Ethereum's Constantinople and St. Petersburg Hard Forks Have Been Activated

On February 28, the two most anticipated upgrades went live on the Ethereum blockchain. The Constantinople and St. Petersburg hard forks have been activated on the main network at block 7,280,000, as it was planned. Initially, the upgrade has had two names of two originally separated updates, but now they are combined into one.

According to Ethernodes.org, not all the Ethereum users have adopted the updates. Only 22.3 percent of Geth and Parity clients have started running the Constantinople-compliant version. However, major US crypto exchanges have supported the upgrade, seeing it as a prosperous initiative.

Binance, Huobi, and OKEx were first to announce their support. They started to monitor the event before its first implementation attempt. In January, Coinbase and Kraken became the latest to confirm support for Ethereum’s hard fork.

On The Way To Activation

The Constantinople and St. Petersburg hard forks are a major amendment to the Ethereum network, as they will increase its efficiency and affect the network’s core protocol specifications, contract standards, and client APIs. The Constantinople and St. Petersburg hard forks strive to reduce block reward issuance from 3 to 2 ETH. What is more, users can expect cheaper transaction fees for some operations on the Ethereum network.

Initially, the Constantinople hard fork was set to launch in autumn 2018, but because of numerous bugs found in the code released on the Ropsten testnet, the launch was postponed till January 2019. However, this time the event did not occur again. As a loophole in the Constantinople hard fork software was found, the launch was delayed for late February.

The loophole could lead to attackers exploiting this and withdrawing users’ funds through a reentrancy attack. Therefore the developers decided to make sure the entire network gets onboard as per the plan and implement a two-fork strategy, activating Constantinople and St. Petersburg hard forks on the same block.

After those delays, the hard forks have finally gone live. With this release, four different Ethereum improvement proposals (EIPs) have been officially activated. One of them introduces a new “corner case” and affects smart contract immutability.

Miners and node operators should bear in mind that before such a serious system upgrade, they are required to install new client software that automatically updates at the exact same block number, which prevents two concurrent and incompatible versions of the same blockchain from splitting the wider network.

Taylor Monahan, CEO of blockchain wallet tool MyCrypto, explained:

“About two weeks before the fork, everyone upgrades the software but none of the new features are enabled. Then, on that block number, everyone at the exact same time starts using the new features. So, that’s how we prevent differing states from existing simultaneously. It’s [also] called a consensus issue or a consensus bug.”

Ethereum’s Volatility Increased

Earlier, we reported that amid the hard forks, volatility of Ethereum price increased. On Sunday, Ethereum reached its three-month high, and a couple of hours later, dropped 17 percent and witnessed a considerable sell-off. Yesterday, its price made up $137.39 per token. It is no surprise that after the new upgrade Ethereum will sideways trend for several weeks.

As for today, the altcoin started the day around $132, and at the moment of writing, Ethereum trades at $136.91.

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