Ethereum’s Constantinople is Here
The run-up to Ethereum’s fifth planned system-wide upgrade, Constantinople is finally here, late but it’s arrived.
Expected to go live on Wednesday, Jan. 16, 2019 Constantinople is a type of upgrade known as a hard fork — which means it needs to be unilaterally installed across all nodes in the network to function as intended.
Elegantly perhaps Etheruem is planning this in 4 distinct stages.
- Frontier (beta stage to develop and test dapps)
- Homestead (to stabilize the platform),
- Metropolis (ongoing) and
- Serenity (upcoming).
While in 2019 Ethereum certainly doesn’t look like a valid candidate to become the backbone of the new internet, at least sharing and scalability is on the way with Ethereum 2.0.
The Ethereum road-map looks long a laundry list of what public blockchains need to do in order to be scalable.
Named after the capital of the Byzantine Empire, Constantinople forms part of a three-part upgrade called Metropolis. Confused yet? That’s okay. Ethereum’s price has been fluctuating wildly near the end of 2018 with some positive signs in recent weeks.
Metropolis combines a total of five ethereum improvement proposals (EIPs). Ethereum is trying hard to reinvent itself at at time when ConsenSys is pivoting and going into lean startup mode. The crypto winter is like an incubation period for Ethereum 2.0. The crypto sell-off of November, 2018 appears to have occurred at a similar time when Wall Street’s FANG stocks dipped in a very gloomy period of market volatility.
I think we can safely characterize Constantinople as primarily a “maintenance and optimization upgrade” but a sign that Ethereum is heading in the right direction.
The decentralized nature of blockchain systems makes a network upgrade more difficult. This also for the layperson means Ethereum has a more esoteric than practical implication on our lives. As if crypto was some arcane alchemy of blockchain developers the rest of us don’t or choose not to really understand.
There’s also a certain finality to such a ‘network upgrade’ or hard fork. The protocol changes are activated at a specific block number. Any nodes that have not been upgraded to the new ruleset will be abandoned on the old chain where the previous rules continue to exist.
Additionally, the hard fork includes changes to Ethereum’s underlying economic policy, and the delay of the difficulty bomb, a piece of code programmed to activate what is known as the ethereum “ice age” in which new block creation on the network eventually slows to a complete halt. Those magic nodes eh!
Changes that are implemented in Constantinople are defined using EIPs. Ethereum Improvement Proposals (EIPs) describe standards for the Ethereum platform, including core protocol specifications, client APIs, and contract standards.
- 145: In short: This EIP adds native functionality to protocol so that it is cheaper & easier to do certain things on chain.
- 1014: In short: This EIP makes it so you can interact with addresses that have yet to be created.
- 1052: In short: This EIP makes it cheaper (less gas is needed) to do certain things on chain.
- 1283: In short: This EIP makes it cheaper (less gas is needed) to do certain things on chain, especially things that are currently “excessively” expensive.
- 1234: In short: This EIP make sure we don’t freeze the blockchain before proof of stake is ready & implemented.
Clearly these coders are doing surgery in heaven, the world computer needs an upgrade and while public blockchains still aren’t viable, they are for all intents and purposes fun to witness.
As our prayers for a more decentralized world continue, we stand at the dawn of Ethereum. Let us now open the gates of shard and continue along the Tao of Serenity.