The Constantinople hard fork is a hard fork of the Ethereum network. In my last blog post i explained what a hard fork you can read it here. This is an upgrade to the Ethereum network, a new chain would be created because the new code that would be added is not backward compatible. So the old chain would die and the new chain would simply be built on. The hard fork is scheduled for block #7080000 which is estimated to occur sometime around January 16th, 2019. What is interesting about this hard fork is that unlike most others there is a consensus amongst the miners and the community so there would be no split in Ethereum like in the case of ETH/ETC, thus everyone is expected to make the upgrade. This hard fork upgrade is part of a gradual move towards the proof of stake consensus algorithm.
There would be 5 changes that would come along with Constantinople, called Ethereum Improvement Proposals (EIPs)
EIP 145: Bitwise Shifting Instructions [Efficiency & Speed]
This would optimise the execution of shifts in smart contracts, making them 10x cheaper.
EIP 1014: CREATE2 [Scalability]
This was developed by Vitalik Buterin and allows for the creation of state channels, similar to the lightning network. It enables transactions to be done off-chain, increasing the scalability of the network.
EIP 1052: Smart Contract Verification [Speed & Energy]
EIP 1052 allows for smart contracts to pull just the hash of a smart contract to verify one another as against the previous method of pull the whole code which took time and energy.
EIP 1283: SSTORE [cost]
This EIP would reduce the gas cost for the SSTORE operation. The reduction enables multiple updates to occur within a transaction more cheaply.
EIP 1234: Block Rewards & Difficulty Bomb Delay
The most contentious. This proposal reduces the reward for mining a block from 3 ETH to 2 ETH. Obviously, miners are not especially happy about this as it directly affects profit from their operations but sadly it is what it is. The difficulty bomb is a mechanism that when set in motion would increase the difficulty of mining new blocks until the point that no new blocks can be mined (because it is just too difficult). It is supposed to aid the eventual shift from Proof of Work (POW) to Proof of Stake (POS) such that it would phase out mining and allow for a total move to POS without splitting the network. This EIP has been delayed and would be voted in 12 months.
The Constantinople hard fork is an exciting development for the Ethereum network as it allows for a faster and more efficient network pushing it to fulfil its initial promise and potential. We rub our hands with glee as we continue to see further improvements in the space. That being said, Quidax would be supporting the Constantinople fork at the time of the upgrade. All security preparations have been put in place to ensure the transition is smooth as we move to a better Ethereum Network. See you on the other side 😉.