Ethereum’s Constantinople Hard Fork To Ropsten Testnet In October, No Date For Mainnet Yet

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Ethereum’s core developers have agreed to activate Constantinople in a testing environment, next month, according to a bi-weekly video call on Friday, September 14th 2018.

As per CoinJournal’s report, Constantinople is a new upgrade of Ethereum’s four-stage development plan designed to enforce specific reforms that will help in obtaining signature verification and afford users the opportunity of creating account contracts with relative ease.

The developers concluded to activate Constantinople around the second week of October 2018 on a cross-client testnet called Ropsten, created to mimic the ethereum network environment. The fork is not set for a period of time but by a yet to be determined block number. The exact block number for the testnet activation is yet to be finalized due to the unpredictable nature of block confirmation times in a testing environment. However, there is currently a proposal on Github suggesting the hard fork takes place at block number 4,230,000.  

No date has been fixed for the launch on mainnet, but the problems discovered on Ropsten will likely determine it.

Commenting on the changes made to the difficulty bomb code, Ethereum creator, Vitalik Buterin said the changes made to the code should not be noticeable for several months, indicating that there is no urgency to make any decision on mainnet yet.

“We could have probably more than three months of safety and likely even more.”

Ethereum Foundation communications officer Hudson Jameson, however, suggested November or December for the change but it won’t occur before DevCon 4, scheduled for October 30th to November 2, 2018.

The testnet environment will allow developers address inconsistencies and bugs that might crop up between clients. This is to prevent the nervy moments encountered during Byzantium hard fork last year, where Parity issued three new releases to address for consensus vulnerabilities and the discovery of a DoS vulnerability in Geth’s code.

There has been a lot of debate surrounding the ethereum improvement proposals (EIPs) which are part of the Constantinople’s upgrade— seeing the network shift from a Proof-of-Work consensus to a Proof-of-Stake. The last EIP to be accepted was EIP 1234, a proposal to reduce block issuance and delay the difficulty bomb. According to a Github post, the updated version of EIP 1234 will reduce block rewards from 3 ETH per block to 2 ETH per block and delay the “Difficulty Bomb” for 12 months.

Miners are currently not as enthusiastic about the proposals as their profits have been under threat for a while due to low Ether prices and ASICs. Some have argued for the inclusion of an ASIC-resistant consensus algorithm called Programmatic Proof of Work (ProgPoW) to maintain decentralization.

ProgPoW is a proof-of-work algorithm created to addresses the problem of centralization by minimizing the benefit of specialized, secretly-developed ASICs.

While developers dismissed the idea of including the algorithm in Constantinople, they agreed to consider it for Istanbul; the hard fork planned to take place in mid-2019.