s participants. 


The methods implemented in a blockchain network that are used to reach consensus and validate transactions. Cardano uses the Ouroboros protocol and its variants in its blockchain network.  


The amount of ADA contained in each new block that is paid out to stake pools and delegators for participating in the network.  


The point at which a stake pool has more than the ideal amount of stake in it and its rewards to delegators start to diminish.


The creation of liquid asset back securities from pools of illiquid assets.  


A digital asset that gets its value from an external asset that can be traded. Often representing stocks, bonds, or other revenue sharing assets. Security tokens are subject to federal regulations and must be issued accordingly.


The second (2nd) phase of Cardano development. In this phase Cardano will become a decentralized network. Named after Percy Bysshe Shelley, who is widely regarded as one of the greatest philosophical poets in the english language.


A period of time within an epoch. There are four hundred thirty-two thousand (432,000) slots in an epoch.  


The slot leader is the stake pool that has been elected to create a block at a given slot. The slot leader election at the beginning of each epoch determines which stake pool is elected to lead which slot during that epoch.


A soft fork is a backwards compatible update that makes changes to the way the cryptocurrency works, in a way that does not conflict with existing blockchain rules.


A reliable block producing network node that holds the combined stake of various stake holders in a single entity.


A fungible or non-fungible tradable asset that can also be used as a payment unit, reward, or store of information.


The representation of real-world assets as tokens.


Transactions-per-second. The number of transactions a blockchain can process in a second. 


Also known as a "Tx". A transaction represents the action of sending or receiving funds on the network. All transactions are visible in the blockchain network explorer.  


A portion of the rewards earned each epoch is reserved for the treasury. The treasury reserves will be used to fund future network and ecosystem development and improvements. The current treasury take is twenty percent (20%) per epoch.  


A token that is issued to fund the development of a project and then is later used to purchase goods or services from said project once it is completed.          


"(U)nspent (Tx)ransaction (O)utput," or the amount of cryptocurrency you have left in your wallet after making a transaction.


The fifth (5th) phase of Cardano development. In this phase Cardano will incorporate the treasury and governance into the network. Also known as François-Marie Arouet, Voltaire was a French enlightenment writer, philosopher, and historian.


A web lite wallet for Cardano running as a browser extension in Chrome and Firefox that supports hardware wallets.