In the next 10 days, Cardano is scheduled to undergo a major upgrade. The mainnet hard fork is scheduled to occur Feb. 14, 2023, at 9:44:51 p.m. UTC. It will take place at the start of epoch 394, around absolute slot height 84844800 and estimated block height 8403208.
Cardano builder IOG says it is targeting the update to the preproduction test environment for Feb. 11, 2023, at 12:00:00 a.m. UTC. Plutus now has new built-in functions that handle ECDSA and Schnorr signatures, making it simpler for developers to create cross-chain apps.
In November 2022, an intensive integration test was conducted in the preview test environment, and it was successful. This technology is now close to being deployed on the Cardano mainnet.
IOG and the Cardano Foundation decided on three critical mass indicators for the last Vasil upgrade to ensure ecosystem readiness. According to IOG, the new upgrade is less complex than Vasil and has less of an impact on the existing dApps.
However, the teams are making sure that everything is ready by collaborating closely with important Cardano stakeholders, particularly SPOs, dApps and exchanges that may need to make preparations for the new capability.
One of them is for SPOs to switch to the required node for the upgrade. In anticipation of the upcoming upgrade, top crypto exchange Binance has announced that it will temporarily suspend ADA deposits and withdrawals beginning Feb. 14, 2023, at 8:44 p.m. UTC and reopen when the network is stable.
Why hard fork?
Cardano uses the Edwards-curve Digital Signature Algorithm (Ed25519), also utilized by Monero and Ripple. This offers quick signature verification and small signature sizes while also being resistant to certain types of cryptographic attacks.
Input Output Global (IOG) has implemented new built-in functions in Plutus to handle ECDSA and Schnorr signatures, whose capabilities will be enabled in the upgrade, to make it simpler for developers to create cross-chain apps.