Algorand is a blockchain platform created by MIT professor Silvio Micali and his team, designed for decentralized and secure financial applications. It uses a pure-proof-of-stake (PPOS) consensus mechanism for faster and more energy-efficient transactions, with a fast block confirmation time of less than 4 seconds to finality at 6K TPS. Algorand also offers smart contract functionality through its Algorand Standard Assets (ASA) protocol, allowing for the creation and customization of digital assets on the blockchain.