Recently, the pseudonymous founder of “Perfect People CNFT” community, talked about four of the most important improvements that the upcoming hotly-anticipated Vasil upgrade (aka “Vasil hard fork”) will bring to the Cardano blockchain.
Why Is Cardano’s Next Major Upgrade Named ‘Vasil’?
On 10 December 2021, Charles Hoskinson, Co-Founder and CEO of Input Output Global (“IOG”), the company responsible for Cardano’s research and development, explained that he was going to honour his Bulgarian friend and Cardano ambassador Vasil Stoyanov Davov — who sadly passed away in his apartment in Plovdiv, Bulgaria on 3 December 2021 “after a long combat with pulmonary embolism” — by naming the next hard fork after him. Vasil was an artist, entrepreneur, blockchain consultant, Haskell practioneer, and ginkgologist. Furthermore, it would not be an exaggeration to say that he was a highly beloved and respected member of the Cardano community.
Then, on June 6, IOG paid further tribute to Vasil by releasing a beautiful short video in which Tim Harrison, Vice President Community & Ecosystem at IOG, talked about Vasil’s legacy.
What Can the Cardano Community Expect From the Vasil Upgrade?
In a blog post published on February 28, IOG explained what changes we could expect to see in the June (which later got delayed to July, of course) and October hard fork events:
“Our February release is just the start. Throughout 2022 – and focused around June and October hard fork combinator (HFC) events – we will introduce an array of scaling enhancements. These include key elements of our scaling plan like pipelining, new Plutus CIPs, UTXO on-disk storage and Hydra. In combination with parameter adjustments, these features will enhance Cardano’s throughput and optimize the system to accommodate an increasing range of decentralized finance (DeFi) apps, smart contracts, and DEXs.
“Plus as outlined in our recent Cardano360 February show, IOG is working across a host of new products and features, from a DApp store and a new light wallet product, to Mithril fast sync solution and sidechains. All the while an incredible community contributes new DApps, services, sites, tools and APIs to keep building out a flourishing decentralized ecosystem.“
On June 20, Nigel Hemsley, Head of Delivery & Projects at IOG, published a blog post titled “Vasil upgrade – the state of play”.
“The IOG engineering team is extremely close to finalizing the core work, with just seven bugs still outstanding to complete the hard fork work, with none currently ranked as ‘severe’. After some consideration, we have agreed NOT to send the hard fork update proposal to the testnet today to allow more time for testing…
“To date, we’ve managed to get through the majority (approx 95%) of our Plutus V2 test scripts. However, we still have a few outstanding items that we need to run to confirm everything is working as expected. We have determined we’ll need a few more days for this. This puts us behind schedule on our previously communicated target date of June 29 for a mainnet hard fork…
“Today, IOG and the Cardano Foundation have agreed a new target date to hard fork the testnet at the end of June. Once completed, we will then allow four weeks for exchanges and SPOs to carry out any required integration and testing work. This is only reasonable and should not be rushed. The working assumption should therefore now be a Cardano mainnet hard fork occurring during the last week of July.“
On July 4, Harrison published a blog post in which he talked “the significant performance and capability enhancements to Cardano” that the Vasil upgrade (which he called “the most significant network upgrade since the deployment of staking via Shelley“) — expected to go live on the Cardano mainnet at the end of July — will deliver.
“As well as bringing improvements to smart contracts, the upgrade is part of the Basho phase of the Cardano roadmap, which focuses on scaling and network & ledger optimization and will bring multiple improvements to the ledger. Vasil will be deployed at the protocol level using Cardano’s hard-fork combinator (HFC) – innovative technology which enacts seamless protocol transitions and ledger upgrades minimizing disruption for end-users…
“The upgrade… will implement widely anticipated features such as diffusion pipelining and upgrades to Plutus – Cardano’s core smart contract language. Many of the improvements have been scoped and developed with the support of the wider development community and stem from Cardano Improvement Proposals (CIPs). Additionally, a number of new cryptographic primitives will be provided, and script validation processes will further see adjustments and optimizations contributing to consistency in block propagation times and higher transaction processing rates.“
With regard to diffusion pipelining, he had this to say:
“In essence, it streamlines the process of sharing information about newly created blocks among network participants by ensuring that blocks can be shared (propagated) in the network well within five seconds after their creation. For this, diffusion pipelining propagates blocks before their full validation, thus ‘overlapping’ the time spent on diffusion with the time needed on validation.
“Pipelining also ensures that the block header referencing the hash of a previous block is propagated correctly. The body of the block is retained within the metadata included in the next block, which is essential for DDoS attack resistance even without full block confirmation. Ultimately, diffusion pipelining will add scalability by enabling further block size increases and Plutus script improvements, as IOG continues to optimize the network throughout the rest of the year.“
Harrison then went to talk about Plutus script enhancements as well miscellaneous other important enhancements, such as Script collateral adjustment (CIP-40).
Well, on July 16, “VZ”, the pseudonymous founder of “Perfect People CNFT” community, took to Twitter to explain four of the most interesting improvements that Cardano’s Vasil upgrade will deliver.
Here is what “VZ” had to say about each of these:
- CIP 33: “Today smart contacts are written using Haskell, with the code converted into Plutus. The entire script needs to be uploaded to every transaction. With the upgrade, now a reference script can simply point to the original script during these transactions.“
- CIP 31: “In parallel, support is being added to reference inputs. As the name suggests, this allows us to point to data without needing data to be spent. In other words, this means additional information can be accessed without needing to create new transactions.“
- CIP 32: “This upgrade will remove the need to use hashes to directly reference inputs because datums will be attached to outputs instead of the datum hashes. This will make it easier to store data on chain further decentralizing the network.“
- Diffusion Pipelining: “This improves block propagation time. Blocks will now be allowed to transmit without full validation while simultaneously making changes to the consensus network. DeFi development will become more attractive.“