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Distribution of ada token vouchers, which are part of the Cardano settlement layer, took place in Asia in four stages between October 2015 and the start of January 2017.

Genesis Distribution


The initial distribution of ada, essentially a pre-launch sales event, was the first in the cryptocurrency industry to set Know Your Customer guidelines, and an audit was performed on the distribution process. Information and statistics about the voucher distribution are detailed below in the Ada Voucher Distribution Stats section.

In addition to these ada, the Genesis Block Distribution includes an amount equal to 20% of the ada vouchers sold during the Sale period, or 5,185,414,108 ada. These have been generated and distributed to three groups of entities of the Cardano ecosystem that are part of the Technical and Business Development Pool; IOHK, EMURGO, and the Cardano Foundation, as follows:

The Cardano Foundation, Switzerland: 648,176,761 ada

EMURGO: 2,074,165,644 ada

IOHK: 2,463,071,701 ada

The public sales distribution accounts for 25,927,070,538 ada. The total amount of ada available at launch was therefore equal to 31,112,484,646 ada.

Genesis Proceeds


The ada vouchers were sold by a Japanese corporation and its sales force in Japan with total gross sales of 108,844.5 BTC. Further information on the sale can be found here.

A part of the total sales proceeds were donated to the Cardano Foundation as follows:

Cardano Foundation, Isle of Man (predecessor): 1,090.00 BTC

Cardano Foundation, Switzerland: 7,168.00 BTC



The four tranches of the distribution are shown with the number of individual ada vouchers distributed that took place during each stage, and the proportion of the overall distribution that occurred during that particular tranche. The sum taken during each tranche is viewable in Bitcoin, ada or the equivalent in US dollars. (All ada voucher holder transactions were made in Bitcoin, or by Yen converted into Bitcoin, to enable transparent blockchain accounting.) The proportion of ada voucher holders from each region is shown, along with the average size of vouchers held, and there is also information on distributors.

Post-Commission Exodus Addresses


Ada Distribution Audit

From September 2015 to January 2017 a pre-launch sales event of cryptocurrency token 'ada' was undertaken. The sales event covered five specific periods, referred to as ‘tranches’ (T1/T2/T3/T3.5/T4). The principal party retained Attain Corporation of Japan to manage the sale of ada ‘vouchers’ that could be exchanged into ada tokens after the platform launch. Subsequently, the Cardano Foundation performed three separate audits into the sales operation. These audits were a bespoke hybrid of operational and financial audit approaches. The first audit covered T1 & T2, the second covered T3/T3.5 and the third covered T4. Finally, an overall summary document was created. The core task was to produce an objective study of how sales were progressing and to check on adherence to contractual terms between the parties. The Cardano Foundation interviewed representatives of Attain Corporation both in the UK and Japan. It has had full independent access to the source data. Where appropriate, the Cardano Foundation offered its best advice to improve processes and internal operations. Each audit had the same broad scope:

  • Proceeds of sale review – reconciliation of funds received during the sales event
  • Customer sales analysis - checks for suspicious customer activity during the sale
  • Distributor activity analysis – check for any evidence of distributor malpractice or fraud
  • Check for KYC (Know Your Customer) adherence – assess whether agreed KYC procedures were applied by Attain
  • Review of Attain as an entity – perform operational checks for good internal governance

The sale proceeds were entirely in bitcoin, although some purchases were exchanged from Yen to Bitcoin as part of the sales transaction process. Cardano Foundation’s findings were as follows:

Proceeds of Sale Review Cardano Foundation performed a full comparison between sales reported on Attain’s internal sales database and compared that to the amounts received at the end of the process. Transparent sale accounting was enabled by use of the publically available bitcoin ‘blockchain’ to process sales and receipts. This information could therefore be ratified against accounting entries in Attain’s sales database. This comparison gave the Cardano Foundation a high degree of confidence that the sales proceeds had been reported in a full and fair manner. The final total of bitcoins received and visible on the blockchain agreed with the total bitcoin reported in Attains Sales database agreed with an error margin of less than 0.01%.

Perform a Customer Sales Analysis Cardano Foundation looked at sales patterns and searched for inconsistencies in the data. During the first audit, which covered the first two sales tranches, some cases were identified where distributors were purchasing on behalf of customers. This meant their customers were not being onboarded with the necessary KYC checks. Cardano Foundation reported they saw evidence that these distributors were subsequently suspended from further trading and observed that considerable effort was applied to ensure these individual purchasers were onboarded or refunded.

Perform a Distributor Activity Analysis Cardano Foundation did not find any material issues of concern with the distributors general activity, other than reported above.

Check for Know Your Customer (KYC) standards adherence Cardano Foundation reported that they believed this is the first time a cryptocurrency offering has required KYC in order to participate both as a purchaser and/or distributor. In this regard, the sale is industry leading and goes significantly beyond other cryptocurrency offerings to ensure a good source of funds for the project.

During the first and second tranches, Cardano Foundation reported some failings in the KYC onboarding process, such as missing documents or inconsistent data. Attain demonstrated that they worked to correct these earlier errors and tighten the procedures in later sales tranches. Cardano Foundation report that the KYC adherence for purchasers improved significantly as the sales tranches progressed. The KYC adherence results were particularly strong in tranche 4, demonstrating improved rigour in operational practices as Attains level of experience in managing this process grew.

Review of Attain as an entity Cardano Foundation reported that, in their view, Attain had demonstrated an awareness of their obligations and duties of care and have well established operational procedures performed by a dedicated team.

Below are the sales statistics Cardano Foundation reported in the final audit, updated to include refunds processed and final database reconciliations;

Below tables shows the total sales summary for all tranches:

Tranche# of paid invoicesBitcoin Received (inc Yen)Amount paid (Yen)Net $ cost (inc BTC & Yen sales)Total # of ADA Sold
Below table summarizes total sales by country, by tranche in Bitcoin (BTC) received:

CountryT1T2T3T3.5T4Grand Total% Of Sale
Grand Total9080.140202.224278.92462.632820.7108844.5100%
Below table shows the spread of sales by tranche, by age demographic group for all tranches:

Age RangeT1T2T3T3.5T4Grand Total
under 25$529,860$513,747$189,321$168,626$362,837$1,764,391
25 – 34$338,785$2,819,273$2,080,465$309,067$8,207,037$13,754,626
35 – 44$954,120$6,332,533$4,316,665$327,953$8,501,121$20,432,392
45 – 54$197,589$3,660,939$3,534,050$992,163$6,117,650$14,502,391
55 – 64$183,058$2,816,849$3,185,516$123,433$2,677,260$8,986,116
Grand Total$2,518,893$17,204,527$14,365,511$1,930,213$26,974,470$62,993,614