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The Protocol Version 8 upgrade will introduce support for SECP256k1, the elliptic curve used to secure blockchains such as Bitcoin and Ethereum.

The Cardano blockchain’s next Chain Upgrade Event (CUE), dubbed the Protocol Version 8 upgrade, will make the network better interoperable with other blockchains, including Bitcoin and Ethereum. The upgrade will introduce support for SECP256k1, the elliptic curve utilized in other blockchains for cryptographic security.

The concept was recently highlighted by an anonymous Cardano enthusiast with deep knowledge of Cardano development ThePizzaKnight, who simplified it to the comprehension of the average reader. According to him, the event will facilitate interoperability with Bitcoin, Ethereum, and other upcoming sidechains, such as the ZK-powered project dubbed Midnight. Cardano founder Charles Hoskinson retweeted the thread today, giving credence to the development.


To drive the point home, he likened cryptographic primitives to real-world language families such as English and Spanish. Cryptographic primitives are the algorithms used to make our data secure. They help protect our crypto assets from theft.

Elliptic curves are examples of cryptographic primitives. While several blockchains, such as Bitcoin and Ethereum, use the elliptic curve called SECP256k1, Cardano uses curve25519. These can be likened to different languages and, as such, make it difficult for Cardano to communicate with blockchains that use SECP256k1.

However, the Protocol Version 8 upgrade will include native support for SECP256k1 on the Cardano blockchain. This added support will facilitate inter-chain operability by giving Cardano an in-built ability to communicate with other chains such as Bitcoin and Ethereum. Essentially, Cardano will now understand the SECP256k1 language.

The development will benefit developers by introducing fresh cross-chain opportunities, as they will be provided access to other chains and tokens while building on Cardano. To this effect, users are advised to convince their Stake Pool Operators (SPOs) to upgrade their Cardano nodes to version 1.35.4.

IOG, Emurgo, and the Cardano Foundation have set a tentative release date of early February. Even so, IOG is seeking to know if the release date is convenient for builders and SPOs through a survey that will close today at 13:00 (UTC).

The Protocol Version 8 upgrade is one of the most significant upgrades to the Cardano chain following the Vasil hard fork of September 2022. Five days after the successful trigger of the Vasil upgrade on September 22, IOG announced the availability of all Vasil features on the Cardano mainnet.

Notably, just two weeks after the Vasil upgrade, the number of smart contracts on Cardano increased by 100, suggesting an increased adoption rate as the upgrade introduced more network scalability.

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