- Ethereum has the most significant blockchain community
- The Istanbul hard fork expected to enhance network speed
- The hard fork has experienced widespread adoption
Ethereum has completed the long-awaited Istanbul hard fork. The system-wide upgrade, which is the third in 2019, is expected to increase the network’s speed and gas efficiency.
Improving Sidechain Support
The Ethereum Foundation announced the hard fork through its official Twitter handle on Sunday, December 8, 2019, stating that the hard fork was activated at block number 9,069,000 at 0:25 UTC bringing to completion a months-long process.
Want to learn more? Check out details on Istanbul's included changes here: https://t.co/KIMLb0ujce
— Ethereum (@ethereum) December 8, 2019
Ethereum has remained the world’s largest programmable blockchain and features smart contract functionality. The community is one of the largest blockchain communities uniting researchers, protocol developers, crypto traders, mining organizations, prominent companies, users, and App developers. The latest upgrade, which focusses primarily on improving sidechain support, is considered part of the move to proof-of-stake.
The Istanbul system upgrade is the third and final in Ethereum’s Metropolis era and is most likely the final one before the introduction of Casper proof-of-stake. The other previous hard forks, Byzantium and Constantinople, are former names of the city of Istanbul. There have so far been seven hard forks on the Ethereum blockchain, the latest ones being Constantinople and St. Petersburg, which happened in February 2019. The two hard forks reduced block reward issuance 3 to 2 ETH, similar to how the previous hard fork Byzantium reduced issuance from 5 to 3 ETH. Both the hard forks launched on Ethereum block number 7,280,000.
Support for the Network Upgrade
There will be six Ethereum Improvement Proposals (EIPs) added to the network out of 30 initial proposals. Even though there isn’t a single proposal that is comprehensive, cumulatively, the upgrades are expected to expand the possibilities for smart contract developers to introduce large-scale features into the Ethereum blockchain, including side-chain scaling and privacy protocols.
Several leading cryptocurrency exchanges have already announced their official support for the network upgrade following the announcement of the successful completion. The Ethereum network experienced ample collaboration on December 7, 2019, between node operators and miners to update the software to support the Istanbul hard fork. There is a lineup of crypto exchanges that even sounded their willingness to update a few days before the scheduled hard fork.
Binance announced support for the upgrade on December 5, followed by its US-based subsidiary. Coinbase, which announced that Ethereum and ERC20 deposits and withdrawals have been resumed on its trading platforms and the node upgrade, has been completed. Others are Poloniex, Bitfinex, and Kraken, which have also announced support for the hard fork. The hard fork has seen widespread adoption by the community, and no significant adverse events have been reported.