Ethereum’s Constantinople Upgrade Delayed to Early 2019

| Updated
by Bhushan Akolkar · 3 min read
Ethereum’s Constantinople Upgrade Delayed to Early 2019
Photo: QuoteInspector

After finding multiple bugs in the code released on the Ropsten testnet, the developers have now decided to postpone the mainnet release.

It looks like the problems for the Ethereum blockchain network are aggravating further and further. The meeting between Ethereum developers, last Friday, concluded that the upcoming Constantinople upgrade will be postponed to early 2019. The entire meeting between the developers is recorded and published on YouTube.

Last week, the developers agreed that the Constantinople hardfork is all set for a November release. However, after finding multiple bugs in the code released on the Ropsten testnet, the developers have now decided to postpone the mainnet release. According to the latest discussion, the Constantinople hardfork can occur sometime by late January or early February.

Developer Afri Schoeden said:

“I keep getting the feeling that we’re trying to rush this and I would second that we should breathe and see what happens.”

During the meeting, one more developer said that it might be “politically” right to call Constantinople an update, instead of a hardfork. At the time of testnet launch on Ropste on October 13, the hardfork code ran into a series of hurdles. The fork stalled at block number 4,299,999, just one block before its planned activation at block number 4,230,000.

The fork stalled for almost 2 hours as all the participating miners ultimately failed to go through its activation. However, developer Schoeden pointed that not a single miner was mining on the Constantinople chain which led to a two-hour delay before processing the final block. Another issue raised was the lack of an effective tool to rightly monitor the hardfork launch on the testnet.

Adding Code for ProgPow Protocol During the Next Constantinople Upgrade

The Ethereum Constantinople upgrade proposed five backward-incompatible changes to the network as below.

  • EIP 145 – more cost-effective and efficient approaching to processing information;
  • EIP 1014 – better approach to accommodating network scaling solutions such as off-chain transactions;
  • EIP 1052 – an improvement on how contracts are processed;
  • EIP1234 – 12-month delay of difficulty bomb; reduce mining rewards from 3 ETH to 2 ETH;
  • EIP 1283 – a better way to monetize data storage changes (made by smart contract programmers).

Now that the delay is certain, the update can see bring other proposed changes as well. Martin Holste Swende, security lead at the Ethereum Foundation, talked about adding the code for the “ProgPow” proposal in Constantinople. The ProgPow aims at enhancing Ethereum’s resistance to specialized mining hardware like ASICs. There is a fear that the existing use of ASIC chips can centralize mining power in the hands of a few powerful miners.

“I’m going to go out on a limb here and say that if we do decide that Constantinople isn’t until January or February, then I would probably try to push for including ProgPoW into Constantinople,” said Swende.

During the Friday meeting, the Ethereum Foundation Communications officer Hudson Jameson told developers that a lot of work still needs to be done to prepare for the mainnet release. He noted that there’s a need for more coordination with miners on when they switch over hash power, which also includes mainnet.

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