Node 9.0 - Enabling a New Era of Decentralized Governance on Cardano

7 min

Cardano Node v9.0 Release

Cardano node v9.0 has arrived! This release signifies the completion of primary development work for the bootstrap phase of on-chain governance, leaving only minor updates to incorporate Cardano constitution elements. Now begins a period of ecosystem-driven testing and adoption. This latest version introduces highly anticipated features, including support for Plutus v1 reference scripts and Plutus script signature support via CIP-69. This milestone is crucial to realizing the decentralized governance envisioned in CIP-1694.

The Cardano ecosystem is poised for a significant transformation with the upcoming Chang Upgrade. This milestone marks the installation of the core elements of decentralized governance, rolled out across two distinct phases. Intersect has been diligently working behind the scenes to build the necessary infrastructure, empowering the Cardano community to steer the protocol's development and maintenance.

Understanding the Chang Upgrade

Chang is a pivotal upgrade designed to implement decentralized governance within the Cardano blockchain. This process is deeply rooted in the principles proposed during the Voltaire age of Cardano’s roadmap and detailed in CIP-1694. The upgrade will be executed in two main phases, Chang #1 and Chang #2, each introducing crucial governance elements that will give the community a significant say in the protocol’s evolution.

Impact on the Cardano Ecosystem

The Chang Upgrade affects the entire Cardano ecosystem, particularly Stake Pool Operators (SPOs), Exchanges, and Decentralized Applications (DApps). For the upgrade to proceed, the community must reach 70% of the SPOs upgraded and 85% of Exchange liquidity on the Chang mainnet candidate. This ensures a robust and coordinated transition to the new governance model.

  1. Stake Pool Operators (SPOs): SPOs need to upgrade to the latest mainnet, hard fork-capable node candidate, version 9.0. Details on the latest releases can be found on Intersect GitHub. Intersect will coordinate updates and share information on downstream components needing upgrading to ensure compatibility.
  2. Exchanges: Exchanges play a critical role in Cardano's liquidity and stability. They must ensure their systems are compatible with the new node to support seamless transactions and operations post-upgrade.
  3. DApps: Decentralized applications need to be prepared by testing with the latest node release. Specific changes required will vary, with notable updates in Plutus v3 potentially introducing breaking changes that need thorough testing.
  4. Governance Bodies: The Constitutional Committee and Delegate Representatives must complete onboarding and training to effectively take on their new roles within Cardano's governance structure.

Timeline and Expectations

The timeline for the Chang Upgrade will be determined by the community’s readiness and coordinated through Intersect’s Hard Fork Working Group. The final date for the hard fork will be decided when the community reaches the specified SPO and Exchange readiness thresholds. Intersect will bring transparency to these dependencies, regularly updating the community as they meet the necessary criteria.


As these elements are marked ‘green’ (ready for Chang) and near completion, confidence in finalizing a date for the hard fork combinator event will increase. Once the list of dependencies nears completion, a firm date is anticipated to be socialized.

Technical Details

The community can refer to the Intersect GitHub releases for specific details and release notes on the node. The functionality and features for Voltaire and Chang have been progressively introduced through node releases and in test environments such as Sanchonet. The final minor changes for node 9.0 are expected to focus on performance and benchmarking, so it is crucial to read the release details carefully. One notable update is within Plutus v3, accommodating CIP-69.

The Future Beyond Chang #1

Following the completion of Chang #1, Cardano will enter a bootstrap governance phase as outlined in CIP-1694. This period will allow for the adoption of governance features and acclimatization to new roles. Delegate Representatives will begin campaigning, and proposals will be democratized through off-chain GovTool features. After a sufficient duration, determined by technical teams, delegate representatives, and the Constitutional Committee, the bootstrap phase will end, leading to the implementation of full governance features through an inter-era hard fork, Chang #2.

Stay Informed and Engaged

Stay updated with the Hard Fork Working Group’s progress over the coming weeks by visiting the Chang Timeline & Dependencies on Intersect’s Knowledge Base.

To contact the Hard Fork Working Group, watch Intersect’s channels for details on the HFWG’s subsequent Q&A sessions, held weekly on Thursdays.

The Chang Upgrade is a monumental step toward decentralized governance in Cardano. By empowering the community with the tools and infrastructure needed to guide the protocol's development, Intersect is fostering a more inclusive and democratic ecosystem. As we approach the final stages of preparation, the Cardano community’s participation and readiness will be crucial in achieving a seamless transition to this new governance era. Stay tuned for more updates as we approach the hard fork event.