Ethereum [ETH], the third largest cryptocurrency by market cap and the leading smart contract platform, is nearing the Constantinople hard fork. The hard fork is scheduled to take place around January 16, 2019, at block #7080000. This upgrade has been the most awaited one by the community as it would kick start the other major upgrades in the pipeline such as Casper and Sharding.
The hard fork was initially scheduled to take place in end-2018 but was called off by the Ethereum development team because of issues encountered during the Ropsten Testnet hard fork, which resulted in a three-way fork. In the post mortem report, Lane Rettig, a core developer of Ethereum, stated that there were problems with the limitations of Parity in comparison to Geth and that they had encountered a consensus bug in the Parity implementation of Ethereum.
The next Testnet fork was scheduled to take place on January 9, 2019, on the Rinkeby Testnet. Post the Testnet, Peter Szilagyi, a core developer of Ethereum Foundation, announced that the Testnet fork was successful, stating that there was a clean split.
Currently, there are approximately two days left for the network upgrade. The upgrade proposed the implementation of five Ethereum Improvement Protocols’.
EIP 145: Bitwise shifting instructions in EVM
- Written by: Alex Beregszaszi, and Paweł Bylica
- Effectively cuts the costs of certain activities on chain because native functionality added to the protocol.
EIP 1014: Skinny Create2
- Written by: Vitalik Buterin
- Allows interaction with addresses that do not exist on the chain yet.
EIP 1052: EXTCODEHASH opcode
- Written by Nick Johnson and Paweł Bylica
- Will ensure the return of keccak256 hash of a contract’s code. Decreases the cost of certain activities on the network.
EIP 1283: Net gas metering for SSTORE without dirty maps
- Written by Wei Tang
- Enables new usages for contract storage and reduces gas cost for SStore.
EIP 1234: Constantinople Difficulty Bomb Delay and Block Reward Adjustment
- Written by Afri Schoedon
- Reduces block reward from 3 ETH per block to 2 ETH per block [aka The Thirdening]. Delays difficulty bomb for another 12 months.
EIP 1234 is considered as the most important implementation. According to the Consensus report, this would result in the reduction of the total supply of new ETH from 20,300 ETH per day to 13,400 ETH per day. This, in turn, means that the total number of new coins per year would fall from 7.4 million to 4.9 million. Additionally, Post the hard fork, the inflation rate would drop from 7.7% to 4.8%.
AusIV, a Redditor said:“I think it’s also worth noting that, if there were no hard fork, the difficulty bomb would start reducing issuance in the future. It would stay 3 ETH / block, but the difficulty bomb would mean less frequent blocks, so the issuance over time would start to drop.”
Blockstatsy, another Redditor said:“Can’t wait. Kinda want to see how this plays out after Jan 16”