As NEO is called the Chinese Ethereum, so is this crypto called the Japanese Ethereum. The algorithm of the blockchain is called Ouroboros, which originates its name from an Italian mathematician professor. In 2017 it went live after a two-year ICO. Cardano has been developed through collaboration with IOHK (Input Output Hong Kong).
To separate the transactions and the smart contracts they use two different layers in the blockchain in compare to Ethereum. One layer is called Cardano Settlement Layer (CSL) for processing transactions. The other is called Cardano Computation Layer (CCL) for programming, processing and executing smart contracts. By having two chains running in parallel, usage of capacity is limited and therefore makes it more scalable. In order to carry out transactions on the CSL, there is the cryptocurrency ADA, such as Ether for Ethereum.