Ethereum Network Fork: Metropolis Constantinople
Each Ethereum update is a significant event for the whole crypto community because Ethereum is one of the leading-edge projects in the world of blockchain solutions. All changes within Ethereum are examined as thoroughly as possible: their impact on the Ethereum environment is analyzed and compared with devoted efforts, after that the overall profit is estimated.
There are four major stages of Ethereum announced by its developers. Each stage is initiated with the help of updates applied to each participant software. Sometimes, planned updates are so large that they get divided into several parts. This is exactly what happened with the third Ethereum stage called Metropolis.
Metropolis is a state of the Ethereum network which is currently desired to be reached. Metropolis consists of two steps. The first one is Byzantium. It became active on the Ethereum mainnet on October 15, 2017. The second one is called Constantinople, and it was planned to be applied on January 17, 2019, but then was postponed until February 27.
Each Ethereum update is planned in advance. A lot of efforts are made to prevent unwanted consequences, avoid major crushes and find accidental backdoors. The same approach is applied to the Metropolis. This update was divided into two parts, and their release was scheduled for different dates. Both of those parts include several components called EIP (Ethereum improvement proposal).
The first update called Byzantium is well-known and well-examined. Constantinople will finally be released next month. This means that it still may undergo complex research on the update process application and errors detection. Moreover, some minor fixes implementation might be required on further intermediate updates.
It is interesting that Constantinople was delayed several times. First it happened on November 2018 when consensus problems made developers change the release date. After being reviewed, the update was rescheduled for January 14-19, 2019. More precise date and block number were called a bit later. It was the block 7,080,000 with the expected release date of January 16, 2019. However, due to the reentrance attack disclosure the release date was again postponed. It turned out that some changes in the programming language designed to make some operations cheaper may lead to “The DAO”-like cases. Such a threat obviously carries a serious risk for the update, so its final implementation will take place on February 27, 2019.
Now let’s see what novelties will be added to Ethereum after Constantinople. Of course, it’s too early to talk about some deep and significant results. What we can know for sure is that the update still has errors.
Constantinople includes five main EIPs. They are EIP 145, EIP 1014, EIP 1052, EIP 1234, and EIP 1283 and bring the following changes:
- EIP 145 introduces bitwise shifts with cost review;
- EIP 1014 increases performance by redundant contracts removal;
- EIP 1052 implements a new opcode to receive contract hash data;
- EIP 1234 delays the launch of the Difficulty Time Bomb and reworks a block reward;
- EIP 1283 changes gas costs in the cases where they can be decreased.
In combination, the above proposals constitute the second part of the third improvement stage of the Ethereum mainnet. By researching them, we may find what properties are considered by developers as important. At the same time, several release delays are the evidence that the development team is cautious about the project's growth.