The CEO of IOHK, Charles Hoskinson, has recently announced the date for Epoch 257, the day Cardano Staking Pool Operators will completely gain control.
According to Hoskinson, 31st March 2021 is the day several Staking Pool Operators have been waiting for.
Charles Hoskinson tweeted, “Is everyone ready for epoch 257 on 2021-03-31 d=0 day -> d(0)day when Cardano is completely in the hands of the SPOs!”
Is everyone ready for epoch 257 on 2021-03-31 d=0 day -> #d(0)day when Cardano is completely in the hands of the SPOs!
— Charles Hoskinson (@IOHK_Charles) January 28, 2021
What Are Slots and Epochs
The Cardano blockchain utilizes the Ouroboros Praos protocol to facilitate consensus on the chain. Ouroboros Praos partitions time into epochs. Each Cardano (ADA) epoch consists of a number of slots, where each slot lasts for one second.
At the moment, a Cardano (ADA) epoch includes 432,000 slots, which implies five days. In any slot, zero or more nodes that produce blocks could be nominated to be the slot leader. Averagely, one node is expected to be nominated every 20 seconds, which represents a total of 21,600 nominations per epoch.
On the other hand, if slot leaders that were selected randomly produce blocks, one of them will be added to the chain, while other candidate blocks will be discarded.
Electing a Slot Leader
The Cardano network consists of a number of stake pools that control the aggregated stake of their owners and other delegators, also known as stakeholders. Slot leaders are elected randomly from among the stake pools.
The more stake the pool controls, the greater the chance it has of being elected as a slot leader to produce a new block that is accepted into the blockchain. This is the concept of proof-of-stake (PoS).
Transaction Validation by a Slot Leader
Moreover, during transaction validation, a slot leader needs to ensure that the sender has added enough funds to pay for the transaction. Slot leaders must also ensure that the parameters of the transaction are met.