Cardano Updates

New Cardano cryptographic primitives

Cardano will be getting some new cryptographic primitives soon. Thinking that sounds complex? And why does it matter? You are not alone we suspect.

To make it easier for developers to build cross-chain applications, Input Output Global (IOG) is adding new built-in functions to Plutus to support ECDSA and Schnorr signatures. As Tim Harrison explains:

Cryptography ensures trust and security in blockchain settings and different blockchains use different cryptographic signature methods. Elliptic Curve Digital Signature Algorithm (ECDSA) and Schnorr signatures are two popular signature schemes used in blockchain platforms. Bitcoin and Ethereum, among other cryptographic systems, use ECDSA. Schnorr signatures, originally proposed as an alternative to ECDSA, are also used in several blockchain networks, such as Polkadot.

Cardano uses the Edwards-curve Digital Signature Algorithm (EdDSA) with elliptic curve Curve25519 as its base curve (aka. Ed25519). This gives fast signature verification and small signature sizes, which helps to improve the overall performance and security of the blockchain. Additionally, Ed25519 is designed to be resistant to certain types of cryptographic attacks, making it a more secure choice. Monero, Ripple, and others also use Ed25519 as their signature algorithm.

By providing ECDSA and Schnorr algorithms as part of the base Plutus Smart Contract capabilities it opens the way to more efficient interoperability with Bitcoin, Ethereum and other blockchains. This removes a big impediment to cross chain operation, and also opens up a number of novel side chain applications, and dApp scenarios that need these primitives to be available.

The upgrade is targeted for mid-February, as it requires at least 80% of nodes to have upgraded to version 1.35.4 or later. ADAvault is currently running 1.35.5 so we are ready for the change.