Cardano vs Bitcoin - What's The Difference?

Salomon Kisters
Salomon Kisters
Oct 5, 2023

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Cardano and Bitcoin are two of the most prominent cryptocurrencies in the market today.

While both of them operate on blockchain technology, they differ in various aspects.

In this blog post, we will delve into the details and explore the key differences between Cardano and Bitcoin.

By understanding these differences, you can make informed decisions about which cryptocurrency aligns best with your goals and preferences.

The Purpose and Goals

Cardano: Building the Future of Finance

Cardano, often dubbed as the “Ethereum Killer,” aims to transform the financial landscape by offering a scalable and sustainable platform for decentralized applications (dApps) and smart contracts. Its founder, Charles Hoskinson, envisions Cardano as an all-inclusive ecosystem to empower individuals and institutions worldwide. Its focus lies in bringing together regulatory compliance, scientific philosophy, and cutting-edge technology to create a secure and versatile blockchain network.

Bitcoin: The Digital Gold

Bitcoin, introduced by the mysterious Satoshi Nakamoto, is the first-ever decentralized cryptocurrency. Its primary purpose is to act as a peer-to-peer digital currency, allowing individuals to transact directly without intermediaries. Bitcoin’s main goal is to provide an open and censorship-resistant financial system that is not under the control of any centralized authority. It revolutionized the concept of digital scarcity, introducing the world to the concept of a limited supply of coins through the process of mining.

Consensus Mechanisms

Cardano: Ouroboros Proof-of-Stake

Cardano utilizes a consensus algorithm called Ouroboros, which is a Proof-of-Stake (PoS) mechanism. Ouroboros enables the network to achieve consensus and validate transactions through a process known as staking. In PoS, participants called stakeholders are selected to create new blocks based on the number of ADA (Cardano’s native token) they hold and are willing to lock up as collateral. The selection process is proven to be secure and energy-efficient, resulting in a more sustainable blockchain.

Bitcoin: Nakamoto Consensus Proof-of-Work

Bitcoin relies on the Nakamoto Consensus, a Proof-of-Work (PoW) mechanism, to achieve consensus among network participants. Miners compete with each other to solve complex mathematical puzzles, and the first one to find the solution gets to add the next block to the blockchain. This process requires substantial computational power and energy consumption. While Proof-of-Work has proven to be secure, it has been criticized for its environmental impact due to the extensive energy requirements.

Scalability and Throughput

Cardano: Layered Approach

Cardano is designed with scalability in mind, using a layered architecture. The first layer, called the Cardano Settlement Layer (CSL), handles ADA transactions, while the second layer, called the Cardano Computation Layer (CCL), supports smart contracts and dApps. This separation allows Cardano to upgrade or optimize each layer independently, preventing congestion and bottlenecks. Additionally, Cardano incorporates a consensus-driven mechanism called Hydra, which aims to increase scalability further.

Bitcoin: Limited Scalability

Bitcoin, on the other hand, has faced scalability challenges due to its limited block size and block time. With only a limited number of transactions that can be included in each block, the network can become congested during times of high demand. This situation often results in higher transaction fees and longer confirmation times. Several solutions, such as the Lightning Network, have been proposed to address this issue, but they are still in the early stages of implementation.

Smart Contract Capabilities

Cardano: Plutus and Marlowe

One of Cardano’s distinctive features is its support for smart contracts, which are self-executing contracts with predefined conditions. Cardano offers two programming languages for building smart contracts - Plutus and Marlowe. Plutus is a general-purpose programming language, similar to Ethereum’s Solidity, that allows developers to build complex and customizable dApps. Marlowe, on the other hand, is a domain-specific language specifically designed for creating financial contracts with pre-built templates and user-friendly interfaces.

Bitcoin: Limited Smart Contract Support

Bitcoin, in its original form, does not natively support smart contracts to the extent that Cardano does. While Bitcoin’s scripting language allows for basic conditional transactions and multisig wallets, it does not offer the same level of functionality as Ethereum or Cardano. However, innovative solutions like Rootstock (RSK) have been developed as sidechains to enable smart contract functionality on the Bitcoin network, albeit with some trade-offs in terms of decentralization.

Governance and Development

Cardano: Transparent and Decentralized

Cardano’s governance model is centered around a decentralized decision-making process. It employs a mechanism known as the Cardano Improvement Proposal (CIP) system, where any stakeholder can propose changes or improvements to the network. These proposals undergo a voting phase, allowing the community to decide on their implementation. Additionally, the Cardano Foundation, IOHK, and EMURGO play key roles in research, development, and adoption, ensuring a collaborative and transparent approach to decision-making.

Bitcoin: Community-Driven Development

Bitcoin’s governance structure is decentralized as well, with a strong emphasis on community-driven development. Anyone can contribute to the Bitcoin codebase, and important decisions are made through rough consensus. The Bitcoin Core Development team, consisting of a group of experienced developers, spearheads the development process. However, reaching consensus on contentious changes can sometimes be challenging and lead to the divergence of opinions within the community.


In conclusion, while both Cardano and Bitcoin operate on blockchain technology, their differences lie in their intended purposes, consensus mechanisms, scalability, smart contract capabilities, and governance models. Cardano aims to revolutionize the financial landscape through a scalable and sustainable infrastructure, supporting advanced smart contracts and fostering transparency. Bitcoin, on the other hand, primarily focuses on providing a decentralized and censorship-resistant digital currency. Each cryptocurrency offers unique features and value propositions, so it is essential to consider your specific goals and requirements before deciding which one is the right fit for you.

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Please note that the Content may have been generated with the Help of AI. The editorial content of OriginStamp AG does not constitute a recommendation for investment or purchase advice. In principle, an investment can also lead to a total loss. Therefore, please seek advice before making an investment decision.

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