Cardano (ADA -1.99%) has already brought many investors great gains. This up-and-coming cryptocurrency has climbed 628% so far this year. Like many of its peers, however, it's slipped in recent weeks from its highest point.
Does this mean Cardano's story is over? Far from it. Cardano has plenty of catalysts ahead and a solid plan for its future, and these elements clearly could boost its price in the coming months.
The next question is about the extent of the potential gains. Could Cardano be a 10-bagger for those of us who invest today? Let's take a look.
Similar to Ethereum
First, a bit of background about Cardano. Ethereum co-founder Charles Hoskinson created this younger blockchain. This is positive, considering Hoskinson's experience in the crypto world. Cardano is similar to Ethereum because it can run smart contracts -- and this allows the construction of decentralized applications on the platform. Cardano can mint non-fungible tokens -- another popular crypto feature.
But Cardano also is different from Ethereum. Cardano launched with a validation process that makes transactions extremely rapid. The system uses proof of stake. This grants validation permission to those according to their Cardano holdings. By comparison, Ethereum uses a process that requires complex computations. As a result, Cardano executes 250 transactions per second, while Ethereum does about 30.
Cardano has been gaining momentum in recent months. For instance, after it launched its smart-contract capabilities in September, more than 100 smart contracts appeared on the blockchain in just 24 hours. Today, more than 900 are listed on Cardano, according to the Vercel app.
Cardano's real-world uses are many. For example, you can store education credentials in a secure manner. Or in agriculture, users can track products from farm to table through the blockchain.
Only the beginning
But all of this is only the beginning for Cardano. The blockchain has laid out a five-stage roadmap. This allows us to follow its development.
Right now, developers are working simultaneously on the final two stages. The goal? For Cardano to be a completely decentralized self-sustaining system. And each upgrade undergoes peer review before launching. This may slow things down, but that's OK. It ensures quality and could prevent future glitches.
Cardano's coin is called "ADA." And you can generate passive income by staking your ADA holdings.
Now let's talk about Cardano's potential for gains from here. If Cardano is successful as it travels through to the final stage of development, it's possible this dynamic crypto player could be a 10-bagger. It has plenty of real-world uses, transaction speed, and a vision to play an important role in the transformation of how business is done. And the roadmap and peer review offer investors some visibility. It's always positive to have and share a plan.
From a math standpoint, Cardano could multiply 10 times, as well. Today, it's trading at about $1.31. An increase to $13 would give Cardano a $429 billion market value. That would put it in the third position, just behind Bitcoin and Ethereum.
Of course, never invest more in Cardano or any other cryptocurrency than you can afford to lose. These investments remain high risk because cryptocurrency is a new industry -- and we don't yet know if it will truly take off in the long term. But if the industry continues to gain momentum, Cardano -- and its investors -- could indeed be among the winners.