For more than one year, the Ethereum community has been waiting for the Constantinople hardfork. Finally, everything is ready and the update will take place on the 16th of January 2019. Nicknamed Ethereum 2.0, this update promises to ignite the revolution of the Ethereum blockchain. With this update, the Ethereum consensus algorithm will change from proof-of-work to proof-of-stake. This update is going to introduce new pieces of logic that developers will use for creating smart contracts known as opcodes. It will delay the difficulty bomb slashing block rewards from 3 to 2 ETH.
Ethereum Constantinople Hard Fork
The Constantinople update, once activated, is going to be incompatible with the existing Ethereum version. This is what will lead to a hard fork when the blockchain reaches 7,080,000. Any legacy node that continues to run on the original Ethereum blockchain will be deprived of compensation. The tokens will become useless. Ether will automatically be available for spending on the new fork.
This hard fork is non-contentious so the entire community will adopt the upgrade and there will be no need for a new cryptocurrency as it happened with Bitcoin Cash. During a developer meeting on the 4th of January, the lead developer said that the all major Ethereum clients have been patched and the upgrade is set to take place on schedule.
What To Expect With This Upgrade
There are five Ethereum Improvement Proposals that will be implemented by the update. The improvement proposal number one will affect miners and their mining operations. This update will increase mining difficulty and reduce block rewards. This way, mining ether will become more difficult. It will eventually become impossible to mine for profit and this will urge them to transit from the proof-of-work consensus to proof-of-stake. Five million blocks mark the changes of the proposal for a period of 12 months.
EIP 3 to 5 will give developers opcodes and optimize existing opcodes for smart contract development. EIP 145 will introduce a native bitwise shifting operation that will give developers the power optimize some operations and save gas. Users will be able to interact with addresses that are yet to be initiated on the blockchain thanks to EIP 1014.
Users will be able to generate specific address hashes with new opcodes thanks to the EIP 1052 update while EIP 1283 will activate gas metering changes on the already existing ‘SSTORE’ opcode. This will reduce gas expenditure and enable some other functions.
Ethereum (ETH) Gathers Momentum Ahead Of The Fork
The Constantinople hardfork isn’t going to solve all the problems on the Ethereum blockchain but it is a step in the right direction. It is one of many updates Ethereum developers intend to use to make the network more efficient while decreasing energy consumption at the same time.
The chances in mining rewards will most likely affect the Ethereum blockchain economy but it’s still too early to determine how. On the plus side, the price of ETH has been soaring ahead of the Constantinople update. ETH has increased by more than 80% within a 30 day period. At the time of writing, ETH was trading at $153.32. It was correcting lower by 0.44% against the USD after going above $160. Against BTC, it is down by 4.70%. The 24 hour trading volume is $2,963,520,803 and the market capitalization is $15,982,394,462.