A lot has been going in and around the arrival of Ethereum’s upcoming Constantinople hard fork update. The hardfork which was earlier scheduled for this month, is now likely to launch on the 16th of January 2018. Last month, during the testnet launch of Constantinople, it ran into a series of hurdles. The core developer team conducted a meeting during the October end, where they decided not to rush through the process.
This new date of January 16th is a tentative decision, made through a non-verbal agreement. However, note that this isn’t final or fixed. Developers have made it earlier clear that the hard fork can even see a possible further extension provided any additional problems arise.
Developer’s Opinions on Upcoming Hard Fork
Core developer Péter Szilágyi said: “We can just say mid-January, it doesn’t make difference if we decide on a date or not. We can always postpone”. Another developer Lane Rettig provided insights into the research done regarding the Ethereum’s difficulty-bomb.
The difficulty bomb means the increase in difficulty of mining new blocks on the Ethereum network. Over a period of time as the complexity increases, it will ultimately reduce in a slowdown in the number of blocks added. Ultimately it might prove to be a deterrent for the miners. However, Ethereum is planning to move from Proof-of-Work (PoW) to Proof-of-Stake (PoS) going ahead.
Rettig said that the difficulty bomb can be visible since January. Furthermore, it can also lead to a 30-second block time by the April or May of the upcoming year. “So we have time, there’s no critical concern,” Rettig said.
Back in September itself, the developers agreed to postpone the difficulty bomb to a further 18 months. Moreover, they also agreed upon reducing the mining rewards from 3 ETH to 2 ETH. Apart from this, the Constantinople hard fork will bring several upgrades underlying the code.
During the last conference call, there was a discussion of adding a ProgPow protocol during the Constantinople upgrade. 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. However, its implementation wasn’t discussed during the latest conference call. The developers noted some issues regarding the implementation saying that a formal specification for the code is still incomplete.
Developer Szilágyi, however, urged that all the software upgrades implementing the Constantinople hard fork should be released before the end of this year. “All clients should release a stable version with the baked in block number before Christmas,” Szilágyi said.