Ethereum’s Byzantium Hard Fork Postponed For Further Testing

September 22, 2017

The planned roll-out date for ethereum’s “Byzantium” upgrade is being postponed by just over a week.

The hard fork for Byzantium – the first leg in ethereum’s Metropolis update – will now occur at block number 437,000,000, or about October 17 given current block production metrics. The original expected launch date was October 9, barring any complications during testing.

The delay follows a suggestion made by ethereum founder Vitalik Buterin, who recommended in a core developer discussion today that the platform should be conservative relative to previous forks.

“We’re not in an emergency situation,” Buterin said.

The suggestion was made, in part, in order to nudge miners into adopting the hard fork more successfully. This is because the difficulty increase intended to incentivize miners to swap onto a different chain has not become too high, and blocks would still be mineable throughout October.

Buterin wanted to push the release right to the end of the month, but was discouraged due to the scheduling clash with the ethereum developer conference in early November.

The date for the hard fork is now “pretty much final” according to developer Hudson Jameson – unless of course, something goes wrong in the test period.

The testing phase for Byzantium on the Ropsten testnet officially kicked off on Tuesday, and to date everything is running as expected. The blockchain even verified its first private transaction following the fork.

However, that’s not to say it hasn’t been without some minor hiccups. A malicious user attacked the Byzantium testnet yesterday filling entire blocks with expensive spam contracts. However, Buterin dismissed the attack as “fairly inconsequential.”

Going forward, coordinated efforts, described by Buterin as “groups of people throwing whatever junk on the ethereum blockchain that they want to” will continue on Ropsten to ensure that all ethereum clients can handle the changes that are incorporated into Byzantium.

Source:  Ethereum’s Byzantium Hard Fork Postponed For Further Testing


Ethereum Metropolis Hard Fork In September 2017

September 27, 2017

The month of September is an exciting month for anyone following Ethereum. The development team behind Ethereum is working hard towards a much anticipated upgrade known as Metropolis. The Ethereum hard fork is poised to relieve a lot of stress on the Ethereum ecosystem, as well as, bring a little more convenient functionality for it’s users. Metropolis will be split into 2 core releases: Byzantium & Constantinople. The Byzantium Hard Fork will hit the testnet on September 18th and is scheduled to go live on October 9th, 2017 ( dates not final ).

Although only the Byzantine hard fork will be tested on Ethereum’s testnet, a successful testing process of the Byzantine hard fork will allow the Ethereum Foundation and its developers to streamline the integration of the second phase of the Metropolis hard fork. Once the Metropolis hard fork is completed, it would allow most of the decentralized applications to be commercialized and to be launched in a scalable and efficient ecosystem.

Many experts including Coinbase co-founder Fred Ehrsam stated that scalability is a major issue for Ethereum if it intends to support large decentralized applications with millions of users. Metropolis is a major step towards scaling the Ethereum network efficiently.

Companies like JPMorgan, Microsoft, Intel and BBVA are actively developing applications on top of the Ethereum protocol to automate their operations and develop new infrastructures based on the immutable Blockchain network of Ethereum. For the Ethereum network to support all of the incoming large-scale dapps in the near future, especially many dapps that are set to be commercialized and implemented to larger platforms, developers will require a more robust protocol to work with.

Let’s take a look at some of the planned upgrades being introduced in Byzantium.

  1. Foundations for ZK-SNARKs / Zero-Knowledge Proofs
    Byzantium will include the building blocks to implement zero-knowledge proofs or ZK-SNARKs in the future. The implementation of ZK-SNARKs will allow a higher-level of anonymity for the Ethereum ecosystem. To learn more about ZK-SNARKs, read the paper by Solidity founder, Christian Reitwiebner:
  2. Abstraction – EIP 86
    Account abstraction is another great feature planned for the upcoming fork. It will allow users to have more control over their private keys and the ability for contracts to pay the mining fees instead of having the sender always pay for the gas. Additionally, the account abstraction will reduce the risk of being hacked by quantum computing.
  3. Simplified Programming in Solidity
    The Solidity programming language is undergoing an upgrade to allow novice programmers to easily work with smart contracts. New functionality and an easier hands-on approach will encourage new programmers to begin building their applications and smart contracts.
  4. Mining Difficulty Time-Bomb
    According to the development team, the difficulty time-bomb will be delayed By 18 Months ( source: core dev meeting ), this will reduce the block times from 24.3s to 14.1s. However, it’s implementation will increase difficulty for miners and make it less profitable in the future. The time bomb introduction is to slowly move Ethereum away from Proof of Work (PoW) to Proof of Stake (PoS). The benefits of PoS versus PoW will be discussed in another post. Update: The number of ETH issued per block will drop from 5 to 3.

Source: Ethereum Metropolis Hard Fork In September 2017


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