Did you know that Cardano has NFTs? Now you do.
The Alonzo upgrade increased scalability, speed, and last but not least smart contracts. The smart contracts platform has grown significantly reaching 1000 contracts in the first four months.
In this article, we aim to provide you with an overview of popular Cardano apps, Wallets, DEXs, NFT-Marketplaces, Metaverses, Games, and other interesting projects on the Cardano blockchain.
Moreover, make sure to check out the images at the end of this article to find more interesting Cardano projects.
Cardano Smart Contracts Introduction
Plutus is the smart contract platform of the Cardano blockchain. It allows creators to write applications that interact with the Cardano blockchain.
The smart contracts consist of on-chain parts that run on the blockchain and off-chain code that run on the user’s machine. Both are written in the programming language Haskell.
The Cardano network is secured and powered by the ADA currency.
To name a few categories wherein Cardano decentralized apps (dapps) are being developed: DeFi, Games and GameFi, NFTs and Marketplaces, Metaverses, Voting and Governance, and more.
A great website for finding new dapps on Cardano is Built on Cardano.
The website CardanoCrowd is also helpful, as it offers a list of upcoming Initial Coin Offerings (ICOs) on Cardano.
DappRadar is a great website for finding dapps in general, although filtering Cardano-specific dapps is not possible yet.
Wallets for Cardano
We list the most popular Cardano wallets here. It all comes down to personal preferences for which one to use. Some people would like to run a full node client like Deadalus, while others prefer a lightweight Cardano wallet that runs in the browser, i.e. Yoroi.
The wallets in this list are all non-custodial, unlike an exchange. Having a non-custodial wallet (also) provides users with the benefit of not losing their funds whan an exchange falls. You can still lose your funds when you do not keep your seed phrase to yourself, of course.
AdaLite is an open-source online cross-browser Cardano wallet that supports most hardware wallets like Trezor, Bitbox, and Ledger.
It allows people to store their funds online and use them in staking in pools they select themselves. If you do not want to select your own pool to delegate to, you can use AdaLite’s own staking pools.
In addition, you can vote on protocol proposals directly from the wallet.
Unfortunately, AdaLite does not provide users with a list of available staking pools. Its ease-of-use and simple design make AdaLite one of the top Cardano wallets in the space. The wallet is highly secure and accessible from anywhere.
Yoroi is a fast and simple open-source wallet that comes in the form of an extension for all major web browsers.
Yoroi lets you vote and stake your ADA, and offers a delegation pool list to choose where to stake your ADA. You can create a new wallet or import an existing one based on a 15-word seed phrase. It also offers hardware wallet support.
Daedalus is the official full node Cardano wallet developed by IOHK. Unlike light wallets (Yoroi, Adalite, etc.) Daedalus downloads a full copy of the blockchain and independently validates every transaction in its history.
This way you get maximum security and completely trustless operation, without centrally hosted 3rd party servers.
Therefore there is no web interface available. You need to download the software, available for Windows, Linux, and macOS. It does not have a mobile version although there is a planned release for Android and iOS.
Daedalus is the most advanced and complete Cardano wallet.
Nami is probably the most simple Cardano wallet on our list. It’s a Chrome-browser-based wallet extension to interact with the blockchain.
It can be used to send and store multiple assets. Smart contract support is not available at the time of writing.
Nami uses a single address per wallet, while the other wallets in this list offer multiple addresses per wallet. Therefore you need to make multiple accounts if you want to use multiple addresses.
Nami allows only one staking pool (their own) in-app, but it is possible to use external staking interfaces if you’d want to stake with other staking pools. It also offers hardware wallet support.
Eternl (formerly known as ccVault) is raising in popularity. It is a great Cardano web wallet built by community members for the whole community.
That community is leading: Eternl.io wants to establish itself as a major wallet by implementing features requested by the Cardano community.
The interface might look a bit complex when you are just starting to use this wallet.
Eternl offers all features you would expect, including staking and dapp support. It comes as an extension for Chrome, Edge, Brave, and Opera (unfortunately not yet Firefox) and also has an Android and iOS mobile app.
It also offers hardware wallet support.
Explorers for Cardano
Explorers allow anyone to browse and explore all of the Cardano blockchain’s transactions.
Wallet addresses, transaction IDs (TX IDs), block numbers, epoch numbers (a 5-day rewards cycle), stake pool ticker, token ticker, and staking keys can all be used to search and explore the blockchain.
When they have the information, users can additionally search for particular assets and transaction details. APIs may be used by developers to scrape data from the Cardano blockchain.
Official Cardano Explorer
The official explorer created is simply called Cardano Explorer. The IOHK-developed block explorer allows the user to search for and browse epochs, blocks, addresses, and transactions.
A very popular alternative for the official explorer is Cardanoscan.
ADAex is a lightweight Cardano Explorer. It features a unique ADA Richlist.
This is a useful tool to explore and compare different ADA staking pools. ADA pools is an independent tool containing a wealth of blockchain metrics and explorers, with a focus around stake pools.
It also offers a NFT, DEX, and Cardano tokens explorer. Make sure to read the extensive guide to staking ADA with Cardano.
Initial Stake Pool Offerings are unique to the Cardano blockchain because of its unique stake pool delegation structure.
An ISPO is a new fundraising mechanism that allows delegators of PoS network to divert staking rewards towards a project of their choice and get project tokens in return. It’s a convenient way to receive funding for a project.
ISPOs are only possible on the Cardano blockchain because of its unique stake pool delegation structure.
Check out the latest Cardano ISPO Projects.
OpenCNFT & CNFT Tools
OpenCNFT is a clean and simple tool that ranks Cardano NFT projects by sales volume, floor price, and quantity of NFTs sold.
Data can be viewed over 24hrs, 7 days, or 30 days.
At the time of writing, it tracks over 4300 NFT projects. A good alternative CNFT market aggregator is CNFT Tools.
If you are looking for a complete Cardano token list, Cardano Assets is the best. It offers a complete searchable library of native assets where results can be sorted by a variety of metrics and users can deep dive into each asset.
DeFi: Cardano DEXs, Yield Farming, Lending and Borrowing
These projects fall in categories 2 and 3 of the top DeFi-categories. DeFi forms the core of financial functionalities that previously needed centralized intermediaries.
Since the launch of smart contracts on Cardano, a lot of decentralized exchanges (DEX) and instant-swaps have already been built on Cardano.
DEXs and Swaps are popular because you can get newer tokens before they appear on centralized exchanges, do not need KYC (Know Your Customer), and it’s non-custodial (You own the keys). For new projects, it’s a good way to list new tokens through a so-called launchpad.
On centralized exchanges, it is the exchange that provides liquidity to make trading in various trading pairs available.
There is no central party in a DEX, so funding liquidity to facilitate decentralized trading takes place by the DEX rewarding liquidity providers with a minimum percentage of the fees of trades taking place on the platform and thus earning a passive income on the deposit.
Decentralized lending and borrowing on Cardano is also becoming popular; you can use your funds as collateral to take out a loan without trusting intermediaries or risk financial censorship.
Many Cardano DeFi projects are being developed as we speak. We highlight a few projects to do various DeFi operations like swapping tokens, Cardano launchpads, and earning on Cardano’s DeFi ecosystem.
Ray Network aims to be an advanced DeFi ecosystem for Cardano. Exchanges, API provisioning, a wallet, staking, minting tools, SDKs for developers; they have it all.
Moreover, an aggregator is available, finding the best price for swapping Cardano tokens across all Cardano DEXs.
One can earn ADA and XRAY through ISPO (initial stake pool offering). Just stake your ADA at the [RAY] pool.
Go here if you want all Cardano DeFi features in one ecosystem.
SundaeSwap went live in January 2022. The DEX aims to become the leading exchange on Cardano and also the center of IDOs for new projects.
MuesliSwap is one of the first decentralized exchanges on the Cardano blockchain that enables you to trade your favorite Cardano tokens.
ADAX has had its IEO (initial exchange offering) in June 2021. Since then they build both a DEX and a CEX. The project also offers a Cardano ERC20 converter to migrate Ethereum tokens to the Cardano chain as well as a token launchpad
- Token: ADAX
- Tokenomics – see whitepaper (chapter 8)
- Supported wallets: Nami, CCVault, Gero
MELD is what Aave is for the Ethereum chain. It offers a non-custodial, banking protocol. You can securely lend & borrow both crypto and fiat currencies. MELD tokens are used for governance and earning yield when lending.
Understanding all different opportunities of DeFi can be daunting. A good introduction to the concept of DeFi is in the eBook “How to DeFi: Beginner”. You can find a link to it in the Books section.
NFT (Cardano NFT) Marketplaces
Below is a list of the best and most popular Cardano marketplaces.
Currently, JPG Store is the largest NFT marketplace built on Cardano. There are no delays, no escrow, and no KYC. A cool feature for creators is the JPG Launchpad. It is not possible to mint directly via the marketplace itself.
Supported wallets: Nami, ccVault, Flint
Fees: network fee, 2% sale fee, 2-5% royalty fee
CNFT was one of the first NFT marketplaces launched on Cardano in July 2021. It is the 2nd largest Cardano NFT Marketplace based on volume. You need to make an account first and CNFT has basic KYC. Soon, users will be able to mint NFT collections directly on CNFT. It is also working on a launchpad.
Supported wallets: Nami, ccVault, Flint, (Yoroi), (Gero)
Fees: network fee, 2.5% sale fee, 2-5% royalty fee, smart contract fees
Cardahub is also founded in 2021 and is definitely in the current top 3 of Cardano marketplaces. A good thing is that CardaHub enforces validation for the uniqueness of the asset minted. It is not clear if other NFT marketplaces do this as well. In addition, CardaHub offers minting of NFTs directly on the marketplace as well as a launchpad. No account needed.
Supported wallets: Nami, ccVault, Gero, (Flint), (Yoroi)
Fees: only network fee
Tokhun is a pretty impressive newcomer in the list of Cardano NFT Marketplaces. Tokhun was initially designed as an NFT minting platform but rapidly evolved into a smart-contract-driven NFT marketplace. They offer a lot of features, are transparent, and improve based on their communities feedback. Unfortunately, you need an account and can only register with GitHub or Google.
Supported wallets: uses no non-custodial wallets
Fees: 2 ₳ per single unique NFT, 2.5% or 2 ₳ per sale (whichever one is higher)
Galaxy of Art
Galaxy of Art claims to be the biggest Cardano NFT-marketplace and environmentally friendly digital marketplace, but in reality, it is (still) one of the smaller smaller NFT marketplaces. Its greatest benefit is that it can act interoperably. This is a concept of allowing blockchains to be compatible with each other. You need to create an account and do KYC first. In the current state, some of the functionalities are broken, CryptoSpace does not recommend this marketplace.
Supported wallets: uses no non-custodial wallets
Metaverses on Cardano
Throughout modern history, especially since the arrival of electronic computers, lots have been written about Metaverses.
What is a metaverse you might think. In short a metaverse is a collective virtual shared space. It is a fusion of physical, augmented and virtual reality; a virtual world that is accessed via the internet.
Users have their own avatar and can interact, buy digital land, digital property et cetera. There are no limits.
Of course, we are still in the very early stages of Cardano metaverses being developed, but thanks to the massive communities behind these projects are growing fast.
We list several of the best metaverses available on Cardano.
Pavia is the first Cardano virtual world. It is named after the city Pavia in Italy, which was the birthplace of Gerolamo Cardano, whom the blockchain was named after. It was launched in 2021.
Fun thing is that Pavia partnered with readyplayer.me to create your own avatar, which is compatible outside of Pavia in over 1000 apps and games.
In total the maximum of 100k parcels (which are all unique NFTs) were sold out. These are owned by over 17k land owners. You can view the collection or buy your parcel through one of the secondary marketplaces, like CNFT or JPG Store.
CardanoVillage is a metaverse of a contintent with 5 parts. For now you can only buy land in Charles Village and carry out simple activitities like building houses, house decoration and more.
Development of this metaverse is in its early stages like most Cardano metaverses are. Understandable, since the smart contracts functionality is only available since July 2021.
Its unclear if there will be a native utility token. You can check the roadmap here. Groups of houses (100 with the same theme) can form a DAO and vote on the direction of CardanoVillage. The whitepaper is, however, too brief for now.
The team from Korea is also working on another CNFT metaverse: Galaxy on Cardano.
Unbounded Earth is a similar metaverse project as Pavia, started by a small team that relies heavily on the Cardano Community.
It does not have a functional native utility token yet ($EARTH), nor a whitepaper since it is in the very early stages. You can, however, find the roadmap on the website.
The first land parcel drop is sold out. It consisted of 30k 1×1 Land Parcels for 37 ADA each (max. 30 per person) and 1k 3×3 Land Parcel Estates for 333 ADA each. There is at least one more round of sales announced.
Cardania is another promising project that tries to utilize NFTs and gaming on the blockchain. ‘Enter the Ultraverse’ is Cardania’s trading card game, they incorporate resources and much more features.
The metaverse currently has a total of 20k lands minted, and they offer various other CNFTs like ‘founder cards’ and the ‘Interplantely Postage Collection’.
If you’d like, you can also stake your Cardano at their Summoning Pool (SUMN) for ADA-rewards and chances to receive random airdrops and benefits.
CardanoLand is a metaverse project in an even earlier development stage than the previously mentioned metaverses.
Its supply consists of 25k Land Plots: 1×1 and 2×2. All of them are not minted yet at the time of writing. Check the website for minting details.
The team is also developing building templates to provide various different use cases to the land plots and will help users to create more intricate designs in an easy way.
- Follow Twitter for sneak peeks on design.
The Boss Cats CNFTs look really cool, but the metaverse itself is still under construction.
- Interactive Map (Coming soon)
- Token: Boss Planet token (Coming soon)
Games on Cardano
Gaming is also making its way to Cardano. NFT games involve digital collectibles to interact within the ecosystem.
GameFi (Game Finance) has created a new kind of gaming economy; users usually can acquire tokens or NFTs in P2E (play-to-earn) games that can be traded freely.
The following list we think are interesting games (being developed) on the Cardano blockchain.
Drunken Dragon: Inns and Quests
In Drunken Dragon you own and manage an inn or tavern and host characters who sit, eat, drink, have fun, and wait in anticipation for the offer of quests.
The game contains two core game modes. The collector mode (Inns) known as ‘eternal realm’ and the adventure mode (Quests) known as the ‘moral realm’.
Drunken Dragon Alpha is already playable!
CryptoPetz is a MMORPG game inspired by Axie Infinity and Pokemon.
The first collection of CryptoPetz distributed amongst 150 unique species. They will be playable characters in the tournament style RPG.
Petz Tokens are used to enhance the capabilities of individual Petz like HP, Attack, Speed et cetera. The attribute tokens come in four grades: Bronze, Silver, Gold and Obsidian.
Set on the islands of Cardânia, Cardano Warriors is an old-school, in-browser RPG.
Characters stat with nothing, unless the player is the holder of one of the Warrior NFTs which means their character will start equipped with the items, armor, and other attributes the NFT lends to the character.
Representing members of the different tribes, player battle each other and try to put together the ‘Goguen Stone’.
There are three development stages:
- 1st – Web and Mobile: fast paced duel mode, both play vs player as player vs environment.
- 2nd – Slower pace with loot, crafting, character progression and more in a 3D world.
- 3rd – Strategic turn based game modes.
CARdano4SPEED is a play-to-earn game on the Cardano blockchain where you can race your cars against others to earn XP and prizes. Cars can be customized and rented to other racers.
There are different tiers of car rarity, components, colors, and more. The NFTs are out already, the game is still in development.
There are way more cool games being developed on Cardano. Check them out here.
Development Tools for Cardano
If you got excited by now and want to develop on the Cardano blockchain, start your journey at the Cardano Developers Portal.
Plutus Pioneers Program
How to learn Haskel and Plutus for Cardano smart contract development? The Plutus Pioneers Program prepares students for writing smart contacts on Cardano.
Blockfrost is an API for Cardano decentralized blockchain for those looking for a trusted source of data points. Providing abstraction between the developer and blockchain data, it takes away the burden of complexity.
Cardano Stack Exchange
For development questions, the Cardano Stack Exchange is the place to go. It’s the Q&A site for users and developers on the Cardano blockchain.
Other interesting Cardano dapps
DripDropz is a token dispensing service for the Cardano community. Enter your wallet’s address and see which token reward you are eligible for.
It is a great tool for small Native Token Creators to distribute tokens, for whom operating a pool (to do a ISPO) is not realistically possible. You send some ADA to cover the fees and receive the token rewards in your wallet.
You can receive a maximum of 10 tokens every epoch for each wallet address. In the future it’s also possible to roll over tokens if you do not have time to make a transaction every epoch and to save on fees.
AdaDomains offers human-readable addresses that associate with the owner’s wallet and a searchable web address, simplifying the sending of assets.
This is done by creating the domains as NFTs and the wallet address that holds the NFT would be the receiver of the funds.
For example: you can simply send funds to cryptospace.ada and the funds will arrive at the address that corresponds to this domain.
Navigating to this kind of domain in a web browser will bring up a website where users can store additional data like: content, social media handles, business information, anything else. Read the whitepaper.
Ardana is the first stablecoin being built on Cardano. It is a decentralized crypto-collateralized stablecoin and ecosystem which will bring the DeFi primitives needed to start & maintain any economy to Cardano.
Development of property on the African continent can be hard: property rights, affordability, building knowledge and skills, lack of fulfillment on top of social and economic are big issues.
Empowa describes itself as the world’s first “RealFi” platform, whose mission is to increase affordable housing on the African continent. One can collect NFTs called “Empowerment Cards” which represents a portion of EMP-tokens and supports property development.
Unfortunately, these cards are not actual property assets or ownership stake. But who knows what the future will bring.
You can also stake ADA at Empowa’s ISPO Stakepools and receive EMP-tokens next to your ADA.
With CardanoWall you can send a message to the blockchain in the most easy way. The message will stay there forever and nobody can edit or delete it. A logical application is to create a ‘proof of existence’ of documents. After that, you can compare the hash sum of the original file with a later duplicate file and proof such a document already existed.
Of course, you can also use it for fun. Send an original birthday message for example!
What interesting projects are being built on Cardano?
Let us know in the comments, and we might add it to this article.
Last Updated on 10/05/2022 by Jeremy Timessen