- Ethereum Constantinople hard fork to launch on January 16, 2019, and may result in ephemeral pause for deposits and withdrawals
- Constantinople is the 2nd phase of Ethereum stage 3 Metropolis upgrade
- The Constantinople hard fork will seek to resolve 5 Ethereum Improvement Proposals (EIPs)
Ethereum (ETH) core developers are on the brink of launching the highly anticipated Constantinople hard fork which is set to take place at block height 7,080,000 (estimated to be around January 14th- 18th in 2019). Following this change, deposits and withdrawals will be temporarily halted until the system stabilizes.
Hard fork is inevitable for any successful crypto-coin and as a part of last year’s project, Ethereum developers intend to upgrade their network to improve its efficiency and performance which will be beneficial to all crypto-investors around the globe.
Seeing the recent turn of events pertaining to the Bitcoin Cash hard fork, people were, initially, apprehensive about the Constantinople hard fork. However, the Ethereum team have asked their followers not to worry as the upgrade is only aimed at its software which will refine the network. The entire process will result in the reduction of prices to cut-rate fees.
Ethereum Hard fork Stages
In order to understand the Constantinople Ethereum hard fork, you should familiarize with the following overview of the whole Ethereum hardfork process.
Stage 1 – Frontier
Released in the spring of 2015, this hard fork allowed individuals to test decentralized applications (dApps) and mine Ether.
Stage 2 – Homestead
This stage introduced protocol improvements that set the foundations for the future upgrades that will speed up transactions.
Stage 3 – Metropolis
This is where Constantinople comes in. Metropolis hard fork follows the Homestead network update to be executed in two phases; Byzantium which is already released in October 2017, and Constantinople which is ongoing and about to be launched on January 16, 2019. This update is projected to be the last half of the overhaul to smoothen the transition from a Proof of work (PoW) accord calculation to Proof of Stake (PoS).
Stage 4 – Serenity (TBA)
This is the last phase of the network’s transformation that will see the realization of Proof of Stake (PoS) using the Casper consensus algorithm.
Proof of work (PoW) and Proof of Stake (PoS) in a Nutshell
The Proof of Work protocol works similarly like a job-based procedure where one is paid for the service or goods they delivered. In the crypto space, the Proof of Work protocol entails ‘miners’ of the digital asset solving mathematical conundrums using the computer systems and once they submit a ‘correct’ answer, they are rewarded for the service. However, one must submit the answer faster than the other miners to qualify for the bounty.
On the other hand, the Proof of Stake protocol works on an entirely different idea. Here, one doesn’t have to solve mathematical equations to qualify for rewards. The miners with the largest crypto asset inventory create new blocks and since they don’t actually ‘mine’ the assets, they are not referred to as miners but forgers. Instead of receiving stipends for the service, they receive transaction fees for the blocks they create.
Details of Constantinople Hard Fork
Constantinople constitutes a set of upgrades that are non-contentious involving 5 Ethereum Improvement Proposals (EIPs). These include;
- EIP 145
This focuses on adding shifting bitwise operators to the Ethereum Virtual Machine (EVM) for the efficient processing of information.
- EIP 1014
Improves scaling solutions of the accommodating network like the off-chain transactions.
- EIP 1052
An upgrade of smart contracts processing system.
- EIP 1234
Focuses on reducing rewards issued to miners from 3 ETH to 2 ETH per block.
- EIP 1283
Offers a better alternative to monetizing changes done by smart contract programmers on data storage.
After the hard fork, the confirmation time of blocks will still be at around 15 seconds but it is projected to improve after Ethereum transitions to proof-of-stake (PoS). Some of the above EIPs are set to optimize transactions bound to smart contracts, therefore, the transaction fees may decrease.
Support from Crytpo Exchanges
Several exchanges have announced their official support for the Constantinople hard fork with Binance leading the way. Binance, one of the largest crypto exchange in the world, announced their support advising their users to make deposits early so that their transactions have enough time to be processed.
Other crypto exchanges that have shown their support for the hard fork include; Mongolian IDAX and Hong Kong-based OKEx, HitBTC, Singapore-based exchange – Houbi Global, Bittrex, CEX.IO, and New Zealand-based exchange – Cryptopia. It is just a matter of time until Coinbase, Bitfinex, Gemini, and Poloniex follow suit and declare their support for Ethereum Constantinople hard fork.
Hazards associated with Constantinople
Although Constantinople is about to roll out anytime soon from now, skeptics believe that introducing the upgrade might cause havoc in the market leading to sell-offs.
On the same note, the likelihood that miners will enjoy the Constantinople’s PoS shift is somewhat far-fetched. While it’s by no means any advancement towards the PoS protocol, the transfer of power from miners to stakeholders might not sit too well with the former.
Cryptocurrency is a software-founded industry and time-to-time upgrades to improve the networks is quite common. Therefore, developers are urging clients to drop the bitcoin cash hard fork mentality, as “hard forking is a good thing… most of the time.”
This is not the first time Ethereum has undergone a hard fork. Back in 2016, Ethereum experienced a similar situation when it forked to create Ethereum and Ethereum classic. Even though that came with financial drama at the time, both cryptocurrencies have grown to be popular among crypto investors.