Last Thursday, the final meeting for Ethereum’s upcoming system-wide upgrade had been conducted. Dubbed as the Istanbul hard fork, the core developers of the project had agreed that Istanbul would be launched in two parts. The first part will carry the proposed six code changes. The team aims to execute the approved improvement proposals for Ethereum mainnet by October.
The prior meetings also established an agreement from the core developers that the second part of the Istanbul hard fork would be executed next year. There is no specific date, but the team aims to do it in the first quarter. Notably, this second part will feature Ethereum’s upgrading proposals, which include a series of testing and analysis from the core developers. One of the EIPs is about ProgPow, which requires a change in the mining algorithm.
Peter Szilagyi, one of Ethereum’s core developers, explained why they have decided to split the Istanbul upgrade into two. He confirmed that there had been a unison to activate the upgrade in two separate dates. The first one which features six code changes is ready to be shipped within weeks. The second, however, will carry two significant improvement features that require more than just a few weeks to be completed.
Currently, Ethereum is a mighty Blockchain network valued at $22 billion. The forthcoming Istanbul hard fork part 1 would be the eight upgrade in the network’s list. The main goal is to promote interoperability with zcash, a privacy coin. Moreover, it targets to block destructing replay attacks and many more improvements on the network.
As of press time, Geth and Parity, the developers behind Ethereum’s major clients, have a week to integrate into their software the approved code changes. They are also required to prepare for the full code implementation on a live test network.
The final obstacle
Initially, the testnet activation of Instanbul part 1 on Ropsten was scheduled on Wednesday, August 14. However, Szilágyi explained that it had to be moved as the developers need additional time to finalize the list of improvement proposals that the first structure would carry. It was rescheduled to September 4.
However, after the Thursday meeting, the core developers thought that two weeks are still not enough. Szilágyi admitted that due to a series of trials and deliberation, the date is likely to be moved once again. He also mentioned about the procedures that the team had undergone in implementing hard forks in the past, citing that they needed to spend months on testing before actually rolling out to the live testnet. Szilágyi said that they are not that confident to fork within two weeks of finishing the final list of Ethereum’s improvement proposals. Majority of the developers agreed that this delay is necessary.
The first part of the Istanbul system-wide upgrade is a critical step before mainnet activation. Just like in other hard fork implementations in the past, miners are required to upgrade to the latest software to lessen the risk of a potential chain split in the Ethereum network.
According to Hudson Jameson, the community manager of Ethereum Foundation, their primary concern is to ensure the stability and security of the network during times of hard fork upgrades. It is the reason why it is necessary to do testnet release. He also confirmed that the core developers had to call for a delay despite their oozing excitement to ensure that the release on the mainnet would go as smoothly as possible.