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Vasil Upgrade: Here’s What to Expect From The Hard Fork Combinator Event

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The Vasil hard fork is now closer than ever, with a recent update from the developer and research entity behind Cardano, Input Output Global, confirming that everything is proceeding well. The IOG team also noted in the June 7 update that the goal is to make sure the integration towards the hard fork update is done duly and to the right quality.

With no delays expected in between, we're provisionally and here's what to expect.

Vasil hard fork event

The upgrade, now in its final steps of development before going live in two weeks, is the network's most significant milestone since the Alonzo hard fork. The latter shipped last September and brought smart contract functionality to the chain, allowing for the development of decentralized applications.

Vasil has been mooted both by Cardano's developer IOG and its outspoken CEO Charles Hoskinson as a massive milestone in the evolution of the network.

A significant change coming with the Vasil HFC event is diffusion pipelining, which brings improvements to the network's consensus layer to result in speedier block propagation across nodes. Further, with the increased headroom that diffusion enables, the performance and throughput of Cardano's blockchain are expected to improve significantly.

Cardano Improvement Proposals (CIPs)

CIP 31

CIP 31 introduces a new way for developers to see the outcome of an output without having to spend it. This changes the current state that necessitates spending the output so as to see the information on the datum, which is usually attached to transaction outputs. There's enhanced network throughput and concurrency with referencing of the information by other scripts without having to use the output enabled.

CIP 32

In addition to the changes CIP-31 proposes to introduce to datums, CIP 32 will allow datums (rather than datum hashes) to be actually attached to outputs. This builds towards enabling developers to create scripts that point to the datum directly, enabling easier communication of datum values between users.

CIP 33

With CIP-33, Cardano's developing team is motivated to reduce the size of reference scripts. In the current structure, each time a script is used, the chain quickly bloats as the transaction that resulted in the usage must supply the whole script as part of the transaction.

However, with this improvement proposal, reference scripts will be attached to the outputs, such that said scripts could be used for validation rather than necessitating transaction spending to serve that role.

‘We're on track'

With all these improvements set to come with Vasil, the IOG is already taking steps toward executing the scheduled upgrade. As its role requires ensuring a successful hard fork, the organization is working with exchanges, decentralized applications developers, and third-party tool providers.

The integration program for Vasil is touted to be the most difficult in Cardano's history. It's an upgrade that necessitates not just a lot of effort but also a lot of cooperation, per the update shared by IoG. Multiple components, including DB-Sync and 3rd-party APIs like Blockfrost, in addition to the core node, are set for upgrades, which means several interdependencies.

The organization said that towards the eventual deployment of the upgrade, it successfully released a new node version for Vasil on Tuesday, along with the initial launch of a new CLI that introduces new Plutus features, and continued work on the concerns that had been flagged via the testing program.

IOG also debuted a new exclusive developer testnet based on the new node version.

As part of the final testing phase, the Cardano developer plans to “shift towards tracking weekly milestones” on whether the journey towards Vasil remains on track. The next decision point is scheduled for today.

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Sam is a financial content specialist with a keen interest in the blockchain space. He has worked with several firms and media outlets in the Finance and Cybersecurity fields.