The Ethereum Constantinople Hard Fork: What it is and What to Expect
Speculation surrounds Ethereum as it nears the long awaited system-wide upgrade, Constantinople.
The upgrade, expected to activate Wednesday, Jan. 16, is what’s known as a hard fork — all nodes need to be updated at once to continue working together. You may recall the controversial hard fork following the collapse of the DAO in 2016. A sufficient number of users didn’t agree with the upgrade, which led to the creation of two blockchains, Ethereum and Ethereum Classic.
Constantinople will address performance, cost efficiency, and preparation for Ethereum’s eventual switch to Proof-of-Stake (PoS) consensus by implementing 5 Ethereum Improvement Proposals (EIPs) during the upgrade.
The 5 EIPs set to be released are:
- EIP 145: A technical upgrade, detailing a more efficient method of information processing on Ethereum known as bitwise shifting.
- EIP 1052: EIP 1052 offers a means of optimizing large-scale code execution.
- EIP 1283: This proposal mainly benefits smart contract developers by introducing a better pricing method for the changes made to data storage.
- EIP 1014: The purpose of this proposal is focused on facilitating the scaling solution based upon state channels and “off chain” transactions.
- EIP 1234: This upgrade delays the difficulty bomb for a period of one year and reduces the block mining reward from 3ETH to 2 ETH.
While most of the proposed upgrades haven’t stirred the pot, one in particular has caused controversy among miners. Constantinople delays the “difficulty bomb,” an algorithm that incrementally increases the time it takes to produce new blocks. Delaying the difficulty bomb means mining difficulty will decrease. Therefore, the reward miners are given for securing the network will also decrease — down from 3 ETH to 2 ETH per block.
Even with some conflicting views, developers are optimistic that the upgrade will be broadly well received. Hard forks are dicey at best, so only time will tell how Constantinople will impact the community.
Due to the coming reduction in miner payouts, some miners are already looking ahead to a potential future upgrade, called ProgPoW. ProgPoW, or Programmatic Proof-of-Work, promises to block specialized ASIC hardware from the network and ensure that GPU mining remains competitive.
While the plan has been given a “tentative” yes, discussions regarding the proposal have not reached consensus.
What do you think will happen when Constantinople is activated? Let us know in the comment section below!