Cardano (ADA) is up 10% in the past 24-hours amidst a market resurgence following last week’s losses. This makes it one of the highest gaining coins of 2020, up 140% since the beginning of the year. It is now trading at $0.08 up from a low of $0.02 during the initial shock of the COVID-19 crisis.

Earlier this month, following the launch of the public ‘Shelley Testnet’ on June 9th, Cardano reached this year’s high of $0.09 although it was just short of its 12-month high of $0.10 last July. Shelley is the Cardano blockchain’s next upgrade that promises to make the network “50 – 100 times more decentralized”.

Cardano has long been touted as one of many ‘Ethereum-killers” – coins that will replace Ethereum has the second-highest ranked cryptocurrency and improve upon its limited “smart contract programmable money” concept. However, despite the long list of coins promising to ‘kill’ the ETH protocol – amongst them EOS, NEO, Waves, QTUM, and ICON – Ethereum firmly maintains its spot in 2nd place.

So, are these gains indicative of a potential challenger for the ETH crown?

The Shelley mainnet is due to go live around the end of July, following over two years of intense development by IOHK. Its core reason for being developed was to address issues of centralization in the Cardano blockchain. Until now, the initial federated-mode ‘Byron’ mainnet only hosted a handful of nodes to validate blocks, with users participating indirectly in the network via the Daedalus wallet.

Now, with the Shelley upgrade, ADA holders will be able to directly stake in the network. In December last year, ADA holders began staking their coins in the Incentivized Testnet (ITN), which quickly proved it to be a massive success. Now, with over 12 billion ADA coins staked and over 200 staking pools created, Cardano is ready to go fully decentralized.

What benefits does Cardano offer over Ethereum?

The development of the Cardano blockchain came later than Ethereum and as a result, is far more complex and better prepared. This has given it the ability to improve upon many unforeseen issues that Ethereum now struggles to overcome. The problem of scalability is one of the key issues that Cardano hopes to address.

By separating smart contracts from the currency layer of the blockchain, Cardano will be able to complete a far higher number of transactions at a faster rate. This multi-layered architecture is one of the key improvements Cardano offers to the programmable currency sector.

Additionally, Cardano’s distributed proof-of-stake (DPoS) consensus method, Ouroboros, is significantly more advanced and energy-efficient than Ethereum, which is still on proof-of-work (PoW). However, DPoS networks are still relatively new and many issues, in particular, decentralization, still need improvement.

The war is not yet won, though, as Ethereum continues to develop and advance its blockchain. Despite multiple delays, Ethereum is now ready to launch it’s 2.0 upgrade and transition to a proof-of-stake (PoS) network. The announcement has helped drive up the price of ETH has holders fight to attain the 32 ETH required to qualify for Ethereum 2.0 staking.

The race for the 2nd-place crown continues and with still no exact date set for the launch of ETH 2.0, it will be interesting to see how long the coin can hold its place.