As of this publication, Cardano has around 30 network parameters. Parameters are the mechanisms that control how the Cardano Blockchain works.
Some parameters have existed since Cardano launched. Some parameters, like the decentralization parameter, get removed. Other times new parameters are added. Even more often, the value of a parameter gets changed.
Our parameter today is epoch_no. This parameter tells the system when other parameter changes should take effect.
In Cardano, most changes happen at the beginning of an epoch. As we learned in Episode 2, Epoch Length, an epoch in Cardano is made up of 432,000 seconds – which is five days.
If a change is made to any of Cardano’s 30+ parameters, the epoch_no number is set to a numerical value that tells the system when the new parameter set will go into effect.
As a Cardano user, you might want to know about this because Cardano parameters can affect your day-to-day activity on the blockchain. If you are aware that a new set of parameters is being published and when they will go into effect, you plan accordingly.
For example, imagine you need to send out dozens of transactions for some reason. If you are armed with the knowledge that transaction fees are going to be lower, you might choose to wait until the specified epoch_no for that new parameter to take effect before sending those transactions.
If you’re interested in seeing previous changes to Cardano, including parameter changes, cardanoscan.io publishes a history of them on their site. To see a list of parameter values per epoch, visit cexplorer.io/params page.
(For the record, as of this publication, Cardano transaction fees are NOT changing––that was just an arbitrary example.)
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