The alphabet soup of the Cardano origin story

Let me begin by saying that all this stemmed from me hearing about Emurgo’s Cardano Blockchain Developer program, and wondering for the 10th time that I’ve been involved in the Cardano community, who exactly Emurgo are, which led me down a rabbit hole of the similar sounding Ergo, as well as the Cardano Foundation, IOG/IOHK, Guardians of Cardano … and eventually I was like this:


So to prevent others getting to this point let me write down what I was able to piece together:


IOHK is a blockchain infrastructure research and engineering companies, formed in 2014 by Charles Hoskinson and ex-Ethereum colleague Jeremy Wood; after being approached by “Japenese businesspeople” and discussed in an Osaka restaurant. They based the company in Hong Kong but then later moved to Switzerland.

In Nov 2017 IOHK launched Ada and also made a statement about their Ada holdings. With a nod to the Cardano Foundation and Emurgo, suggesting they do the same.

According to this 2017 report, IOHK signed a three-year deal that “sees the organization overlook peer review processes and third-party code reviews.

In 2020 they rebranded themselves to IOG – Input Output Global.

Cardano Foundation:

The Cardano Foundation was set up in 2016 as a funded non-profit organization, The core responsibilities of the foundation are to oversee and supervise the development of Cardano and its ecosystem. Acting as the legal custodians of Cardano, the foundation works with regulators in different jurisdictions to drive adoption, shape blockchain governance, set commercial standards, and support the community of Cardano users to leverage Cardano to solve real-life problems.

I’m guessing part of the plan was to reduce the risk to IOHK from entities such as the SEC that could have claimed Cardano was a security.

In its early days it was ran by Michal Parsons who from this CH vid sounds like he was shady enough to make Sepp Blatter blush (also see this) and which spawned the community driven Guardians of Cardano.

Putting aside these darker times of the foundations history, they have since hired a new Chief Executive, Frederik Gregaard.

The Cardano Founcations objectives are:

  • Growing the global Cardano community
  • Driving the adoption of Cardano
  • Ensuring Stakeholder accountability
  • Shaping legislation and commercial standards
  • Facilitating partnerships

Emurgo is a Japanese incubator and was founded in June 2017. It was unclear to me whether they were set up with Cardano in mind, or independently and then chose to partner with IOHK and the CF.

Emurgo develops, supports, and incubates commercial ventures and helps integrate these businesses into Cardano’s decentralized blockchain ecosystem. [source].

Emurgo, on the other hand, manages the venture capital and business development side of the project.”

More recently IOHK, EMURGO, and the Ergo Foundation came together in 2020 to work on building out DeFi.

Ergo Foundation:

The last piece of the jigsaw. The Ergo Foundation was founded in 2017(?) by a group of IOHK developers that branched off to form their own non-profit company. However I could find no real mention of Ergo until 2019 when they launched the Ergo platform. From what I can gather, despite the similar sounding name, Ergo was not related to Emurgo in anyway when it was created.


All of this left me with the following questions:

  • Have the Ada holdings of Emurgo and the Cardano Foundation been disclosed? What are their public wallet address?
  • Does Ergo have any Ada funding?
  • When is the IOHK contract up, when is it renewed, and by who? (I know CH touched on this in videos last year which made it sound like the community would get to vote on it).

Published by ReddSpark

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