Ethereum has an upcoming hard fork called Constantinople. In this article, we will cover why Ethereum is hardforking and give you the basics of what you need to know.
Firstly don’t panic! Many people think hard forks are a bad thing, that is certainly not always the case. Most people know of hard forks from having gone through the big daddy of Forks, the Bitcoin hard fork to Bitcoin Cash. Now that was a wild ride and in many respects continues to be so with battle-lines still firmly in place between the two communities. August 1st is the anniversary of that fork or the 1st birthday party for Bitcoin Cash, whatever way you want to look at it. More on that in numerous articles this week. Back to Ethereum’s hard fork. Yes, Ethereum has hardforked before with plenty of drama involved. In 2016 Ethereum split in two, and we now have Ethereum Classic as well as Ethereum. This split happened due to members of the community not being happy with the security aspects of the network. This fork does not have drama as part of the deal, it is a software upgrade.
Why is Ethereum Hardforking?
This hard fork, named Constantinople is essentially the second phase of Metropolis, the name for the overall project to upgrade. The first phase was called Byzantium and took place in October of last year. The upgrade or hard fork, is scheduled to be finished by this October, most likely before October’s Devcon4 Ethereum conference, according to stakeholders during a core developer meeting Friday. A total of four Ethereum improvement upgrades or EIPs are currently being implemented by developers.
Péter Szilágyi, lead developer of Geth, the most popular Ethereum client, said they have already implemented most of the changes.
Ethereum developers are implementing these software upgrades with the intention of making the Ethereum network faster, less expensive and more efficient. In their words, they are ‘ushering in a new age of Blockchain technology‘.
This is a significant upgrade in Ethereum and as such requires, a hard fork. The Ethereum community supports this hard fork.
A little refresher on hard forks. There are actually eight types of hard forks. An often used technical description of a Hard fork is:
A permanent divergence in the block chain, commonly occurs when non-upgraded nodes can’t validate blocks created by upgraded nodes that follow newer consensus rules
You’re most likely to hear about hard forks when a new coin is created because the community does not agree on something major. This is headline forkery, and also creates some funny and intense youtube content.
When a coin hard forks some people continue to support/mine the old coin/chain. This is what happened with Bitcoin forking to Bitcoin cash and Ethereums split in two to Ethereum Classic. Got that? Pretty simple really. It is key to understand however that most hard forks are positive and are upgrades in the software. They are good for you and your investment.
Hardforking is good thing…….most of the time
Take a deep breath and relax, you do not need to be making drastic plans to protect your Ethereum investment. It’s highly unlikely you will be affected negatively by this fork in Ethereum.
Here is a good video from Ivan on tech if you want some more technical insight into this Ethereum hard fork and make sure to subscribe to stay up to day on everything to do with hard forks and the latest happenings in our industry.
Read the update on the Ethereum Constantinople hard fork here.