New Cardano Upgrade Rivals The Merge [Crypto News]

Check out the biggest breaking crypto market updates for today:

Cardano Blockchain’s New Vasil Upgrade Goes Live

There’s been so much hype around The Merge, most people have completely forgotten one of Ethereum’s biggest blockchain competitors, Cardano, is executing a similar upgrade, called Vasil. 

Vasil puts the Cardano blockchain well ahead of the game for scaling power, network capacity, higher throughput, and lower transaction costs. 

According to Frederik Gregaard, CEO of the Cardano Foundation, 

“Vasil will enhance Cardano’s smart contract capabilities through Plutus V2, which adds greater efficiency to an already powerful smart contract platform. Ultimately, it will reduce script execution cost and transaction size, plus improve throughput.” 

Cardano’s Vasil hard fork was successfully completed last Thursday. The success of the Cardano mainnet hard fork was announced by blockchain company Input Output Hong Kong (IOHK ) on Twitter, while others also observed the hard fork’s successful completion in a live Twitter space livestream with Cardano co-founder Charles Hoskinson. 

IOHK previously stated the significant upgrades brought by the fork is block transmission without full validation, allowing for faster block creation. Upgrades to its Plutus smart contracts for increased efficiency also allow decentralized applications to deploy and run at lower costs. 

New capabilities brought by the Plutus script upgrades will become available for developers on the mainnet on Sept. 27, after one “epoch,” which currently lasts around five days. 

Bill Barhydt, founder of crypto trading platform Abra, called the upgrade “a big 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 done.” 

The date for this upgrade was announced in early September by IOHK, while the “critical mass indicators” needed to trigger the hard fork were reached in the 24 hours leading up to the event. 

It comes after months of delays and reschedules, with the launch day originally slated for June, it was twice delayed due to issues on the testnet caused by bugs in a prior node version creating compatibility issues. 

Just a couple days after Vasil went live, it seems that the effects of the upgrade can already be felt by end-users. 

The first thing Cardano’s fans did after the Vasil hard fork was interact with a few Cardano dApps. Users reported both simple and complex smart contract transactions were much quicker – roughly the same speed as smart contract transactions on Ethereum. This is consistent with the 9-10 smart contract transactions per second we’ve seen discussed on the Cardano subreddit and elsewhere. 

It doesn’t sound like much, but you don’t need much more than that during a bear market when demand for dApps is down across the board. 

Not only that, but Cardano has a whole slew of other scalability upgrades scheduled over the next year. 

The most anticipated of these is Hydra, which will make it possible for each staking pool on Cardano to process 1,000 transactions per second, with around 3,000 staking pools, that’s 3 million Transactions Per Second: 

Here’s a diagram from Cardano which maps out how Hydra will work: 

Many of these upgrades have been expedited by the Cardano project to compete with The Ethereum Merge. 

And not to be outdone, a third blockchain is making huge upgrades to stay competitive, too:

Algorand Rolls Out Insane New Scaling Techniques

Algorand is rolling out their own novel scaling techniques, starting with stake proofs, which were implemented last Wednesday. 

The introduction of stake proofs increased Algorand’s Transactions-Per-Second from around 1,100 to over 6,000. More importantly, stake proofs introduced “post-quantum security” to the Algorand blockchain. 

This means that transactions on Algorand cannot be manipulated by quantum computers. Now although the actual threat of manipulation like this is a long way away, Algorand is one of the first to be prepared. 

I’ll also quickly note that post-quantum security is something that the US government said it would be testing this year for its upcoming digital dollar. The Fed has partnered with MIT for this research, and MIT is where Algorand founder Silvio Micali is based. 

Algorand’s next scaling upgrade will be block pipelining. This will increase Algorand’s TPS from 6,000 to roughly 46,000 – making it about as fast as Solana, which is one of the fastest blockchains. 

Interestingly, it seems that Cardano used pipelining as part of its own scalability in the Vassal upgrade. In any case, the harsh reality is that neither ADA nor ALGO will probably perform too well in the short to medium term. 

This is simply because their macro factors are keeping investors away from “speculative” assets like cryptocurrencies. 

That said, the significance of these upgrades for the next crypto bull run cannot be understated. 

Both Cardano and Algorand are laying the foundations they need for their ecosystems to flourish, and it’s easy to imagine many of the next 1000x altcoins during the next bull run will be found on the Cardano and Algorand blockchains. So keep an eye on both!

IRS Wins Order for SFOX Customer Data in Crypto Tax Push

The U.S. Internal Revenue Service (IRS) has been given the authority to summon M.Y. Safra Bank via a so-called “John Doe” summons, which claims there are unknown people who haven’t reported crypto gains on their taxes within the ecosystem. The summons enables the tax authority to gather information on customers of the bank’s partner SFOX, a crypto prime dealer. 

This is the latest in a series of such summons issued to crypto companies like Kraken, Circle and Coinbase. 

IRS Commissioner Charles Rettig stated, 

“The government’s ability to obtain third-party information on those failing to report their gains from digital assets remains a critical tool in catching tax cheats.” 

In its petition in support of the summons, the IRS pointed to “significant tax compliance deficiencies” related to cryptocurrency transactions made through the SFOX platform. 

“Taxpayers who transact with cryptocurrency should understand that income and gains from cryptocurrency transactions are taxable,” U.S. Attorney Damian Williams said in a statement, adding that the information sought by the summons “will help to ensure that cryptocurrency owners are following the tax laws.” 

SFOX has over 175,000 registered users who have collectively undertaken more than $12 billion in transactions since 2015, connecting crypto exchanges, over-the-counter virtual currency brokers, and liquidity providers. 

M.Y. Safra Bank partnered with SFOX in 2019 to offer its customers cash deposit accounts backed by the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation, with users being able to use those accounts to buy and sell digital assets. 

According to IRS Commissioner Charles Rettig, the court decision to grant the summons “reinforces our ongoing, significant efforts to ensure that everyone pays their fair share.” 
“Taxpayers earning income from digital asset transactions need to come into compliance with their filing and reporting responsibilities,” he added.

Luke Baldwin

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