In the same week we found out about the delay to Ethereum’s upgrade known as the “merge”, which was expected to be in June but is now some tbd months later, we found out the status of another June hardfork – this time on Cardano. And unlike Ethereum’s upgrade, Cardano’s “Vasil” upgrade is on track for a tentative date of the 29th June. As you can imagine this went over really well with the Cardano community. The tentative June hardfork date was tweeted out within seconds of it being announced (I know this as I was hoping to be the first to tweet it but found 2-3 other people had beaten me to it in the 20 seconds it took for me to type it out and hit send).
Now of course there’s always the chance it can still get delayed closer to the time, this is crypto after all, but in the latest Cardano mid-month update, we were told it was code complete and in the middle of testing with a launch on testnet due to come.
This is a testament to what Charles has previously said, that updates to Cardano will become easier and faster due to the solid foundation that has been built for it. Unlike Ethereum it isn’t wrangling with years of technical debt nor a self-inflicted “difficulty bomb”. Cardano’s platform has been built thoughtfully and carefully from the ground up and the fruits of this labor are starting to show.
Not that Cardano is struggling – we were told that the blockchain has been performing exceptionally across all Dapps with no backlog, thanks to all the smaller improvements that had been made recently and with more of these improvements on their way before the significant June upgrade. And on-top of all that there is an even bigger scalability improvement coming at the end of the year in the form of input endorsers. IOG said this would be the year they focus on scaling, and they are sure delivering on that.
John Woods, Director of Cardano Architecture, took 15 minutes to explain various technical subjects in a way even your friendly neighborhood troll could understand. I recommend watching it but here is a brief recap of what was said:
EUTXO – An explanation of how Cardano has taken the same design that powers Bitcoin, and extended it (that’s what the E stands for in EUTXO) to allow for smart contracts. For all the critics that like to say smart-contracts aren’t possible on a UTXO-style accounting model, John Woods had a message “It turns out EUTXO is all we need to enable all classes of smart contracts, DeFi, or other applications on Cardano.”
Plutus Architecture – The key thing to understand here is that Cardano has two types of smart contract code – on-chain and off-chain. On-chain code is the hard-wired immutable stuff. So this is where you keep the most important parts of your smart contract – the logic that governs under what circumstances a transaction can happen. The off-chain code is where you have the rest of your DApp and it’s here that a transaction is created and sent to the on-chain code for it to validate and carry out. This is in contrast to Ethereum which tries to have a full blown computer within the on-chain Ethereum virtual machine.
CIPS & Other Improvements – Here he outlined the improvements that are coming with the Vasil hardfork. They all pertained making the on-chain code much more efficient and easier to work with.
Script sizes will go down by 20%, the interpreter which reads the code will be 40% faster, and simple transactions will be 80% faster. I recommend watching the video if you want details on exactly how this will be achieved.
Determinism, Parallelism, & Concurrency – Here John talked about Cardano’s EUTXO design being like a DAG (a Direct Acyclic Graph) and that this allows for parallel processing. This is the technology behind Hydra and why you could theoretically scale up to any number of TPS you want under this model. For those of you with a computing background it made me think of Ethereum being like a relational database and Cardano being like Apache Spark. Built for enormous workloads.
Finally we heard from some of the Dapp developers building on Cardano, they were all DeFi related yet they all had their own unique take. Demonstrating how Cardano is seeing a Cambrian explosion of DApps experimenting with different models.
Meld – A lending & borrowing protocol aiming to replace banks. They already have their staking model in place and are working on the technical and regulatory hurdles to get up and running with lending up and borrowing. You don’t often hear about DApps saying they are working on the messy legal side of things. But this just highlights Melds ambition to disrupt traditional banking.
ErgoDEX – A non-custodial DEX being built across both ERGO and Cardano blockchains. Non-custodial for those that don’t follow means you can keep your tokens in your wallet – no need to transfer it to the control of the DEX. Just one of the innovations that building on Cardano allows. ErgoDex is due to hit mainnet in a months time!
Muesliswap – The first DEX to be launched on Cardano. They already have an order-book style DEX running on Mainnet, and on Milkomeda and are now building out an AMM (aka Uniswap style) of DEX which is due to come out on mainnet “very soon”.
Ardana – Ardana are looking to build an ecosystem around their very own stablecoin, DUSD. Given the uncertainty around when Djed will launch this may become the very first native stablecoin to launch on Cardano.
This was also a more defiant status update, as if aimed at the fudsters out there. I’ll leave you with John Wood closing thoughts – that Cardano will become the greatest smart contract platform for the next 5 years.
Have a great day!