A public disagreement between Cardano creator Charles Hoskinson and the stake pool operators (SPOs) community towards the end of last week sparked raised concerns about the delivery timeline of the highly awaited Vasil upgrade. The contention after popular Cardano developer Adam Dean claimed that the blockchain’s testnet had been catastrophically broken after a bug was discovered in version 1.35.2.
IOG CEO Charles Hoskinson dismisses claims of rushed updates
In a series of tweets posted last Thursday, Dean claimed that the Cardano testnet version 1.35.2 was “catastrophically broken” following a bug discovered by stake pool operators (SPOs) ATADA and PoolTool. Dean suggested that SPOs were getting rushed to upgrade to 1.35.2 version, resulting in incompatible forks, which in effect slashed chain density – a metric reflecting the network’s health.
Input Output Global, the backing organization behind Cardano, had assured the operators that node version 1.35.2 had undergone extensive testing and was set for deployment. Dean said the bug in v. 1.35.2 had caught most of the SPOs as they had already upgraded to the version while simulating a Vasil hardfork combinator event. IOG introduced the new faulty v. 1.35.3, which could not sync with the original testnet and was, therefore, run on two testnets without any block history.
Bizarre and alarmist
Not too amused by the ‘headlines,’ the founder of the Cardano network dismissed the claims, or rather their suggested severity. He termed claims of things being rushed with version 1.35.3, projected to be the final version that will ship to Vasil, as “bizarre and alarmist.” The Cardano creator explained that the code under question had been tested for months prior (by many, including the SPOs), and more is that it is already running.
As such, it would be unnecessarily inconvenient for decentralized application developers were this code put up to another retest. Hoskinson further pointed out that the code that caused said “catastrophic error” had been omitted from the 1.35.3 version. That’s as far as accountable as he was, adding the decision to update or not remains in the hands of the SPOs. Hoskinson also denied claims that IOG failed to disclose the breakdown of the testnet, clarifying that cutting the code had been done to solve this issue rather than create a new testnet altogether.
Fragmented community-based organization has held Cardano back
Hoskinson, later on, Saturday, offered an apology to the SPOs while emphasizing their significance to the larger community. He said that Cardano has always been careful to strike a balance between the user experience, security and fast delivery. The frequency and severity of hacks in the blockchain space have underlined the need for utmost care.
The Cardano founder, this time with a less truculent attitude, added that the lack of proper member-based organization has harmed the network. He explained that while millions of dollars have already gone into the investment to achieve partial delegation, improved documentation, and enhanced support fronts, Cardano remains behind.
Hoskinson further voiced his frustration with the current state of matters, explaining that the network lacks formalized accountability systems and a unified approach to ecosystem development. He added that he would have done things differently during the creation of the network to have measures to engage the “needs and desires” of the community.
Vasil is the turning point
Thus far, the idea of molding a much more engaged community has been pursued by CIPs (Cardano Improvement Proposals) but to no avail, Hoskinson said. Considering the current state of matters, the Ethereum co-founder insists that all this is set to change with the dawn of Vasil – the upgrade introduces more effective code, quicker development, more parallel endeavors, and several other improvements. Hoskinson holds that Vasil will mark a new era that will allow consensus-led decisions to be reached via CIPs and new organizations.
Cardano’s testnet is looking good
Pseudonymous member of the Cardano community and SPO of the Logic staking pool, The Ancient Kraken, on Sunday confirmed that the issue that had bugged v. 1.35.2 had been resolved, and now v. 1.35.1 and v 1.35.3 are working as expected. He explained that this bug triggered by the v. 1.35.2 node allowed the generation of otherwise invalid transactions at very low fees under certain conditions.
The SPO added that with the latter two node versions actively running, they would omit any incorrect transaction transmitted by a bad node – v. 1.35.2. The pseudonymous account pointed out that the transactions are eventually held in the local mempool – where unconfirmed transactions are typically stored. However, if these incorrect transactions are now submitted to the good nodes, they are not validated.
Collaboration to the rescue
On Monday, Blue Cheese Stake House staking node operator Andrew Westberg explained that community members collaborating with IOG spun up a mixed environment on August 19 – a public testnet dubbed YoloNet – that helped verify that nodes were running the different releases could co-exist. The new testnet also helped ensure that nodes on v.1.35.2 do not propagate the incorrect transactions to other nodes.
With the assurance of testing in this mixed-node environment, Cardano SPOs have been upgrading to v.1.35.3, with 35% running the latest node version as of the time of writing. The figure remains low because SPO must coordinate upgrades across different blocks, hence the assumption that they could be waiting for the next epoch. The expectation is that once 75% of stake pool nodes are running v.1.35.3, a date for the Vasil HFC event can be set.
While the quick fix and assurance restored confidence in the progress of Vasil, there is still much testing to be done.
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