The Cardano (ADA) network is performing a planned upgrade on February. 20 to introduce Ouroboros BFT, an improved consensus mechanism. The update is an intermediate step between the current Byron era and Shelley, which introduces betting on mainnet.
Announced by IOHK on February 19, the upgrade will be performed on Thursday at 9:44 PM UTC, or 4:44 PM EST. The network will undergo a heavy fork, although the team emphasizes that “it is a planned and managed protocol upgrade.”
The new protocol is a development compared to the original Ouroboros “Classic”, which is currently active on the Cardano network. Although Ouroboros is a demonstrably secure consensus protocol for the stake-of-stake, the original version has made several compromises in decentralization. The list of validators is currently fixed and their follow-up is known in advance.
The Shelley era of Cardano focuses entirely on removing the “training wheels” and making block validators decide by strike. It is powered by Ouroboros Praos, which adds various functions to make it much more difficult for corrupt validators.
Between the two major eras, the Cardano team decided to split the transition into two hard forks. It has been decided to ensure that there are no interruptions in the network service because its validation is transferred to the community.
The Cardano team suffered strong setbacks in its Shelley plans. Although it was initially planned to be released before the end of 2019, the team was only able to launch a stimulated test network in December.
The test net was an important step in preparing for Shelley and helped create a strike community in a safe environment. In the meantime, Cardano is also working on every subsequent phase, such as smart contracts.
After a commitment to improve timeline estimates, Cardano delivered the hard fork on time. In January, IOHK CEO Charles Hoskinson promised a date in mid-February for the upgrade.