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Ethereum Constantinople hard fork rescheduled for 27 February

Posted: 21 January 2019 4:38 pm
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Meanwhile, the difficulty bomb is ticking almost imperceptibly in the background.

The Ethereum Constantinople hard fork has been rescheduled for block 7,280,000, which is set to arrive on 27 February, according to Ethereum developer Péter Szilágyi. The decision was made in an Ethereum developer's call, in which the decision was made to scrap EIP 1283 for now and then re-introduce it at a later date.

The purpose of EIP 1283 was to reduce gas costs for certain functions, but it also risks mucking up some of the smart contracts that are currently live on Ethereum.

One step forward, one step back

To get it done, Constantinople has now been divided into two separate forks. The first will just be the as-planned Constantinople update, and the second will pry EIP 1283 out of it. The end result will be Constantinople without the gas cost reductions and potential vulnerabilities associated with it.

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It's one more slight delay among many, and Ethereum's developers have so far chosen a path of abundant caution.

Constantinople hit the Ropsten testnet in October last year and the mainnet hard fork was initially pencilled in for November at the earliest. But even at the time, most people were saying the fork could be expected in January or February 2019.

The first trouble was when the testnet launch was delayed by the discovery of a potential vulnerability and pushed back five days. Then when it did go through, a bug on the testnet scuttled hopes for a 2018 Constantinople launch. It was rescheduled for 16 January, which was scrapped when the most recent vulnerability was discovered.

That's where it sits now, with a modified fork anticipated on 27 February.

The clock is very gently ticking though. Part of the Constantinople fork was to delay the difficulty bomb by 12 months, but as the fork gets pushed back, the bomb is gradually exploding. This is manifested as a gradual increase in Ethereum block times.

But this time it's a relatively mild uptick from an average block time of about 14 seconds to one of 15 seconds or so. This is in contrast to the aggressiveness of the original difficulty bomb that exploded in mid-2017 and was adjusted a few months later.

Disclosure: At the time of writing, the author holds ETH.

Disclaimer: This information should not be interpreted as an endorsement of cryptocurrency or any specific provider, service or offering. It is not a recommendation to trade. Cryptocurrencies are speculative, complex and involve significant risks – they are highly volatile and sensitive to secondary activity. Performance is unpredictable and past performance is no guarantee of future performance. Consider your own circumstances, and obtain your own advice, before relying on this information. You should also verify the nature of any product or service (including its legal status and relevant regulatory requirements) and consult the relevant Regulators' websites before making any decision. Finder, or the author, may have holdings in the cryptocurrencies discussed.

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