Cardano’s Vasil upgrade triggers after a 3-month delay

Quick Take

  • Cardano’s previously delayed Vasil upgrade has triggered, bringing increased network capacity, higher throughput and lower transaction costs.
  • Vasil also introduces enhancements to Plutus — Cardano’s smart contract language — enabling developers to create more powerful dApps.

Cardano’s long-awaited Vasil upgrade has triggered, enabling increased network capacity, higher throughput, and lower transaction costs on the peer-reviewed, proof-of-stake blockchain platform.

The Vasil hard fork is part of Cardano’s Basho era — one of the key development phases on the Cardano roadmap — focusing on optimization, scalability and interoperability.

Binance has produced the first block of the new era. 

Vasil required no action for regular ADA holders using Cardano for transactions and dApps, with the transition happening behind the scenes.

The upgrade, originally planned for June, also activates Plutus v2 enhancements to Cardano’s smart contracts. This brings it closer in line with the capabilities of the largest smart contract platform, Ethereum, and opens up the potential for current and new Cardano DeFi projects to create more powerful, efficient, and cost-effective applications.

Speaking on his vlog ahead of the upgrade about Cardano's gradual approach to adding new capabilities, founder Charles Hoskinson said “[We] knew that, over time, we could get to what Ethereum has done, but we understood a road map to get there.”

"The Vasil hard fork moves us towards this goal by improving Cardano’s foundational features, upgrading the technology’s capacity to transform our traditional financial and social systems, and ultimately advancing decentralized economic empowerment,” Frederik Gregaard, CEO of the Cardano Foundation, told The Block.  

“Where previous development eras focused on decentralization and new functionality, Basho is focused on improving the underlying performance of the Cardano network to further support growth and adoption for applications with high transaction volumes," he added.  


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"Additionally, Vasil will enhance Cardano's smart contract capabilities through Plutus v2, which adds greater efficiency to an already powerful smart contract platform. Ultimately, it will reduce script execution costs and transaction size, plus improve throughput.”

The date for the upgrade was confirmed by Input Output Global (IOG) — the Cardano-focused research and development company — earlier this month, having reached the critical mass indicators required and gained assurances from staking pool operators, exchanges, and dApp communities they were ready for Vasil.

According to IOG, Vasil represents the most significant upgrade for the blockchain to date. A joint IOG and Cardano Foundation team used the hard fork combinator — Cardano’s unique mechanism for changing the blockchain — to deploy Vasil at the protocol level at epoch 365, enabling a seamless technical transition with no downtime or disruption to users.

The upgrade is the result of a collaborative effort across the Cardano ecosystem from the core development team, the Cardano Foundation, IOG, Emurgo, and the wider Cardano community via technical Cardano Improvement Proposals (CIPs).

Now deployed, the upgrade promises increased functionality, performance and scalability. The new Vasil capabilities will be available to utilize on the mainnet after exactly one epoch, on Sept. 27.

The upgrade takes its name to honor Bulgarian mathematician Vasil St. Dabov, a Cardano ambassador and community member who died late last year. Coincidentally, Vasil also falls on Bulgaria’s independence day.

© 2023 The Block. All Rights Reserved. This article is provided for informational purposes only. It is not offered or intended to be used as legal, tax, investment, financial, or other advice.

About Author

James Hunt is a reporter at The Block, based in the UK. As the writer behind The Daily newsletter, James also keeps you up to speed on the latest crypto news every weekday. Prior to joining The Block in 2022, James spent four years as a freelance writer in the industry, contributing to both publications and crypto project content. James’ coverage spans everything from Bitcoin and Ethereum to Layer 2 scaling solutions, avant-garde DeFi protocols, evolving DAO governance structures, trending NFTs and memecoins, regulatory landscapes, crypto company deals and the immersive metaverse. You can get in touch with James on Twitter or Telegram via @humanjets or email him at [email protected].