After several months of delays, the Cardano Vasil upgrade and hard fork finally went live on Thursday at 21:44 UTC, bringing “significant performance and capability” improvements to the blockchain.
The success of the Cardano mainnet hard fork was announced by blockchain firm Input Output Hong Kong (IOHK) on Twitter on Thursday, while others also observed the hard fork ticking on Twitter Spaces live with Cardano co-founder Charles Hoskinson.
OHK previously stated a significant improvement brought by the fork is block transmission without full validation, allowing for faster block generation. Upgrading to Plutus smart contracts to increase efficiency also allows decentralized applications to be deployed and run at a lower cost.
The new capabilities brought by the Plutus script upgrade will be available to developers on mainnet on September 27, currently lasting about five days.
Bill Barhydt, founder of crypto trading platform Abra, called the upgrade a “huge win for developers” with decentralized finance (DeFi) platform Genius Yield, tweeting it was “one of the most complex and consequential updates to the Cardano network ever undertaken.”
The upgrade date was announced in early September by IOHK, while the “critical mass indicator” required to trigger the hard fork was reached in the 24 hours leading up to the event.
It came after months of delays and rescheduling, with the launch day originally scheduled for June, it was twice delayed due to problems in the testnet caused by a bug in the previous version of node that created compatibility issues.
Following the Vasil upgrade, Cardano continues to develop a layer-2 scaling solution, the Hydra head protocol, which processes transactions from the Cardano blockchain while still using it as a security and settlement layer.
The latest update on Hydra from September 16 details the team addressing known issues with Hydra nodes. The protocol has no set launch date, but is intended for some time in late 2022 or the first quarter of 2023.
The successful launch announcement saw the price of Cardano (ADA) rise nearly 4% over the past 24 hours to $0.46, according to CoinGecko data, though it is still down more than 4.5% on the week.