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:
- 2 billion (20%) of ALGO went to Algorand Inc., which reports in detail how it uses the funds on its website.
- 500 million (5%) of the total supply was allocated to the Algorand Foundation, which leads the development of the project.
There are three pools of the token that will be dispersed over time to users:
- An estimated 2.5 billion ALGO will be auctioned by the Algorand Foundation. Some 25 million ALGO were sold in Algorand’s initial coin offering.
- About 1.9 billion ALGO are set aside as rewards for participation in the Algorand network.
- Roughly 3.1 billion ALGO will be awarded to Algorand users running relay nodes early on.
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.
How Algorand works
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.
Code development can be followed on the Algorand GitHub.
Key events and management
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.
Algorand launched its mainnet in June 2019 and raised $60 million in its first ALGO token sale.
Venture capital firms Union Square Ventures and Pillar Venture Capital have also invested in Algorand.
In June 2021, fintech infrastructure provider Six Clovers launched a cross-border payment system on Algorand, and that same month Arrington Capital started a $100 million fund, betting on the platform.