Announced last Friday, the eagerly anticipated Constantinople hard fork is being delayed until 2019. The hard fork was supposed to go ahead in November, but some bugs were found in the initial trial, which meant that it could not be implemented.
The Constantinople delay
In a meeting on October 19th, it was agreed by core Ethereum developers that implementing the hard fork was not feasible at present. The Constantinople fork was trialed on a test network on October 13th where the issues were found. After the hour-long video meeting on October 19th, the developers decided that the earliest the fork could be implemented was January 2019.
The official news does not come as a surprise. The trial on the test network (Ropsten) did not go according to plan, and it was two hours before the first Constantinople block was processed on Ropsten. There was a consensus issue on the network, resulting in a three-way fork between Geth, Parity, and another Ethereum client. The consensus issue is an indication that developers and miners may not be on board with the proposed changes in the Ethereum network. After the Ropsten trial, Parity developer Afri Schoedon stated that a Constantinople hard fork in 2018 was unlikely.
What is Constantinople?
The Constantinople hard fork marks a significant step in the evolution of Ethereum, consisting of five major updates. It is to help in the move from a Proof of Work (POW) model to a Proof of Stake (POS) and to enhance the overall efficiency of the network. It was also to lay the foundation for resolving Ethereum’s scalability issues, which earlier this year forced the Etheremon game to migrate to Zilliqa. The delay is not good news for Ethereum, despite being the only option right now, and it will significantly alter its release schedule over the coming year. Other blockchain networks could advance at Ethereum’s expense, which is moving quite slowly with its updates. Ripple could easily take its place as the number two cryptocurrency by market capitalization.
On the other hand, it could mean that there is time to add code for other proposals into Constantinople. ProgPow is a proposal that aims to bolster Ethereum’s resistance to ASIC mining. ASIC mining is the process of using specialized hardware to mine cryptocurrency and typically leads to massive centralization.
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