The Ethereum (ETH) blockchain just upgraded to the Istanbul hard fork, and is now live. The hard fork occured at block number 9,069,000. This began a systemwide upgrade, which is the network’s third in 2019. The first two being February’s St. Petersburg and Constantinople hard forks. The entire process reached the peak at 0:25 UTC on Sunday.
The newest iteration of Ethereum 1 is Istanbul. This upgrade is the network’s eighth hard fork overall, and the first changes to the code were approved in June 2019. The next generation of Ethereum, ETH 2, is expected in 2021. ETH 2 will be the network’s major transition to proof-of-stake (PoS). The Ethereum network is non-contentious, meaning all ethereum clients independently upgrade the ethereum protocol themselves. As a result they all have agreed to the new software.
The Istanbul upgrade includes six Ethereum Improvement Proposals (EIPs). This includes code changes to the ethereum specific protocols. Those included are EIPs 152, 1108, 1344, 1844, 2028 and 2200.
A blog post from Ethereum venture studio ConsenSys summarized the main issues addressed by the six EIPs:
- Denial-of-service (DDoS) attack resilience (EIP 1344).
- Interoperability with equihash-based proof-of-work (PoW) cryptocurrencies such as zcash (EIP 152).
- Gas costs (EIPs 1108, 2028, 2200).
Mixup during the hard-fork upgrade
One slight mixup before Istanbul took place occurred with the ethereum client Parity. This client released an urgent message to Parity Ethereum users, guiding them to conduct a patch update before the Istanbul hard fork occurred. This meant that EIP 1344, the protocol concerning opcodes was not included initially.
Questions remaining after the hard fork
During September, 680 smart contracts on a governance platform Aragon, will be broken by the planned hard fork.
This is the result of certain changes in the code. Allowing changes in how funds can be sent between decentralized autonomous organizations (DAOs). This will force users to move smart contract from one structure to the other manually.
Aragon One CTO Jorge Izquierdo shared his opinion on the current development of the Ethereum network. Stating the ethereum developers must be more cognizant of those who are actually developing on the network.
“Developers don’t want to build on a moving target, and backwards compatibility should be taken seriously as well,” Izquierdo said in an email to CoinDesk Friday. “Ethereum is not a toy anymore, it’s a platform with a sizable investment and a big reach, and as such changes like this need to be professionally measured before being taken.”