In 2018, Vacuumlabs developers started an internal project to build the first Cardano light wallet. What was supposed to be a “weekend project” took weeks, but AdaLite was born. Since then, AdaLite has cemented itself as the leading web-based Cardano wallet, and along with it settled Vacuumlabs as a key development partner in the Cardano ecosystem.
Cardano users love the simplicity of the AdaLite experience, the integration with leading hardware wallet providers (Trezor and Ledger), as well as the convenient access to Cardano staking pools.
monthly active unique users
Incubated as an internal project within Vacuum Group
After the initial innovations of Bitcoin and Ethereum, Cardano is a representative of the third generation of blockchain projects, aiming to resolve many of the biggest obstacles facing the Bitcoin and Ethereum platforms. Cardano is the largest and most established of these 3rd-gen blockchains, offers a revolutionary proof-of-stake consensus mechanism called Ouroboros, and is recognised in the space for its scientific rigor and commitment to academic research.
With many engineers at various Vacuumlabs offices interested in blockchain technology and the crypto community, it was only natural that we would play around and build our own products here. In 2018 Cardano was a relatively new and unproven blockchain, but we saw a lot of potential. A small team of Vacuumlabs engineers decided to build one of the most foundational building blocks a thriving blockchain ecosystem needs: a simple way for users to send and receive their tokens, without having to run a full node of the blockchain.
A light wallet like AdaLite allows a user to communicate with the blockchain via a mobile app or browser extension. This offers a much simpler user experience than the alternative of having to run a “full node” or full replication of the underlying blockchain on your own computer. Combined with a hardware wallet to confirm transactions, light wallets offer excellent security properties. When AdaLite launched in 2018, it was the first Cardano light wallet, and finally made it easy for users to transact and participate on the Cardano network.
Cardano is primarily written in Haskell, a functional programming language. And while I was confident in my capabilities as a developer, learning Haskell was a humbling experience.
The functional programming paradigm is a tricky one to wrap your head around, and a complex platform like Cardano isn’t exactly the best environment for someone new to get started. The scarcity of technical documentation forced us into a lot of trial and error until we figured out every piece of the puzzle.
Adalite lead developer
When we started developing the AdaLite project, it was an internal effort driven by the curiosity and excitement many Vacuumlabs engineers felt for the crypto space. For the first two years, AdaLite ran that way — as a side project, and our object of love. But along the way, AdaLite grew and established its reputation as a reliable, fast and user-friendly wallet provider, and our technical team developed stronger relationships with other core teams within the Cardano space.
The initial work Vacuumlabs developers did on the then-immature Cardano blockchain led to multiple open source libraries and repositories that would help others follow our footsteps and avoid pitfalls. In fact, for the teams behind for instance Guarda, Exodus and the Atomic wallets, these repositories were helpful and actively leveraged. Our implementation for hardware wallet support led to Vacuumlabs becoming an official Cardano partner to provide ongoing hardware wallet support to the entire ecosystem. And when EMURGO — one of the core development bodies behind the Cardano project — needed extra capacity to develop the mobile version of their Yoroi wallet, Vacuumlabs engineers were again their first choice for help.
Fully open source since inception
The first Cardano light wallet
Hardware wallet support
Ledger and Trezor support integrated
In early 2021 it was decided to spin AdaLite out of the Vacuumlabs parent company, so it could pursue its own independent course of action. With a solid revenue model and ever growing user base, AdaLite was in a perfect position to stand on its own feet.
AdaLite now plans to undergo a re-branding as it spins out of the Vacuum Group family. The team behind AdaLite wants to pursue a vision where the new AdaLite can enable support for other proof-of-stake blockchains, and in a second phase to also start offering implementations for selected DeFi protocols, to ultimately become a non-custodial alternative to custodial platforms such as Binance.
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