Ethereum’s Byzantium upgrade is around the CornerOctober 14, 2017
The developers gathered around the second most popular digital currency are feeling confident about their new upgrade. Byzantium, the blockchain advancement that will be the biggest one in the history of the network, is scheduled to start on Saturday, 14th of October.
Now, the confidence seems to be high among both the developers and the supporters, especially when it comes to making sure that the past mistakes are not repeated. In other words, the developers desperately want to avoid any potential issues. This particularly applies to anything like those that split the network to Ethereum and Ethereum Classic.
This is why the focus is to successfully navigate the upcoming changes in the code base of the network. In fact, Ethereum Foundation designed and developer Alex Van de Sande thinks that nothing will happen during this hard forking procedure. Here are some of the most important facts about the upgrade and how it will affect the functionality of the network, the price of its token and the ebb and flow of the wider cryptocurrency market.
The Byzantium Upgrade
As a whole, the upgrade aims to make the ethereum faster, lighter and more private. It will be enacted the moment block 4,370,000 is mined on the ethereum blockchain. At the same time, the change will be enacted using the hard fork system, which is something that is still worrying some in the cryptocurrency community.
Hard forks are a common method of blockchain upgrades, but they remain controversial. In the case of ethereum, the network went through three forks which worked great, apart from the mentioned one. Naturally, the same fork event is on everyone’s mind while they hope that all will go according to the plan.
The same problematic hard forking took place during the summer of 2016 when a part of the community continued to mine the old blockchain and created a new asset. This happened with bitcoin as well, which led to the creation of BCC, but there was a level of previous planning.
In the case of ETH, the users lost money, along with companies which were holding it in this form. Now, if the same happens again, the ETH will find itself in very hot waters.
A Sense of Optimism
The vast majority of users and developers are so far optimistic about this hard fork, mainly because it will try to execute some needed changes. These include some problems that have been on ethereum’s roadmap since the network was launched in 2015. This is the reason why some many developers are looking forward to the update and the way it will enhance the overall usability of the ETC blockchain.
Others who have direct contact with the actual forking procedure are hoping for an uneventful moment. This is thanks to the Ropsten, a test network of ethereum that took on the Byzantium upgrade. During the test, there were some issues related to a spam attack which blocked all transactions, but otherwise, the test team announced that the upgrade went as planned.
The privacy implications of the new update should also present themselves after the hard fork. However, most experts have pointed out that the changes will not be that evident to the users, being that the process is primarily technical in its nature and not designed to impact those who simply use ETH. At the same time, the developers should have more options for their projects, including those which will be built on top of the ethereum platform.
Most changes brought on by Byzantium are not controversial in any shape or form, but there is an element that is raising some eyebrows. The element in question is the EIP or ethereum improvement protocol, which is intended to reduce the amount of ether issued inside of each block. As this has the potential to reduce the mining profits, many in the mining pools are not happy about the EIP.
This lead to at least one protest initiative called Etherite. Its members have stated that the change could turn off anyone interested in mining for the purpose of making a profit. According to them, some miners are not even aware that the changes are on their way and when they find out, their rigs could be simply switched to another digital currency.
Representatives of some mining pools, like those from Nanopool which cover around 10% of the entire ETH hashrate, seem to agree. For them, people use ETH just like BTC, for anything from purchases to online betting, but in the case of ethereum, the future of the system is in control of the developer, not them.
The Rising Difficulty
The difficulty bomb represents the process inside of the source code of the ethereum network that gradually slows down the process of issuing ETH blocks on the blockchain. This is why, even if the miners decide to stick to the old code and not move in the wake of Byzantium update, experts believe that this branch would die out on its own. Here, like in other online domains including social media, eSports and other similar ventures, any alternative that is not able to attract a steady growth will not exist for long.
Still, in spite of the fact that miners do not have their say, some developers believe that EIP should have been placed inside of its own fork. This way, those who do not like it could provide a judgment of the update after some experience with it. If the negative opinions prevail, the fork could be reverted. But now, EIP will get its place in the Byzantium for better or worse.
The Price Effect
Judging by the first market reactions, the traders are eager to see the ETH upgrade enter the network. The price of this asset has been steadily going up and the same is true for bitcoin and litecoin as well. If any negative news about Byzantium comes out during the forking, the trend could be stopped, but for now, it looks like it is all green for the ETH. More than that, this hard fork promises to be the thing that would propel the asset over its previous record and keep it there in a stable manner.