Algorand (ALGO) is an open-source, payments-focused blockchain network that aims to solve one of the most persistent problems facing cryptocurrency: scalability. To do that, Algorand employs a novel, more scalable form of “proof-of-stake,” a consensus mechanism that’s critical for securing blockchains and making sure no one can create new tokens out of thin air that they didn’t earn.
The supply of Algorand’s native cryptocurrency, ALGO, is capped at 10 billion tokens, created at the time Algorand launched in 2019. Many of those coins are locked up and have yet to be distributed.
Some of the tokens have been allocated to the organizations that are developing the Algorand platform. The allocation includes the following:
There are three pools of the token that will be dispersed over time to users:
ALGO’s price started at $2.19 when it launched in Jun 2019, but the price quickly dropped to as low as $0.19 in August 2019, according to market data provider CoinMarketCap. As the crypto market picked up again in 2020, ALGO’s price surged, reaching a peak of $1.71 in February 2020. ALGO’s price hit its all-time high of $2.37 in June 2021.
The Algorand blockchain operates using a type of consensus mechanism known as proof-of-stake (PoS). Simply put, a proof-of-stake blockchain gives users who stake an amount of the native cryptocurrency on that network (lock up tokens in a smart contract) the ability to validate transactions and create new blocks. For doing that, validators receive interest payments on their staked assets.
More specifically, Algorand’s consensus protocol works by selecting a block proposer and a set of voting committees at each block round to propose a block and validate the proposal, respectively. The proposer and committees are randomly chosen from the pool of all token holders (the accounts that hold ALGO), and the likelihood of being chosen is proportional to the account’s stake in the network (i.e., how many ALGO it has relative to the whole).
Holders of ALGO can register to participate in consensus, which means they can participate in the process of proposing and voting on new blocks. ALGO also acts as a utility token. If you build an application, you will need ALGO to pay transaction fees and to serve as minimum balance deposits if you want to store data on the blockchain.
Algorand was founded in 2017 by Italian computer scientist Silvio Micali, who came up with pure-proof-of-stake, arguing that it would help to solve blockchain’s scalability problem.
Venture capital firms Union Square Ventures and Pillar Venture Capital have also invested in Algorand.
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