Cardano founder Charles Hoskinson stated recently during a Twitter live stream that the Vasil hard fork is coming soon (“sometime in September”). The major upgrade is being developed by the Input-Output Global (IOG) team and was delayed earlier.
Cardano is the largest platform to use a proof-of-stake. As it grows, there are hard fork events which upgrade the network moving forward or sideways from the existing blockchain. According to the Cardano glossary “hard fork is a change of the network’s protocol changing the state of operational flow from one model to a completely different one”. For example, the Mary hard fork in 2021 allowed developers to create and deploy native tokens.
💡 “This upgrade is named after a much loved and respected Cardano community member, Vasil St Dabov” — docs.cardano.org.
Here you can find a technical overview of all the Vasil features, which are:
- Diffusion pipelining
- Plutus V2 (a tuned interpreter, and a new cost model)
- New Plutus built-ins
- Plutus reference inputs
- Plutus reference scripts
- Collateral change address
- Transaction redeemers changes
- Single VRF implementation
- Plutus inline datums
This time the upgrade will mainly affect Plutus, the Cardano smart contract platform which allows one to write applications that interact with the Cardano blockchain (dApps, native coins, NFTs etc). Here you can find more info about the it.
The upgrade aims to add four Cardano Improvement Proposals (CIPs) which will make the experience for developers easier and better.
Another important part of the upgrade is a diffusion pipelining which saves time and increases throughput and thus enhances the scalability and the performance of the network.
To sum up the info on the upgrade:
“Vasil brings changes that will improve the handling of on-chain (Plutus) scripts, reducing user costs and allowing greater script throughput” — docs.cardano.org
Alongside the main changes (which turn a usual release into a hard fork) the upgrade will include numerous fixes, features and enhancements of the network as any other release would have.
In the above-mentioned live stream Hoskinson gives an update on the work and testing process, saying that everything looks pretty good. Here you can watch the MidMonth Development Update, August 2022 by IOG team which gives more detailed info on the latest progress towards the Vasil upgrade.
The upgrade was postponed earlier (it was supposed to be released on June 29) as the developers needed more time for testing and fixing bags (sound a bit like The Merge story, doesn’t it?). Now Cardano plans to implement a fork around the same time The Merge is expected, so it didn’t get much attention from the community (here is an article for the those who missed the thing). Plus it seems that this upgrade does not include any dramatic changes (like switching PoW to PoS). Still, an event on this scale can have a major impact on the power balance in the crypto world and it is always interesting to observe.