If you've been thinking about investing in Cardano (ADA 1.45%), it's hard not to be concerned about what's happening right now. The price of Cardano broke through the $1 mark in March and seemingly hasn't stopped trending downwards since then. It's now trading at $0.31, down 90% from its all-time high of $3.10 just one year ago. 

So is it worth picking up Cardano at these bargain-basement prices? There are plenty of bears out there who claim Cardano is basically worthless right now, but there is at least one good reason why Cardano could potentially double in price by the end of the year.

The launch of a new stablecoin

At Cardano's developer summit in mid-November, the one product launch that caught the attention of participants was a new fiat-backed stablecoin that will be ready in early 2023. 

Trader sitting on steps with laptop.

Image source: Getty Images.

Cardano says the new stablecoin (which will be known as USDA) will be fully regulatory compliant and less risky than other algorithmic stablecoins. It will resemble other stablecoins, such as USD Coin, which is pegged 1:1 to the U.S. dollar. While Cardano announced several other product launches at the event, the stablecoin is the one product that could really excite potential investors.

The reason why this stablecoin launch is so important for Cardano is that it will unlock the world of decentralized finance (DeFi), which has always been one area that has been a laggard for Cardano. After all, Cardano only introduced smart contracts to its blockchain ecosystem at the end of 2021 and has had little or no time to incubate new DeFi exchanges or new DeFi lending protocols. 

With the launch of a new stablecoin, Cardano promises that users will see new lending and borrowing functionality on the Cardano blockchain, new crypto-backed card products, and much easier conversion between various cryptocurrencies. In short, Cardano will look a lot more like Ethereum, which has a robust DeFi ecosystem.

New use cases for Cardano incoming

The ongoing complaint about Cardano has been that there are simply not enough use cases for the blockchain. But this complaint about Cardano seems to be losing traction as we close out the year. Most importantly, Cardano pulled off a big technological upgrade of its blockchain in September that expanded its functionality and made it more developer friendly.

In addition, Cardano has been making serious strides in the non-fungible token (NFT) market, where it now trails only Ethereum and Solana. Cardano has also seen rapid growth in the number of crypto wallets holding Cardano, which suggests it is continuing to gain traction with users, developers, and investors. According to some estimates, Cardano is now adding 30,000 wallets per week.

With the launch of a new stablecoin, Cardano will be further increasing the number of potential use cases for its blockchain. Making Cardano DeFi friendly is a big step. It will silence all the critics who constantly say "nothing is happening" on the Cardano blockchain. They can check for themselves, using metrics like Total Value Locked (TVL), to see how much activity is happening on Cardano. 

DeFi is typically the biggest driver of TVL for a blockchain, so if Cardano can get ahead of the curve here, it could finally start to post some impressive numbers and change the minds of potential investors.

Can Cardano double in price?

At its rock-bottom price of $0.30, Cardano seems to be a prime candidate for a late-year bounce back. The FTX-Alameda scandal has pulled down the prices of nearly all cryptos, and Cardano has not been an exception. A growing consensus among crypto traders is that Cardano could climb back to the $0.48 level by the end of December, which would represent a 60% increase in price from its current level. 

An even bigger price boost could be coming in 2023 for Cardano, once its new stablecoin launches and investors begin to see the impact on Cardano's attempts to become a major DeFi player.

Despite all the critics and naysayers out there, I'm bullish on both Cardano's short-term and long-term price projections.