Major Factors That Led to the Postponement of Ethereum’s Hard Fork – Constantinople

ethereum ecosystem

Recently, a member of Ethereum Cat Herder – Charles St. Louis – published the post mortem report regarding the postponement of Ethereum’s hard fork. He published the report on his official Medium page. The report entails the process of the verdict taken by the community in the little time provided, as well as how the postponement could have been prevented.

Constantinople is Ethereum’s forthcoming hard fork, and it is part of the third stage of the blockchain project, Metropolis. Besides Constantinople, Byzantium hard fork, which took place in Oct. 2017, is part of the third phase as well. Before the Metropolis, both phases of Ethereum were Homestead and Frontier.

The next and final phase of Ethereum, which is Serenity, introduces significant updates to the network, with Proof of Stake protocol – Beacon, Zero-knowledge, Plasma, and Casper proofs being the fundamental upgrades.

The Proposed Ethereum Improvement Protocols of Constantinople

Constantinople was initially scheduled to go live earlier this month, after being postponed several times last year. However, the postponements seem to have flowed into this year. The soon to be launched hard fork proposed five EIPs (Ethereum Improvement Protocols). More emphasis is being laid on EIP 1234, written by Afri Schoedon.

This improvement proposed the delay of bomb difficulty for another one year and the thirdening – this would reduce block reward to 2 ether from 3 ether. Among the proposed EIPs, the one that caused the delay of Constantinople is EIP-1283. A day prior to the activation, a smart contracts audit platform – ChainSecurity – said that its team discovered a potential susceptibility in the implementation of the protocol.

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The audit platform said that if the protocol is implemented, it would make the smart contracts susceptible to Reentrancy attack. This would have been triggered after the hard fork while using address.send or address.transfer.

The Five Major Factors for the Postponement of Constantinople

According to the report, five major factors are responsible for the decision of the postponement. The five factors include:

  1. Deciding whether or not the issue could be fixed
  2. Emergency call with the developers and stakeholder of Ethereum
  3. The possible risk of delaying the hard fork and not delaying it.
  4. The sentiment of the community.
  5. Discussion of trading security for efficiency.

In addition, the report also revealed that the issue could have been discovered earlier.

The smart contracts audit firm uses Ganache/Truffle for security analysis. Nevertheless, the first Constantinople-ready Ganache version was released six days prior to the hard fork. There are reports that other security researchers in the ecosystem suspected this susceptibility but didn’t report the issue or prepare an official bug bounty because they assumed it was already known

Constantinople Is Scheduled to Launch on Block #7,280,000

According to the recent verdict of the Core Dev team, Constantinople will be activated on block 7,280,000, which is expected to take place on the 27th of February. This time, two hard forks will occur simultaneously on the same block.

The first hard fork will include all the proposed improvement protocols expect EIP 1283. The second hard fork will allow private and test networks – an option to reverse the change of Constantinople, especially the already forked networks.

According to the post-mortem, private networks and individual testnets that have already implemented the original Constantinople will trigger both forks on different blocks at their discretion.

Princess Ogono is a writer, lawyer and fitness enthusiast. She believes cryptocurrencies are the future. When she's not writing, she spends time with her adorable cat, Ginger and works out often.


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