What Is Cardano’s Vasil Hard Fork?

Named after late Bulgarian mathematician Vasil Dabov, a prominent contributor to Cardano, the Vasil hard fork is touted as one of the most highly-anticipated upgrades for Cardano. The hard fork is the third development epoch of Cardano and is supposed to introduce several upgrades to the blockchain’s smart contract programming language Plutus and the network’s capacity.

The event was originally billed to happen in June 2022, but has been postponed a number of times.

Vasil will introduce five critical mechanisms to improve Cardano’s scalability and usability — CIP-31, CIP-32, CIP-33, CIP-40 and diffusion pipelining.

CIP-31, aka “reference inputs” will introduce a new kind of input that would allow developers to look at the result of an output without having to spend it. This would optimize transaction throughput and increase concurrency.

The CIP-32 proposal aims to enable inline datums. Rather than attach datum to datum hashes, which is the current state of things, CIP-32 would allow developers to attach datums to outputs. By implementing this update, devs can code scripts that directly point to the input, making room for simpler and quicker communication of datum values between users.

The Cardano Improvement Proposal 33 would allow reference scripts to be attached to outputs. As a result, the reference scripts are used to satisfy the validation requirements in place of the spending transaction. These reference scripts will make the validation process more efficient and reduce the size of transactions.

Meanwhile, CIP-40 features a brand-new type of output to transactions called collateral outputs, aimed at improving the overall scalability of the network.

Diffusing pipelining is Cardano’s consensus layer scaling solution. The improvement proposal will see more DApp deployment by overlaying some of the steps that a block needs to go through as it moves across the chain: this would allow for concurrent transactions.