Ethereum Istanbul Upgrade to Get Six Code Changes

Ethereum’s developers have finalized 6 separate codebase modifications on the largest platform for building decentralized applications in the world. The modifications will be activated during the upcoming hard fork known as Istanbul.

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Istanbul to be Activated in Batches

The developers also agreed that Istanbul will be activated in two different phases. The first phase will include incorporating the six code updates also called the Ethereum Improvement Proposals. The planned upgrade is scheduled for October 2019, during the mainnet launch.

In the second stage, the mainnet launch will be initiated. This is scheduled for Q1 of 2020. During the launch, the Ethereum Improvement Proposals will be subjected to testing and careful examination. The core developers will be responsible for this process. Other main changes on the table include a possible addition of ProgPow or programmatic proof of work. This ProgPow is a new kind of mining algorithm.

Péter Szilágyi, top Ethereum developer explained how the new changes of the Istanbul upgrade will be rolled out. He did so in a meeting with other developers a few days ago. Szilágyi said:

We split Istanbul into two. One of them we can actually ship within weeks. [The other upgrades consist of] two really big EIPs that would be nice to have but require some stuff that cannot be done within the two- or three-week timespan.”

First Part of Upgrade Will be Ethereum’s Eighth Hard Fork

The initial part of the upgrade will be the eighth Ethereum hard fork. Such large scale updates play a large role in enhancing the platform’s smart contract chain interoperability with the Zcash, the privacy focused cryptocurrency.

Also, the changes can provide extra protection against some security breaches like replay attacks. This means it can enhance the Ethereum blockchain’s overall efficiency.

The developers on the Ethereum clients Geth and Parity have a week to add the above mentioned Ethereum Improvement Proposals. It must be added to the software. The clients also have to implement the full set of changes to be made on the Ethereum mainnet.

Testnet Rescheduled to September

The Istanbul testnet was initially scheduled for launch on the Ethereum testnet Ropsten earlier this month. Sadly, the process was delayed as Szilágyi confirmed during the meeting on Thursday. He also said that the developers require more time to finish with the set of EIPs that are to be added to the first part of the Istanbul upgrade.

The hard fork activation that was initially scheduled for August 14 has now been rescheduled to September 4. However, the date seems too close and Szilágyi believes that the devs need more time. He voiced this out during the meeting as well. He said:

With previous hard forks, after everybody implemented [to their clients], we had literally months of testing before rolling out to the testnet. Now, we just came up with a final list of EIPs and we want to fork in two weeks? That’s a bit brave.”

The Ethereum foundation community manager, Hudson Jameson spoke about the importance of activating hard forks successfully on testnets. He said:

The security and stability of the network are primary concerns when it comes to doing hard fork on mainnet so the testnet release is a vital step in making sure that mainnet release goes smoothly.”

Brian Lubin is a Crypto News Reporter for Smartereum. He's well-known for his reports on the crypto markets.


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