Ethereum has always been in the news not only because of its fluctuating market price value but also due to its technological aspects.
In this article, we will be learning about their new Constantinople fork. Forks happen due to many reasons including updates that are required to ensure proper functioning of the blockchain or to ensure that updates are pushed the right way. Forks can be done in two ways: soft and hard. Hard forks are more severe and dramatic as it is used to split the code completely.
Even though hard forks are necessary to change, it can instill a negative impact on the community and is generally not received well in it. The Constantinople fork will help Ethereum implement its proof-stake(PoS) consensus algorithm through five separate Ethereum Improvement Proposals(EIPs).
Note: We will change “update” and “fork” interchangeably across the post. They mean the same thing and refer to the Ethereum Constantinople fork.
Table of Contents
What steps a hard fork includes?
To understand what Ethereum Constantinople fork, we first need to understand the steps that are taken to make a hard fork successful. Let’s list them below
- In the first step, a two-chain split is done.
- After generating two-chain, the longest chain takes over the short one and is used on the network.
- The new updates go live with the long chain and the core rules are improved in the process.
- The new feature also goes live.
Ethereum Constantinople hard fork will be the 2nd hard fork for Ethereum. The first one was Byzantium. Constantinople will act as a bridge to move Ethereum from Proof-of-Work(PoW) to Proof-of-Stake(PoS).
When is the Constantinople hard fork going to happen?
The actual date for the hard fork has not been released yet. However, if we check Ethscan, an Ethereum explorer, we can determine that the fork will take place on January 14, 2019.
The Constantinople fork was first aimed to happen in 2018, but without proper support from the community, it was delayed twice already. Cointelegraph has also reported that the fork can take place in mid to late January.
What is Constantinople and what’s the need for it?
Constantinople will pave the path to “Proof-of-Stake.”
Ethereum has always been known for its ability to host dApps. To ensure that it meets market demands and evolve in relation to other blockchain solution. These four stages include the Frontier, Homestead, Metropolis, and Serenity. We are currently in the Metropolis stage where the aim is to make Ethereum faster, light and secure. The two release of Metropolis consists of Byzantium(OCT 2017) and Constantinople(Jan 2019).
Five updates will be pushed in this fork which will make Constantinople fork a success. As we already mentioned the move is done to ensure that the transition from POW to PoS is done correctly. However, these update will kill backward compatibility as it is a hard fork. The upgrades will ensure better security, flexibility, and security to the Ethereum network. No backward compatibility will also mean that the nodes have to update them over time and synchronize with the network.
Will it impact the value of Ethereum?
The value of Ethereum can change drastically depending on how it will work after the update. The first thing that we need to know about is the “difficulty bomb.”
Ethereum will still be minable but it will only for the next twelve months. After that, the “difficulty bomb” will be released which will make it un-minable.
Another way the fork will impact the market is the reduced block reward. To ensure that the mining can continue, each block reward will be reduced by one third and that would be around two ethereum per block. This is done to ensure that the transition between Proof-of-Work(PoW) model to Proof-of-Stake(PoS) goes smoothly.
Overall, we can see an increase in price because less Ethereum will be distributed as block reward. However, it will take a long time before we can see a positive growth considering that block miners need to sell their Ethereum to sustain their operations.
Important five Constantinople Hard Fork elements
The five EIPs that are slowly being implemented are the backbone of the Constantinople hard fork. The standards are released over time to ensure proper implementation at one-go. These standards include client APIs, core protocol, contract standards and so on.
EIP 145: This EIP offers native bitwise shifting which will improve the speed and efficiency of the Ethereum blockchain. Pawel Bylica and Alex Beregszaszi wrote it.
EIP 1014: The EIP will ensure proper scaling when doing off-chain transactions.
EIP 1052: It offers large-scale code execution optimization on the network. Core developer Nick Johnson writes it.
EIP 1234: This proposal is written by Afri Schoedon, the parity release manager. It proposes the “Difficulty Bomb” which needs to be delayed by 12 months.
EIP 1283: The proposal is aimed to reduce the excessive gas cost for smart contract developers and is based on EIP 1087.
All these EIP will be furnished and improved until the final release of Constantinople. It will also ensure the implementation is done as smoothly as possible.
Conclusion and community reaction
The initial attempt to implement Constantinople failed on the test network Ropsten. It happened 24 hours before schedule which made things complicated. This made the team realize that they are still not ready and opted to delay the release. Not to mention, miners were also not in favor of it as miners didn’t participate in its implementation causing the fork to stall for 2 hours at block 4,299,999.
Right now, the Ethereum team is moving slowly and ensuring that their implementation is done according to plan. They are currently doing last works in the EIPs.
The community reaction is still not positive as miners think that this is done to increase the Ethereum price. The test net launch for Constantinople has not been decided yet which means that there can still be a delay when the actual fork happens.
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