The total cryptocurrency market cap has soared about 200% this year, hitting $2.5 trillion at the time this was written. Much of that growth has come from Bitcoin (CRYPTO:BTC), which makes up about 45% of the market, according to Coinmarketcap.com. But over the long term, other digital assets such as Cardano (CRYPTO:ADA) and Aave (CRYPTO:AAVE) could help drive growth and adoption in this exciting sector. Let’s explore why. 

1. Cardano 

Launched in 2017, Cardano is a public blockchain platform that facilitates peer-to-peer transactions through its internal cryptocurrency called Ada. The platform allows users to program decentralized applications (dApps). And it has an edge over rival programable blockchains like Ethereum (CRYPTO:ETH) because of its more environmentally friendly proof-of-stake mining process called Ouroboros.

Image representing Cardano's native coin, ADA.

Image source: Getty Images.

Unlike proof-of-work protocols, in which miners harness thousands of computers to solve complex computational problems to validate transactions (and mint new coins), Ouroboros allows miners to validate transactions based on the number of coins (the stake) they hold. This system consumes less energy, giving Cardano an economic advantage in an increasingly
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