Cardano (ADA) is a blockchain platform that is open-source and decentralized, employing a proof-of-stake protocol. It's named after the Italian polymath Gerolamo Cardano, while its native cryptocurrency, ADA, is named after Ada Lovelace, a 19th-century mathematician who is often referred to as the first computer programmer. Cardano aims to provide a more balanced and sustainable ecosystem for cryptocurrencies.

The platform was founded by Charles Hoskinson, who is also a co-founder of Ethereum. One of the key differentiators of Cardano is its emphasis on a research-driven approach to design and development. This means that proposed changes to the platform undergo a rigorous process of peer review by academics and industry experts before they are implemented.

Cardano’s multi-layer architecture is designed to provide a high level of scalability, interoperability, and sustainability. These layers separate the ledger of account values from the reason why values are moved from one account to another, i.e., the computation layer from the settlement layer. This separation allows for more flexible and efficient updates and maintenance of the blockchain.

The platform uses Ouroboros, a proof-of-stake algorithm, to secure the network, validate transactions, and generate new blocks. This approach is considered more energy-efficient compared to the proof-of-work algorithm used by Bitcoin and some other cryptocurrencies.

Cardano aims to support the development of decentralized applications (DApps), smart contracts, and multi-asset ledger to enable a wide range of financial and social applications. It's designed to be scalable and sustainable, making it an attractive option for enterprise use and governmental applications that require a high degree of security and regulatory compliance.

As of my last update, Cardano continues to evolve, with regular updates to its infrastructure and applications to expand its usability and performance.