Goguen momentum continues with new protocol update on 16th December

Screenshot 2020-12-13 at 10.43.14

Token locking will prepare Cardano for smart contracts and the creation of assets (in addition to ADA) that run on the platform. It also provides an important piece of Voltaire (governance) functionality, supporting a voting mechanism. You can read a fuller overview of token locking, what this means and why it matters right here.

We can now confirm the timing for this next Cardano protocol update (codename: ‘Allegra’) which delivers token locking to Cardano, a core building block of both governance and smart contract functionality. This will take place on the 16th December, at the boundary of epoch 236 @ 21:44:51 UTC #Cardano #ADA

Fork no fork

To implement this change a ‘hard fork’ is required. However, there is no need to be concerned. The way that Cardano implements such protocol changes is completely different from the way other blockchains handle hard forks.

To enable a smooth transition, Cardano automatically preserves the history of previous blocks. This allows the protocol to be upgraded without radical interference to the chain. Instead of splitting into two different chains, Cardano combines the original blocks that comply with the current block production rules with new blocks that comply with the new block production rules.

Our goal has always been to make these changes as smooth as possible. The update is made possible using our unique hard fork combinator (HFC) technology which combines protocols without triggering interruptions, breaks, or forcing restarts to the Cardano blockchain.

A combinator is just a technical term for something that ‘combines’ other things. For example, addition is a ‘combinator’ when it comes to numbers. A hard fork combinator effectively combines two protocols into a single protocol. It allows for a carefully managed form of hard fork which avoids the risks and potential issues that has made the phrase ‘hard fork’ sound ominous to many. The combinator fixes the problem of hard forks.

Replicable, repeatable - and remarkable

The HFC is a remarkable piece of technology, unique to Cardano. It allows us to execute in a controlled and managed way. It is also replicable and repeatable, enabling us to bring fresh protocol updates to the Cardano blockchain with minimal risk, time after time. The HFC will enable us to move at speed – safely – as we accelerate the delivery of core Goguen functionality over the months ahead. The next update (codename: ‘Mary’) will bring native tokens to mainnet in Q1, again enabled through our HFC technology. For a fuller technical overview, you can read more here.

Counting down to the 16th

Now we are all locked and loaded, we now have a few more days to finalize preparations. Thanks to the hard fork combinator, regular ada holders need take no action – users just need to be running the latest version of their preferred wallet (we released a fully compatible version of Daedalus last week). Stake pool operators are now busy updating their nodes to the latest version. Exchanges are also updating their software stacks – with the support of a dedicated IOG/CF team – to ensure they can ride the event successfully and avoid any interruption to their customers’ service.

This update is another key milestone in the incredible Cardano journey we’ve been making since Shelley this summer. We’re delighted to deliver it – as we promised – during 2020. See you on the other side as we continue accelerating into Goguen, and all the new utility it will bring in 2021.