As of now, there are less than 1,000 blocks left to be mined until the Ethereum (ETH) hard fork. Reportedly when Ethereum will pass block #9068000, it will be within 1000 blocks of the scheduled “Istanbul” hard fork, which should take place at around 23:30 UTC.
The much-anticipated shift to Istanbul will be the Ethereum network’s first hard fork since February’s Constantinople. Both are stages of a broader phase of ongoing development that began in 2017 called Metropolis.
What is new in the Ethereum hard fork?
Ethereum has been going through extensive developments. These developments are all focused towards ETH’s hard for named by the developers “Instanbul”. Istanbul is the developers goal for streamlining the scaling of the Ethereum network.
The Istanbul update will overall expand and increase the capabilities of Ethereum. Combining its use of smart contracts, with privacy token Zcash. The upgrade will also allow cheaper zk-SNARKs (Zero-Knowledge Succinct Non-Interactive Arguments of Knowledge). zk-SNARKs let users demonstrate their knowledge without exposing that knowledge. And this technology will be critical to Ethereum’s recent enhancements in privacy.
How do you prepare for the hard fork?
The Ethereum Foundation stated if you hold Ether (ETH) or use the Ethereum network, you probably don’t need to do anything. They added that you may receive additional instructions from your exchange or wallet service.
For those who are a node operator or miner, you will need to update your client. If not you risk suddenly stuck running obsolete software once the hard fork takes effect.
What are the future Ethereum forks?
The future of the Ethereum network following the Istanbul update remains unsure. Some users fears of an impending Ice Age. Meaning block hashing would slow down during the time the network is shifting from proof-of-work (PoW) to proof-of-stake (PoS) verification. This fear has lead has caused the need for an additional fork, Muir Glacier to ease the impact, towards the road to Ethereum 2.0.
If everything goes according to plan, the next planned upgrade to the Ethereum network will be “Berlin”. This next update is set for the second quarter. Although the details are limited and largely speculative as to what changes Berlin is going to implement.