Cardano Grows Block Size by 11% to Meet Scaling Challenges

Key Takeaways

  • Cardano is increasing its block size from 72KB to 80KB. Plutus script memory units will also get a bump.
  • The updates are set to ship this Friday.
  • Cardano is aiming to become more scalable this year in a bid to catch up with its Layer 1 competitors.

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Cardano’s core development team, Input Output, will increase the network block size by 11%. The team has also planned a memory boost for its smart contract platform, Plutus.

Cardano Aims to Address Scaling Issues 

Cardano is increasing its block size.

In a Wednesday update posted on Twitter, Input Output reported that it would be expanding Cardano’s block size from 72KB to 80KB. Block size refers to the maximum data capacity a single block can have on a blockchain. A larger block size allows for more transactions to be added to new blocks, thereby improving scalability.

In addition to a bump in block size, the team has also planned improvements in the performance of Plutus, Cardano’s execution platform for deploying smart contracts. The team revealed that Plutus script memory units will be scaled from 12.5 million to 14 million. Expanded memory limits are expected to grow Plutus smart contracts’ ability to process more data items.

The Input Output team said that the updates would “provide additional resources for Plutus scripts to improve dApp user experience while increasing overall network capacity.”

The two improvements are slated to go live this Friday at 21:44 UTC.

In launching the upgrade, Input Output is placing hopes on Cardano’s ability to overcome its congestion issues. Notably, Input Output launched similar updates to both the block size and Plutus memory units in November 2021.

Cardano’s first decentralized exchange, SundaeSwap, suffered a rocky launch when users reported reported that high congestion was preventing them from executing token swaps. In the tweet storm announcing the updates, Input Output warned that there may still be “significant load” on the network during anticipated launches of new dApps and NFT mints. Cardano’s founder Charles Hoskinson has previously stated that the blockchain could become a hub for both DeFi and NFTs, but the network has some way to go to catch up with its competitors.

Throughout 2022, Input Output is planning to continue optimizing Cardano as part of the “Basho” scaling phase. With that, Cardano will be hoping to grab market share from Ethereum and the various other Layer 1 networks that dominated the cryptosphere in 2021.

Disclosure: At the time of writing, the author of this feature owned ETH and several other cryptocurrencies. 

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Cardano Successfully Changes K Parameter to 500, Blocks Assigned to Community Pools Increased by 6%

Cardano has successfully changed its k parameter to 500, from 150 on Dec. 6, as announced by Input Output Hong Kong (IOHK), the blockchain development company behind the Cardano blockchain. 

Cardano blockchain k parameter changes to 500

The k parameter on the Cardano blockchain is the reward scheme that sets the “soft-cap” on the pool size. Assuming rational participants and no external factors, at equilibrium, the Cardano stakeholders’ best response behavior converges to k pools of equal size. This would ensure the delivery of the same level of rewards per unit of stake to their delegates.

Cardano’s k parameter was previously set at k=150, when the Shelley update was deployed on the Cardano mainnet earlier this year. When k=150, the pool size was limited to 210 million ADA. After Shelley was launched on the Cardano mainnet, the rise of interest in the community led to more pools, and IOHK then decided that the k parameter needed to be adjusted to a higher value.

IOHK also decided to increase the percentage of blocks assigned to Cardano community pools, increasing by 6% while entering into epoch 234. The blockchain development company explained that this was due to operational reasons, due to St. Nicholas day. The usual rate of increase for Cardano’s community pools is 2% per epoch. IOHK’s announcement read:

“So we have now successfully moved k to 500 – #Decentralization continues apace! Some of you may also have noticed that the percentage of blocks assigned to #Cardano community pools has increased today by 6% instead of the usual rate of 2% per epoch.”

IOHk also noted that the d parameter will also be paused during the holiday season, which remains at over 68%. When the d parameter reaches 100%, the Cardano blockchain will be completely decentralized. The d parameter percentage would be increased after the holidays, in January 2021. IOHK further explained:

“For operational reasons, we have delivered this larger increase early (well, it is St Nicholas’ day – the ‘inspiration’ for Santa Claus…) and will now pause d at 68% over the holiday season, before continuing to raise this percentage in early January. Happy K=500 day!”

The Cardano blockchain has entered a new era, epoch 234, which would enable Cardano’s community stake pools to be responsible for 64% of all block production. This upgrade would open up new opportunities for more stake pools on the Cardano blockchain. The k parameter would see a new modification in March 2021 and is expected to be raised to 1,000.

Image source: Shutterstock


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