Cardano Updates

Hydra and scaling

Some news on Hydra progress which is a key Layer 2 (L2) component to help Cardano scale out in the coming years.

Matthias Benkort, IOG Software Engineering Lead explores Hydra goals in a recent blog post.

Hydra is an ensemble of layer 2 solutions designed to address network security and scalability capabilities. Originally conceived within the work of the Ouroboros research team, it has in fact forged an independent path since the original paper publication. Hydra offers increased throughput, minimized latency, and cost-efficient solutions without substantial storage requirements…A Hydra Head is a provably secure isomorphic state channel. Simply put, it is an off-chain mini-ledger between a restricted set of participants, which works similarly (albeit significantly quicker) to the on-chain main ledger.

This technology has similarities to L2 solutions in other block chains, such as Lightning which is the L2 solution for Bitcoin. However there are some significant and highly beneficial differences:

  • The isomorphic aspect means that smart contracts can operate in a consistent way between L1 and L2. This is possible due the EUTxO model used by Cardano and is not possible on account based chains with global state.
  • Risks from operating a L2 are minimised to those transactions that participants authorise and equivalent to L1 operation. In Lightning there are additional risks for participants from operating at L2 that are not present in L1.

We will delve into Hydra concepts and progress in the coming months. In the meantime we recommend reading the blog post.

The Hydra roadmap is available on GitHub which will assist integration activities with partners.