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Beginner's Guide to Cardano Vasil Hard Fork
Author: Catherine
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Another major upgrade is coming to one of the top smart contract platforms: Cardano will undergo a hard fork called Vasil this week. It is a big deal thanks to the improvements it will introduce to the blockchain platform, which we will talk about. While we are at it, let’s also take a look at what speculation and talk surrounds the event.

Key Takeaways

What is Vasil Upgrade?

Hopefully, you have already read a beginner’s guide to Cardano by ChangeHero by now. The following article assumes you are familiar with how the Cardano blockchain works.

Since Cardano is a developing platform, it introduces new features and tweaks network characteristics all the time. In decentralized blockchain platforms, since there is no single entity to roll out updates, the procedure is different.

First, the consensus of network maintainers about changes in the new version has to be reached. Then, when the software is ready, the maintainers (nodes and validators) update their clients by a predetermined date or time.

If the new version of the software is backward compatible with older ones, clients can coexist and it is called a soft fork. A recent example of a noteworthy soft fork is Bitcoin’s Taproot upgrade.

However, if the changes are drastic enough to make the newer clients non-backward compatible, ideally all clients must use the newer version. In this event, two scenarios for the old chain are possible. Either most of the maintainers move to a newer version after the successful completion, and the old chain stops. Alternatively, a part of the community chooses to maintain an old version in parallel to the new one. Both are called hard forks, though. To distinguish between them, sometimes the second is called a contentious hard fork. Ethereum Classic and Bitcoin Cash would be the best-known examples.

Vasil hard fork is not a contentious one, so it will not result in a new network, blockchain, or cryptocurrency. On June 29, the Cardano blockchain hard fork combinator (HFC) confirmed community readiness and set a hard fork date to September 22, 2022. In general, the Vasil upgrade aims to bring increased network capacity and quality-of-life improvements for Plutus, Cardano’s smart contract language.

Cardano Improvement Proposals in Vasil

The previous Cardano hard fork of comparable magnitude, Mary, brought native assets to this blockchain in early 2021. What core components does Vasil hard fork consist of to make a change that can be compared to that?

CIP-31: Reference Inputs

The reference input is a new kind of transaction input, along with a normal (spending) one. Previously, accessing the state of an application required a spending input. This led to blockchain bloat and inconvenience with inspecting state and data. Reference inputs will be useful to stablecoin users, on-chain data providers, and generally improve the user experience on Cardano.

CIP-32: Inline Datums

CIP-32 allows datums instead of datum hashes to be contained in outputs, streamlining communication between users. Datums themselves are a result of a specific computation, the value of which the interacting parties know one way or another. As such, providing a hash for it and attaching the datum in a separate spending input are just extra steps.

CIP-33: Reference Scripts

In a sense, CIP-33 introduces the same for scripts as the previous two improvement proposals did for their respective features. Reference scripts will allow common scripts to be validated without a spending transaction and remove the need for the entire script to be recorded every time.

Before the Vasil hard fork, a transaction that uses a script has to specify the entire script in the output. This makes it take up more block space, which is already more expensive. If it uses several scripts, it might not even fit into a block. After the Vasil upgrade, specifying a reference script, which is more lightweight, will be enough.

Diffusion Pipelining

While this change is not codified as a CIP, this is the one bringing increased network capacity. Diffusion pipelining is supposed to improve block times and reduce latency in block propagation.

After the Vasil hard fork upgrade, to transmit blocks nodes need only one Verifiable Random Function (VRF) instead of two, meaning the synchronization will be faster and more timely. As for the DDoS attack protection, the block data will be preserved as metadata in the next one, freeing up block space.

How to Prepare

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Photo by Kelly Sikkema on Unsplash

If you are a user or a holder of Cardano, you do not need to take any action. Node operators and developers must make sure their software is up to date. You may check your service provider announcement feeds to verify their support and preparedness for the Cardano Vasil hard fork.

ChangeHero is going to disable ADA swaps for scheduled maintenance for an hour before and after the Vasil hard fork upgrade. Keep an eye on our social media to know when it starts and ends.

Is it Good for ADA Price?

It is no secret that some Cardano (ADA) holders are more interested in what impact the hard fork will make for the Cardano price than usability. They, too, have questions about the Cardano Vasil hard fork, and we have answers.

Commenting on the Cardano (ADA) market insights a few days prior, Michael van de Poppe notices a lack of activity that could be tied to the news. Such a significant Cardano upgrade did not cause it to rally, which he attributes to a lack of hype. Despite this skepticism, he is bullish on ADA and sees the calm as a buying opportunity before Cardano’s Vasil hard fork takes it off to $1.

At the time of writing this guide, Cardano (ADA) price is $0.4503 and it ranks 8th by market capitalization according to CoinMarketCap.

PSA: September 22, 2022 is the deadline for validators and node operators to upgrade. Users and developers will get to enjoy the improvements almost a week after the hard fork date.

Van de Poppe might have been wrong about one thing, after all. There is no lack of hype around Vasil!

A useful Twitter thread about the Cardano’s Vasil hard fork from the Cardano developers themselves. In addition to breaking down the changes, they list products that will benefit from this Cardano hard fork.

Another essential fact about the update is like the previous ones, it is named after a remarkable mathematician and artist. The Cardano ambassador, Vasil Dabov, passed away last year, and the community and developers honored his memory by choosing the name for the significant Cardano upgrade.

How to Get Cardano (ADA) on ChangeHero?

Planning to make use of the chance? Feel free to swap crypto for ADA quickly and easily on ChangeHero:

  1. Choose the currencies on the home page, amounts, and the type of exchange. Provide your wallet address in the next step and check the amounts;
  2. Double-check the provided information, read and accept the Terms of Use and Privacy Policy;
  3. Send in a single transaction the sum of the cryptocurrency you will be exchanging. Fixed Rate transactions have a 15-minute limit;
  4. And now, relax! We are doing all the work: checking the incoming transaction and doing the exchange as soon as it arrives;
  5. As soon as the exchange has been processed, your ADA is on the way to your wallet. Your feedback is always welcome!

Customer support is available 24/7 in chat on our website or through the email: [email protected].


With this guide under your belt, we hope you are ready for the Vasil hard fork upgrade. After months of extensive testing and delays, it is almost here, so it’s best to be ready.

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