Next Ethereum Hard Fork is postponed to 2019

At an Ethereum Core developer meeting yesterday it was decided that the next Ethereum Hard Fork Constantinople will be postponed until early 2019. The news about the postponement of the date, which was originally planned for November, comes as no surprise, since the upgrade in the test network had already to be postponed due to technical problems and errors in the code appeared shortly afterwards.

Originally the activation of the Constantinople Hard Fork in Mainnet should take place after the Ethereum DevCon 4, which runs from 30 October to 02 November 2018. Instead, the developers have now decided to move the hard hard fork after several bugs were found in the code published on the Ropsten test network.

Constantinople currently includes five backward incompatible changes to the network, ranging from small code optimizations to the further delay of the “Difficulty Bomb”. In detail, Constantinople includes the following changes:

  • EIP 1234: Difficulty Bomb Delay – To further delay the transition to proof-of-stake, block times are kept at approximately 15 seconds for another 12 months and block rewards are reduced to 2 ETH.
  • EIP 145: Bitwise shift commands in the Ethereum Virtual Machine (EVM) allow direct manipulation of bytes on the EVM layer.
  • EIP 1014: Add a new opcode that creates a contract, but determines the used address differently than the existing CREATE opcode.
  • EIP 1052: Add a new opcode (EXTCODEHASH) that returns the keccak256 hash of a contact’s bytecode.
  • EIP 1283: Add a new gas cost concept for the SSTORE opcode.

The delay could also have an impact on other proposed changes that will be added to the Constantinople Hard Fork, as discussed during the meeting. Martin Holst Swende brought the proposal “ProgPow” back into play. ProgPow aims to make the Ethereum resistant to ASIC.

As we already reported a few months ago, the ASIC vs. GPU Mining debate ignited again. The discussion started at the end of March when the Ethereum core developer Piper Merriam published a discussion proposal (EIP) on Github. In the Ethereum Improvement Proposal 958 (EIP 958), Merriam explained that in his opinion it is a recognized fact in the crypto community that ASICs lead to a centralization of the network. This must be prevented. There was broad support for the proposal. Holst Swende said now:

I dare say that if we decide that Constantinople won’t take place until January or February; then I would probably try to fight for ProgPoW to be included in Constantinople.

ProgPoW was already discussed in earlier meetings. The consensus, however, was that the timeframe was too short to include the changes in the Constantinople Hard Fork and that the changes could be added via another Hard Fork shortly after Constantinople.

You can view the entire Core Devs Meeting at the following: