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Ethereum’s Constantinople Hard Fork Might Not Be Possible in 2018

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by Darya Rudz · 3 min read
Ethereum’s Constantinople Hard Fork Might Not Be Possible in 2018
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Ethereum’s Constantinople hard fork was tested on the Ropsten network and faced consensus issue. The developers are trying to solve the problem, but the hard fork is unlikely to be activated this year.

Ethereum’s enthusiasts have long been waiting for Constantinople hard fork, the biggest Ethereum network, to go live by the end of this year. However, the developers have made it clear that the plan would not be possible.

On Friday, October 12, Ethereum software clients confirmed that the Constantinople hardfork was ready to be implemented on the Ropsten network in two days. On Sunday, the hard fork became active on the Ropsten, Ethereum’s main test network, at block 4,230,000.

But not everything went smoothly. The problem was that the Ropsten network halted on the last block before the upgrade – 4,299,999, staying at that level for a while. According to Afri Schoedon, release manager for the ethereum client Parity, the reason of the upgrade stall was the absence of miners who were supposed to push the upgraded blockchain forward.

Finally, the network got unstuck. However, there came a new issue to worry about. Zero transactions were recorded on the network. The consensus issue on Ropsten resulted in a three-way fork between Geth, Parity, and another Ethereum client.

As Schoedon stated, this testnet issue was the result of miners and developers not being on the same page with Constantinople’s proposed changes, which affected the release schedule of the upgrade. Currently, the Ropsten testnet is still frozen, and the developers are calling miners to progress the Ropsten blockchain forward and contribute to its stability.

Schoedon said:

“The fact that all clients are ‘stuck’ means that there is no valid Constantinople block yet.”

Schoeden also said that the weekend was not an ideal time for release of Constantinople on Ropsten:

“Not for later: never fork on weekends.”

The consensus issue on Ropsten means that this year, there probably would be no Constantinople, as the developers have to investigate the problem and find a solution.

The Constantinople hard fork is a system-wide Ethereum update designed to increase the network’s efficiency and help the Ethereum network move from a POW consensus algorithm to POS. It was set to be launched in late November. The hard fork is a part of Byzantium upgrade expected to allow parallel processing of multiple transactions.

The upgrade has already brought the code that would lead to the implementation of four smart contracts which would decrease the power needed to execute zk-snarks. The Byzantium hard fork also reduced the number of Ethereum given to users as a reward, from five to three.

Some crypto experts believe that the delay of Ethereum mainnet Constantinople hardfork will negatively affect the Ethereum roadmap, while others are still hopeful that the hard fork would take place before the end 2018.

Anyway, it is unclear whether this delay will have any impact on the full Constantinople upgrade. As the rollout’s failure was due to a lack of miners upgrading their clients, the code itself remains untested.

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