Ever since the updation of the Cardano (ADA) network in September 2021, the blockchain platform has received the capability of creating smart contracts. The upgrade known as Cardano Alonzo has brought Cardano one step closer to truly becoming the “Ethereum Killer.”

Cardano blockchain, right from its launch in 2017, has been touted as the “Ethereum Killer” on the back of the premise that it improves the Ethereum infrastructure – with improvements like lesser fees, higher scalability, and better transaction speed and throughput. Now, by launching its own smart contract capability, Cardano has come in direct competition with Ethereum. 

Before we get down to what the Cardano smart contracts consist of and how to build one, let us compare it with the platform enterprises have traditionally used to create and deploy smart contracts – Ethereum. 

Lessons that Cardano blockchain has learned from Ethereum

The foundation of Cardano use cases is that it aims to be better than Ethereum. Now, in order to be that, it was important for the former to adopt some of the strong points that the latter comes with. 


The network is divided into two layers – CSL (Cardano Settlement Layer) used for ADA transfers and CCL (Cardano Computation Layer) used for creating ADA smart contracts. This separate activities-wise division makes running operations on both layers more efficient. On the contrary, Ethereum handled both smart contract and ETH transactions on the same layer, leading to higher fees and congestion. 


Cardano blockchain uses a proof-of-stake consensus mechanism known as Ouroboros that decides how the new transactions will be agreed upon and added to the blockchain services. Here, the users don’t mine tokens; they follow a block-validation process by staking the native token – something that makes blockchain more energy efficient, cost-effective, and scalable. 


Compared to other blockchain platforms, Cardano uses a scientific peer-reviewed process before releasing any new update, product, or service. This gives the developers confidence that when they create smart contracts on Cardano, they will be backed by documentation and industry-wide validation from other computer scientists and developers.

Now that we have looked at how Cardano use cases draw inspiration from Ethereum and act as its upgraded version, let us get down to the details of Cardano smart contracts, such as – what are Cardano ADA smart contracts, how to create Cardano smart contracts, and the Cardano programming language.

What are Cardano smart contracts?

Cardano smart contracts, or ADA smart contracts as it’s commonly called, function similarly to the Ethereum blockchain. They act as virtual agreements that happen between two or more parties. In the approach, the outputs are executed when the prerequisite conditions are met – the outputs and conditions which sit on the Cardano ADA smart contracts. 

The benefits of Cardano blockchain, which also reason out how to create smart contracts, range from:

  • The absence of middlemen to maintain contracts 
  • When you create smart contracts, they lay on a decentralized network, meaning they are free from tampering
  • Compared to real-world contracts, the execution of smart contracts is a lot faster
  • With the data stored on a decentralized network, you can be rest assured that they are stored permanently, along with their backups

Now to build these highly efficient smart contracts, there are three Cardano programming languages that come into play –

Plutus – It is a purpose-driven smart contract development platform. It is powered by modern language research that provides a full-stack programming environment on the basis of Haskell, a leading functional language. Plutus comprises elements that run on the blockchain and some elements which run on the user’s machine.

Marlowe – It is a domain-specific language used to create smart contracts visually and through traditional codes. The Marlowe language has been designed to be embedded in both Haskell and JavaScript, offering the editors a choice in preference and skillset. 

Glow – It is a new domain-specific language for creating decentralized applications on the blockchain. With the language, the developers can code secure dApps ensuring that the smart contracts operate safely in the adversarial environment.

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