On Thursday (August 18), Adam Dean and Andrew Wesberg, who are two prominent members of the Cardano community, kindly took the time to clarify the current status of testing for the Vasil protocol upgrade.

Dean, who is currently co-founder of Buffy Bot Publishing, is a former stake pool operator (SPO); these days, he builds software that is powered by Cardano. As for Wesberg, he is an Android developer, as well as an SPO (“Blue Cheese St₳ke House”).

Their comments were made during a very interesting conversation with Dan Gambardello, Founder of Crypto Capital Venture, as well as the host of the very popular YouTube channel “Crypto Capital Venture”.

Based on what was said in this interview and what said by Dean and IOG Co-Founder and CEO Charles Hoskinson in recent tweets (posted in the past couple of days), here is a recap of what has been happening, and what lies ahead on the road to the Vasil hard fork combinator (HFC) event on the mainnet.

First, a very serious defect in release candidate 1.35.2 was discovered after some SPOs prematurely upgraded their mainnet nodes to this version:

Meanwhile, on Cardano’s public testnet (which had been working perfectly fine for over two years), the majority of SPOs upgraded their nodes with release candidate 1.35.2 to “simulate a Vasil HCF event there,” which sadly managed to break this important testnet, meaning that it now cannot be upgraded to release candidate 1.35.3. Although a couple of new testnets have been created, according to Dean and Wesberg, it is still early days, and until the community of DApp developers and SPOs has finished their testing on these new testnets (which could take a few weeks), they should not be upgrading on the mainnet since we cannot at this stage be super confident that there are no “showstopper” bugs in release 1.35.3.

Currently, there are three testnets available for DApp developers, wallet developers, SPOs, and exchanges:

  • devnet: “Vasil devnet is the network for early involvement and functionality testing before a release candidate is mature. It is meant for projects such as DApps that wish to explore new features as soon as they are available.
  • preview: “Preview is the longer-term network environment for testing release candidates and expanded test scenarios. Preview is meant for DApps, stake pool operators (SPOs), and exchanges who wish to test mature release candidates.
  • pre-production: “Pre-production is the most mature network for testing purposes, which resembles a production (mainnet) environment. It is meant for exchanges, SPOs, pre-deployment DApps, and wallets that wish to test release functionality before deploying on mainnet.

According to data by Cardano PoolTool, so far (as of 3:30 p.m. UTC on August 19), 17% of Cardano stake pools have updated their mainnet nodes to release 1.35.3. There will be a Vasil HFC event on the Cardano mainnet once 75% of the mainnet nodes have upgraded to Vasil code (i.e. release 1.35.x, where “x” is 3 if no new defects are found).

Although what Dean and Wesberg are arguing for, i.e. not rushing to release 1.35.3 on the mainnet (since it has not gone through proper end-to-end testing on any of the new testnets), Hoskinson believes that release 1.35.3 is ready for the mainnet and so do some DApp develpers and SPOs.

For example, here is what Rick McCracken, the operator of the Digital Fortress stake pool, said earlier today:

So, currently, it seems that we are on track for a Vasil hard fork on the Cardano mainnet sometime in September, and hopefully IOG, as well as Cardano fans in general, will not pressure DApps developers and SPOs into rushing the Vasil upgrade on the mainnet just because Cardano rival Ethereum is having its Merge event on September 15.

As for IOG’s official stance on release 1.35.3, this was their recap of the August mid-month development update:

On Wednesday (August 17), Hoskinson asked SPOs to “start the upgrade path” since it appears that release 1.35.3 will be the final release candidate:

And two days later, the IOG CEO correctly pointed out earlier today that the timing of the Vasil hard fork on the mainnet is up to the SPOs and not IOG, but he made it clear that he can’t see any reason to delay the HFC event on the mainnet by a few months, especially since there are many DApp developers who are desperately waiting for the Vasil upgrade:

Earlier today, Hoskinson did a live stream, during which he talked about release 1.35.3, and why he and the rest of the IOG feel so confident about it:

And shortly afterwards, he talked once more time about the drama surrounding the testing of Vasil:

The operator of the Shamrock Stake Pool says that SPOs should be doing their testing on the two new testnets — “preview” and “pre-production” — and assuming that they don’t come across any critical issues, they should then upgrade their mainnet nodes to 1.35.3:

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