Cardano (ADA) is a faster and cheaper alternative to Ethereum (ETH) that has more than doubled its market cap over the last month. The Cardano app ecosystem is relatively new, but early leaders have emerged: lending and payments platform Celsius, with a market cap above $1 billion, and oracle Ergo, with a market cap above $700 million. The Cardano app ecosystem includes payment platforms, initial DEX offering (IDO) platforms, oracles, and decentralized exchanges (DEXes).
Celsius Network is a blockchain platform that supports borrowing, lending, and payment processing. Celsius emerged as an early Cardano platform leader. Critics note the platform is heavily centralized, but it was founded by Alex Mashinsky, an influential software engineer and entrepreneur.
COTI is a platform for creating crypto payment infrastructures running on Cardano, including creation of stablecoins. It's a buzzy project that recently increased in market cap following an announcement of its pending listing on Coinbase Pro.
Initial DEX Offering (IDO) platforms allow new crypto projects to launch through a decentralized exchange mechanism similar to crowdfunding. Early IDO platform projects on Cardano include:
CardStarter is a decentralized accelerator and swapping platform, connecting early-stage Cardano projects with investors.
Occam offers launchpad infrastructure and a suite of DeFi solutions for new Cardano projects. Occam also plans to launch a Cardano exchange, called OccamX.
Oracles act as a bridge between real-world data and blockchain data, bringing off-chain data into on-chain smart contracts.
Ergo offers "smarter" smart contracts, and it's ideally suited to DeFi projects, including stablecoins.
Charli3 - Small cap
Charli3 is a decentralized Cardano oracle project from the CardStarter Launchpad and CardStarter incubator. Charli3 launched with strong initial partnerships.
Decentralized exchanges (DEX) use algorithms to set asset prices, and facilitate transactions without requiring a seller. New and unlaunched Cardano DEXes with buzz include: YaySwap (YAY), SundaeSwap, and CardStarter project, CardSwap (CSWAP).