There are a lot of wierd words used in Cardano as placeholders for different parts of the system. Of course, the world of blockchain is complicated, so some would say that using hard to remember and hard to spell words as well can make things a little confusing. Well, we're here to help. This is a short list of all the most commonly used words and phrases and a quick reminder of what they mean, with links where applicable. A great way to see an overview of the original plan is Charles' whiteboard from Oct 2017 - he says a lot of words in it.
In the Byron phase the Cardano protocol is created and is supported by servers run by IOHK. At this point the only coin is ADA, and it runs a UTXO protocol. While new transactions are created by centralised servers anybody can install a Daedalus wallet which downloads and verifies the full blockchain. During this phase a lot of polishing goes into the way the blockchain is stored and the asthetics and speed of the experience. Little known fact: Lord Byron was the father of Ada Lovelace.
In this phase the team will tackle the scalability problem which is a key area of concern in all blockchain projects. There is always a trade-off between speed, decentralisation and security. In highly decentalised systems it takes time for a transaction to propagate around the network, so reducing the block time or increasing the block size reduces security unless you cut the number of nodes. A new version of Ouroboros called Ouroboros Praos will be introduced, which will support multiple paralell blockchains, eventually allowing unlimited scalability.
Yoroi is an ADA only light wallet that runs as a Google Chrome extension, so it works with any browser which supports Chrome Extensions, such as Chrome or Firefox. The main things about it are that it is very easy to install, easy to use, and it supports Hardware Wallets like the Ledger Nano S. This is a very well known and commonly used hardware wallet, and its generally accepted that hardware wallets are the most secure way to hold your private keys. You can install Yoroi here
Exodus is a great looking very easy to use multi-asset wallet that allows you to store your own private keys and hold lots of different currencies in one place. It supports all the ERC20 tokens as well as most of the major currencies, including ADA. For ADA as well as several other currencies it also supports staking, so with no extra hassle you get your rewards as well. It can also hold your NFTs, which is a great bonus. It doesn't allow you to trade them, but if you buy them in the wallet it will lock them until you want to transfer them out, then help you do it.
Exodus also supports the Trezor hardware wallet, and allows quick in-wallet swaps between currencies so if you have some Ether or Bitcoin (or anything really) you can quickly swap it for ADA. Overall, an excellent wallet choice. Download it here
Infinito is a fairly popular wallet for Android or Apple phones which supports a reasonable range of currencies including Cardano. There's no hardware wallet support, but the private keys are held in encrypted format on the local device so you are in control. You can also create friendly addresses in your address book, and they have a gateway to fiat (which I haven't tried). You can install Infinito from the Play store, or App store. The website is here
Atomic advertises itself as a Universal Cryptocurrency Wallet and it supports lots of currencies. Apart from a long list of the major currencies you can also add any ERC20 token, so there is a good choice. You can choose the ones you want to show and hide the rest. You can also buy with fiat using a credit or debit card. Also atomic swaps from one currency to another work easily and quickly with a 2% fee. Its pretty good. It also works on a wide range of operating systems including Windows, Mac, Ubuntu, Debian, and Fedora. The website is here
Seiza is a new blockchain explorer for Cardano. Blockchain explorers tend to be quite utilitarian in their approach, but this one is promised to be a bit more user friendly. Better looking and more accessible to people who maybe don't want to be faced with huge lists of digits and letters. At the time of writing its not here yet, so we have to wait.
Project Catalyst is at the centre of the Voltaire phase. It's purpose is to bring as many people as possible together into an effective decision making team to choose how to spend money to improve the ecosystem. When ada is generated during the creation of blocks a percentage (known as t) is kept back for the treasury. This then becomes available to spend on projects which allow the system to be developed then advertised to the world. Project Catalyst is the collaboration and voting system which has been created under the Ideascale umbrella to make effective generation and selection of ideas possible.
QED is the very tentative title of a project to build a computer system that effectively represents all important mathematical knowledge and techniques. The QED system will conform to the highest standards of mathematical rigor, including the use of strict formality in the internal representation of knowledge and the use of mechanical methods to check proofs of the correctness of all entries in the system. Ambitiously, it intends to become a repository for all mathematical knowledge.
Marlowe is a language for writing smart contracts. It runs inside Plutus, but is streamlined and simplified. As a result its a GREAT place to start if you really want to learn about how smart contracts are built, and why Cardano is better than the competition. To help you out, I have created a step by step tutorial about Marlowe, so you can get a good look at it. The idea is to give you all the tools you need to build a financial contract in a form that you can learn, rather than a complete programming language which has hidden traps.
There are two pieces of software developed as clients to support the Ouroborus protocol once Shelley is released. One is written in Rust, the other in Haskell. Jormungandr is the Rust client. The two programs were developed in parallel because this allows them to be compared both with each other and with the specification at the same time. Differences are then discussed to ensure the right decision is made where it is open to opinion. Jormungandr was finished a little more quickly, so it is the one used in the first Testnet. The word Jormungandr comes from the Midgard Serpent in Norse mythology, chosen to complement Ouroborus, which is an Egyptian snake. Here is a good video explaining how to install it.
Tangata Manu is a codebase library for use by developers who want to develop wallets and explorers which link to the Cardano blockchain. It allows programmers to quickly upload the blockchain into a local database via an API, then keep it up to date. This allows projects to be developed which use a copy of the blockchain kept locally and serve it within an application. Tangata Manu is open source, download it on git.
The Plutus Application Backend is the software which can be included in an application to allow it to run smart contracts written in Plutus. Smart contracts are supported by the blockchain and their rules are processed on the Cardano Computation Layer, but when an interface is being provided to the user it will need two parts to be developed to run locally as part of the application. These are the Application Backend, which is the bit that talks to the blockchain, and the Application Frontend, which is the user interface. The PAB, then, is a toolset which enables these Apps to be developed. The obvious use for it is in Wallets, to allow them to support smart contracts, but any software taking advantage os smart contract functionality is likely to need it.
Adrestia is an API. It has been developed as a bridge between higher level applications and the blockchain. If you are running a Cardano Node and you want to develop software which talks to it, like a wallet, but in fact any application which wants to see and spend ADA, you can install Adrestia and use the toolset to make your life easier. If you want to build an exchange, or build links to smart contracts, Adrestia is a great place to start. You can download it on git or You can find more information about it in the Cardano Documentation pages.
Ouroboros is the much hailed and well researched Delegated Proof Of Stake model used by Cardano to mine transactions. The problem faced by all currencies is that everybody wants some, and many are willing to lie and cheat to get them. The currency has to find a way to verify that the funds are real and the total amount can't increase. Governments do this by having a central bank, which prints the new money and checks up on everybody. Bitcoin does it using a Proof Of Work system. Here is my simplified Bitcoin walkthough.
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