Istanbul Hard Fork: Heading towards the Ethereum 2.0


Ethereum revolutionized crypto sphere by unleashing the full potential of blockchain. It gave a major breakthrough by enabling developers to build DApps on-chain and laid the foundation to the second generation of the Blockchain. The network has been upgraded over and over again but its scalability is still an issue.

Ethereum’s Istanbul Hardfork is going to take place on 7th of December. Though the term “Hard fork” sounds scary to some, there isn’t much to be worried. In this post, ChangeHero attempts to clear up things regarding the upcoming Ethereum Hardfork.

What the Fork!

A hard fork is often misinterpreted as a process of blockchain parting ways but it can also be used for upgrading the current network. In the past, there were few instances of creation of new chains from the existing ones due to a hard fork like Bitcoin Cash, Litecoin, and Ethereum Classic also came into existence after the infamous DAO hack. Istanbul event is a planned fork and will be focused on upgrading a few aspects of the blockchain to improve the performance and efficiency. The 8th network upgrade will take place at the block number 9069000 and expected this week.

Ethereum has previously succeeded in pushing updates to the platform in batches. Byzantium and Constantinople — sub-sections of the massive Metropolis upgrade is an impressive example of such. Ethereum has decided to take the same approach and divided the fork into two parts. Istanbul Hard Fork is Ethereum Improvement Proposals (EPIs) driven. For starters, EIPs are the design documents that provide information about new features including core protocol specifications, client APIs and contract standards.

The first part will include six EIPs related to code modifications that will be upgraded this December.

  • EIP-152: Adds Equihash PoW to the contract and enables Ethereum to conduct relay and atomic-swap transactions with Zcash.
  • EIP-1108: Brings down the expensive zk-SNARKs price, reduces the gas costs and enables cheaper scaling and building privacy-oriented applications.
  • EIP-1344: Adds ChainID opcode for contracts to track the correct chain of state and plasma. It also prevents replay attacks between different chains.
  • EIP-1884: Adjusts the price of EVM opcodes to match with the computation required for a specific operation. It also prevents spamming attacks and balances blocks.
  • EIP-2028: Makes zk-SNARKs and zk-STARKS cheaper by bringing down the prices of gas required for calling data in the transactions.
  • EIP-2200: Restructures calculation of the cost of storage in EVM. Reduces the cost of gas and add news features like re-entry locks and same-contract multi-send.

The initial edition of the event would not have a significant impact on the Ether. Users need not take any additional measures to store or trade Ether. Node runners will have to update their software to a fork-ready version.

Much-awaited sequel

The second part of the Istanbul is expected to take place in the first quarter of 2020. Around 8 EIPs have been accepted so far for the second part of the fork including the most anticipated shift to PoS consensus. This results in fixing the problem of scaling and process more transactions per second.

Furthermore, ProgPoW is also expected to be launched during the second instalment of the fork. By introducing this new protocol, Ethereum reduces the effectiveness of the AISCs and enables the traditional GPUS to be utilized in mining. It would ensure that everybody has an equal opportunity to mine Ether.

Road to Ethereum 2.0

Ethereum gave the necessary breakthrough in the world of blockchain. It is the second most valuable and popular cryptocurrency trailing behind the Bitcoin. Though Ethereum is comfortably leading the altcoin pack, other projects are catching up with technological advancements. Ethereum 2.0 can be expected to launch in 2020 powered with a new token and PoS consensus protocol. It would fine-tune the protocol with higher scalability, stability and security. Istanbul Hard Fork is the much-needed upgrade for Ethereum to keep them in the race with others.

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Istanbul Hard Fork: Heading towards the Ethereum 2.0 was originally published in Coinmonks on Medium, where people are continuing the conversation by highlighting and responding to this story.