The Ethereum Istanbul Hard Fork: What to Expect


The Ethereum Istanbul Hard Fork which was expected to have occurred in October has been shifted to December 6th, 2019. Already, Etherscan has put up a timer indicating the readiness of everyone within the Ethereum ecosystem to go on with the implementation of the hard fork.

There have been many Ethereum Improvement proposals (EIPs) which would have made up this second to the last hard fork before the major upgrade to Ethereum 2.0 which is the new version of the second most popular blockchain on earth at the moment. 

Block #9069000 is the anticipated block that everyone is waiting for and it is expected to hit the blockchain at the aforementioned date.

Istanbul is the follow up of Constantinople and it is designed to implement quite a few things which shall be discussed here. 

Introduction of Programmable Proof-of-Work 

This proposal was intended to enable the GPU (Graphical Processing Unit) miners to be able to profit at the same parity with the ASIC (Application-Specific Standard Integrated Circuit) miners. As of now, the ASIC miners have a distinct advantage of competing for and gaining more rewards of mining blocks than the GPU miners thus tilting the balance of power over the blockchain to the ASIC-enabled miners. 

The introduction of Prog-POW will enable the balance to be restored and the parity will return to the blockchain. 

This parity will be restored by reducing the efficiency gaps between ASIC and GPU miners.

The Ethereum Virtual Machine Receives and Upgrade

The Ethereum Virtual machine or EVM as we all refer to it will also receive an upgrade to a catch-all web assembly system where different programming languages can now be used to implement decentralized applications using smart contracts.

This, of course, will also allow for a slew of developers to come into the ecosystem to be able to build new apps and get things done quicker and faster. 

In terms of future upgrades, a new process referred to as “account versioning” will also allow for the smooth execution of smart contracts on the blockchain at the time so that the decentralized applications work as expected.

Repricing of Precompiles

The current elliptic precompile that exist on the blockchain are currently above the best-optimized prices for the effective execution of decentralized applications.

Elliptic precompiles are the signatures needed for every block on the blockchain to be confirmed by the nodes.

It is a core part of asymmetric cryptography which forms the foundation for the Ethereum blockchain.

The great thing about resetting the price for these cryptographic signatures is that a lot of things will now be happening at the same time on the Ethereum blockchain.

The Blockchain will grow faster and transactions will be faster at the same time (a la carte scaling).

Gas Prices for Code Execution Will Reduce

Further decentralization will occur as more nodes will now be able to join the confirmation process making it easier for mining fees to fall as well. 

On the Flip Side

Also, as the last hard fork before the new beginning (Ethereum 2.0 is also expected to return on a grand scale at the serenity hard fork) several events are expected to play out.

Several smart-contracts will become obsolete due to the tardiness of the application developers than the tardiness of the blockchain developers themselves.

This will create some friction and some developers will out of anger leave for other blockchains where the same cycle will frustrate them.

Many miners will exit due to the lack of mining activities as ProgPOW will still allow for mining but won’t after serenity.

Ethereum prices will go up due to the bidding factor by stakes (after the implementation of Ethereum serenity).

Another Blockchain may emerge early for each hard fork ( this often happens when a set of people on the blockchain disagree with the overall consensus and continue their own thing),

Ethereum will become bigger, better and stronger with a stronger hand in the blockchain space.

In all, we may not be sure as to what exactly will occur when these hard forks take place but from December it is going to be a wild ride for everyone as Ethereum won’t be the same again!

About the author

Christopher is the Blockchain/DeFi Editor for E-Crypto News he also writes frequently about Crypto Gaming and Gambling. He is the author of the book "Profitable Cryptocurrency Gambling and Gaming: A Complete Guide." A content developer, Crypto-Enthusiast, and tech-savvy individual. He is also a Superstar Content Developer, Strategy Demigod, and Standup Guy.

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