The Cardano software platform has entered the third stage of its roadmap, the Basho era. It promises to improve network performance and scalability.
The Cardano Roadmap is a “Summary of Cardano Development” divided into five eras to provide improvements in the various functions of the network that are “delivered across multiple versions of the code”.
Now that the core smart contracting capability of the Plutus platform has been deployed, the Basho-era launch focuses on scaling Cardano, promising “parameter tweaks, improvements, enhancements, and other innovations” that should increase the network’s capacity.
They also call it the “age of optimization,” promising improved performance and interoperability to “better support growth and adoption of high-transaction applications.” It is meant to bring high performance and resiliency to the network.
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Scalability and Interoperability
Scalability and interoperability are some of the key solutions that Cardano wants to offer as an “Ethereum Killer.” While the Ethereum network is processing up to 100,000 transactions per second (tps), Cardano plans to reach millions of tps with its second layer Hydra solution.
In terms of interoperability, the Basho phase will introduce sidechains, “new blockchains, interoperable with the Cardano mainchain,” that ultimately aim to allow blocks, with different architectures and tokens, to be able to communicate: interoperate.
Cardano’s roadmap states that “side chains can be used as a hashing mechanism by offloading work from the main chain to the side chain to increase network capacity. They can also be used to offer experimental features without affecting the security of the main blockchain.”
Similarly, this phase will also introduce parallel accounting patterns: “The ability to support and switch between UTXO and arithmetic-based models using side chains will be added.” This is also intended to enhance interoperability and “support new types of use cases on the network”.
“Building on these foundations, and steadily increasing capacity and throughput to handle growth in the DApp ecosystem and onboard hundreds of thousands, then millions of new users. From DeFi it is moving to citizens of developing countries.”
Cardano has been widely criticized for its slow start. Many people thought the platform was lagging, noting that it took too long to deploy the first smart contract. However, Cardano CEO Frederic Gregaard says they are taking a rigorous approach to job launches, with rigorous testing and peer review.
This time around, the Basho stage launch report noted that they expect “periods of high demand and occasional network congestion”, but see this as part of the “journey” and added that they would maintain a “thoughtful and safe approach”.
“We are on an exciting journey and usage will be high. While we may sometimes get impatient, this is the way to go. Here’s how to improve and expand as we grow.”
What did Basho’s era promise to solve?
The report’s optimization and scalability improvements are split between “on-chain solutions” and “off-chain solutions”. Here’s what they’re up to:
For solutions on the series:
- Increase block size: The network recently increased its block size by 12.5% to 72KB and “further increases will apply over time”.
- pipe lines: It intends to deploy the blocks “to at least 95% of peers within five seconds” to provide “overhead leeway for more robust scaling changes”.
- Input validations: “This improves the consistency of block propagation times and allows for higher transaction rates.”
- Memory/CPU Parameters for Plutus: Improves memory efficiency across the chain.
- Plutos Improvements: “More efficient use of the powerful EUTXO model through smart contract optimization,”
- Node improvements: It intends to “help distribute stock and bonus accounts through the ages.” New node release “reduces peak load at critical points,”
- Disk storage: “RAM-constrained systems will be able to run nodes (…) and memory will no longer be an obstacle to scalability.”
For off-chain solutions:
- side chains: “Assets can be moved between chains as needed.”
- hydra: “Provides a more efficient means of processing off-chain transactions,”
- Off-chain computing: “Transactions occur outside of the blockchain itself, yet can provide fast and cheap transactions via a trust model.”
- Mithril: It results in “multi-signature assembly that is fast and efficient without compromising security features.”
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