The eagerly-awaited Ethereum Constantinople hard fork is expected to introduce severe changes to the Ethereum Improvement Proposal. Several factors will get affected including the blockchain’s core protocol specifications, client APIs and contract standards. This, according to the official announcement in an official Ethereum blog post on February 22, 2019.
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Multiple Efficiency Improvements
The update is expected to happen at block 7,280,000 which is supposed to be mined around February 28, 2019. However, given that it’s not possible to pinpoint the exact moment when the block will be mined, there are chances it could happen a day or two before, or after the scheduled date.
As per the statement, the upgrade has two names that represent two originally intended upgrades that have been amalgamated into a single event. The improvement, whose implementation should have occurred last January, was postponed at the last minute following the discovery of apparent security vulnerability. The developers have designed the upgrade to introduce multiple efficiency improvements besides delaying the “difficulty bomb” and reducing Ethereum’s block reward.
The Journey So Far
The additional upgrade is the St. Petersburg hard fork, which is scheduled to happen concurrently with the Constantinople hard fork. The Constantinople hard fork represents a massive step towards transitioning the Ethereum model from the proof-of-work (PoW) consensus to the proof-of-stake (PoS) model. The Ethereum (ETH) development team believes that transferring to the PoS protocol will lead to the creation of a long-lasting and viable blockchain that’s capable of handling global financial infrastructure.
The original Constantinople hard fork launch that was scheduled to take place was deferred following the discovery of a failure during the Testnet in November 2018, after which the hard fork was rescheduled to happen on January 6, 2019.
The vulnerability was discovered within the Constantinople upgrade on January 15, 2019, leading to another postponement to address that said weaknesses. The loose link discovered was discovered by smart contract audit firm ChainSecurity which drove the team to delay the implementation of the new protocol a second time for lack of sufficient time to address the said issues.
Is Third Time Lucky?
The expected hard fork launch will be the third attempt to upgrade the Ethereum network. The planned upgrade will be slightly different since there will be two hard forks taking place within the reported block number.
Constantinople is said to take place first, and is then followed by the St. Petersburg fork. According to the Ether development team, the two forks at taking place to eliminate vulnerabilities. The Ethereum market has posted good results in the past few days, perhaps in anticipation of the upcoming upgrade.
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