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Chang Hard-fork Brings Plutus V3 To Cardano

Published 13.2.2024

Plutus V3 is a massive upgrade that will bring new possibilities for applications built on Cardano. For example, it introduces new cryptographic primitives including zero-knowledge (ZK). This will allow building ZK rollups and ZK smart contracts on Cardano. The Vasil hard-fork, deployed in September 2022, brought Plutus V2. V2 had a significant impact on the efficiency of smart contracts. V3 again brings higher efficiency, but also new possibilities. Plutus V3 is available for testing on SanchoNet.

What Plutus V3 Brings

Plutus V3 includes advanced primitives and tools that give developers more options for writing smart contracts. The IOG team, in cooperation with MLabs, focused mainly on performance, throughput, size of SC, and new capabilities.

Cryptographic capabilities will be expanded. Last year, Valintine's upgrade supported ECDSA and Schnorr, allowing interoperability with Bitcoin.

V3 adds new cryptographic primitives that allow building sidechain bridges and increase interoperability with other blockchains.

Probably the most expected is the support of the zero-knowledge proof (ZKP) system. ZK cryptography will allow developers to build ZK rollups and ZK smart contracts. This will bring Cardano closer to what Midnight will be able to do (Midnight has the advantage of having a private blockchain, etc.). Some teams have already announced that we are several months away from ZK smart contracts on Cardano.

Plutus language contains built-in functions that are commonly used in scripts. V3 brings new functions.

For example, 17 new primitives that support cryptographic curves. It opens doors to seamless sidechain implementation and integration with Mithril.

Furthermore, a cryptographic hash function Keccak-256 which produces a 256-bit hash value. It is commonly used for secure data verification on Ethereum. So supporting it in Plutus will allow for building cross-chain solutions and support some community projects.

V3 introduces bitwise primitives that allow developers to manipulate bits at a low level. This will have a positive impact on higher performance. For example, developers will have a primitive allowing highly efficient conversion between Integers and Strings.

CIP-58 adds a class of low-level functions for highly efficient algorithms and data structures. It adds the ability to build efficient hash tables, a common key-value mapping data structure, etc.

Governance

The Chang hard-fork brings governance to Cardano. V3 will allow users to see CIP-1694 governance-related entities. This is Cardano's first big step into the governance era. It is already possible to register as a DRep on SanchoNet. The process is easy and takes a few minutes.

Around 600 wallets have joined SanchnoNet and more than 160 DReps have registered. Those are very good numbers for testnet.

According to the SanchoNet roadmap, phases 1 to 4 have been completed. This enables DRep registration, DRep delegation, and DRep voting. It is also possible, for example, to vote as SPO or DRep. I expect the same thing to be possible on the Cardano main-net after the hard-fork.

Conclusion

V2 brought a significant increase in efficiency compared to V1. V3 pushes the boundaries of efficiency and expands possibilities. Some teams are looking forward to V3. Hopefully, they will soon deliver applications that will fully utilize the potential of V3. Hopefully, we'll see the use of ZK cryptography soon.

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