Opinion Ethereum Hard Fork – Constantinople and St. Petersburg Upgrades

Ethereum Hard Fork – Constantinople and St. Petersburg Upgrades

March 2, 2019

The two long-anticipated and major upgrades to the ethereum network have been officially activated on its blockchain. The second-largest cryptocurrency by market value saw its hard fork come through without any incident. At almost 20:00 UTC the sixth and seventh network-wide upgrades took place on the ethereum system. These were called Constantinople and St. Petersburg and they rolled out when the network reached the block 7,280,000.

Fork Monitor was the website used by many for the monitoring of the blockchain modification progression and as of now, no evidence of any kind of issue emerged. The same applies to any evidence of a spit in the chain that would mean that a part of the user base decided to keep the old software on their mining rigs. Now, all eyes are on the price of ethereum tokens and the actual usability that the upgrades bring to the table, both in terms of technology and long-time value the network has.

Past Splits

Previous hard forks of the blockchain network encountered precisely what is missing now – splitting of the ethereum system. In 2016 the biggest such event took place when ethereum classic splintered off instead of applying the new and then controversial upgrade. Back then, just like today and before any future system-wide change (know as hard fork) node operators and tenders are required to install new software to be used for the purpose of being the network client.

The software automatically undergoes an update when the block number that is targeted by the fork appears. This is designed so that it prevented the possibility of two incompatible versions of the blockchain system from splitting the rest of the network. Currently, the network is united behind both of the updates, which is good news for everyone on the network and those invested in it.

Additions and Corrections

The seventh update, the St. Petersburg code was employed to disable a segment of the Constantinople code that was problematic. In January, when the original launch date was set for the updates, a company working on the security testing detected a vulnerability in the update. If exploited in the right way, this was a possible vector for attackers to steal funds.

But, like always, it is necessary that everyone has the upgrade completed that will allow everyone to use the new features of the system. Like with esports, cross-platform apps, and many other digital systems, a comprehensive level of compatibility is a necessity for the proposed working order of the same venture. In the case of ethereum, the upgrades had to be in place two weeks before the actual fork. During that period, the miners and node operators cannot use any one of the new features, but they do have the software change ready. Then, when the block is mined, everyone at precisely the same time starts using all of the new features.

This prevents the possibility of the network being in two different states at the same time – in that case, two blockchains would be on the same network. This possibility is one of the worst setups for any network that uses this tech as it would open the door to all kinds of chaotic problems. If that happens, the network comes into a consensus issue and ethereum has managed to avoid all of that with Constantinople and St. Petersburg Upgrades.

Number of Improvements

The two updates managed to introduce not just a stable and unanimously supported version of the blockchain but also a network with many other improvements. These are seen in the EIPs (ethereum improvement proposals) that are now active on the network. One of these introduces a phenomenon called the new “corner case” that will affect the immutability of a smart contract.

These are expected to improve the network and its usefulness to the developers and end users alike. What is also important is the fact that these are a new step towards the so-called transition from proof of work to proof of stake means of network support. While this is a long way away, those in the network and many others are hoping for this to become one of the biggest tech change since the start of cryptocurrencies that kicked off with bitcoin. If the proof of stake transaction is successful and the setup shows itself as a viable way of mining and supporting the network, it will change everything in the crypto domain.

Ethereum Token Price Outlook

Of course, like in many other big forking events, there were plenty of nervous traders waiting to see how will the price of the ETH token behave. In the run-up to the fork, there was a big jump in value that took the price up more than 20 percent. In less than 48 hours, the price took off from the $130 range to a peak of $167. Some hoped this would set the mark for the successful forking that would then go over $170 territory, which has not been seen for months.

However, the bull run did not last and the sell-off came even faster than the rise, with a drop of $20 that took place within an hour, once again showing the insanely volatile pattern that can occur in the crypto trading world. Now, the price has stabilized in the $130 range and does not show any sign of breaking either up or down.This will be a disappointment for both the bears and the bulls in the ETH network, but one that will be comforting for the developers.

Some will see this as a signal of market maturity and a need to see how the new features behave in the real world instead of capitalizing on fast price changes. While many will surely still waiting to capitalize the ebb and flow of the price, there is a strong sense that ethereum is growing in relevance. With the proof of stake on the horizon, the network is continuing to grow and as its creators promised, keeps introducing new tech. This makes ETH still one of the smartest long-term investment options on the market today.