Understanding the Upcoming Hard Forks of Bitcoin and Ethereum
Five Key Points You Need to Know
Five Key Points to Understand About the Upcoming Hard Forks of Bitcoin and Ethereum
Recently, everyone has been paying close attention to the upcoming fork issues of two major blockchains, Bitcoin and Ethereum. This article will briefly explain the five key points that need to be understood.
1. Ethereum Will Undergo a Hard Fork
The first thing to know is that Ethereum will undergo a hard fork at block 4,370,000. This means that Ethereum will upgrade at that block, and a new Ethereum blockchain will emerge.
2. When Will the Hard Fork Happen?
According to the current pace of block generation, block 4,370,000 is expected to arrive after 1 PM Taiwan time on October 16th. The exact time can be found at fork.codetract.io.
3. No New Ethereum Cryptocurrency Will be Created
The third thing to know is that this hard fork will not result in a new Ethereum cryptocurrency. In previous hard fork events, split coins were created due to controversial changes proposed by the community that did not receive unanimous approval. However, the Ethereum "Metropolis" upgrade has been unanimously approved by the community, and this hard fork is based on the results of the upgrade, so there will be no split in the Ethereum community and no new Ether coins will be created.
4. Update Your Ethereum Client
As an Ethereum user, it is necessary to download the latest version of the Ethereum client, such as Ethereum Wallet/Mist, Geth client, Parity client, or Harmony client. If using third-party Ethereum wallets like MyEtherWallet or Jaxx, the wallet provider needs to update for the hard fork.
5. Stay Informed
It's important to stay informed about the upcoming hard fork and any news related to it. Follow reputable sources and updates from the Ethereum community to ensure that you are aware of any changes.
Ethereum's upgrade - Metropolis Phase
Ethereum's development is divided into four stages: Frontier, Homestead, Metropolis, and Serenity. The upcoming stage, Metropolis, is further divided into two stages - Byzantium and Constantinople.
Today, the focus is on the Byzantium hard fork, which is the first stage of the Metropolis upgrade. The process will involve a hard fork, and it is recommended to confirm with the supplier whether there are any other steps required during the process.
The Byzantium hard fork will introduce the zero-knowledge succinct non-interactive argument of knowledge (Zk-Snarks), add the REVERT function, and delay the Ethereum ice age or difficulty bomb by one year.
The Metropolis upgrade will address four aspects:
- Zero-knowledge succinct non-interactive argument of knowledge (Zk-Snarks)
- Early implementation of proof of stake (PoS)
- Flexibility and stability of smart contracts
- Abstraction of accounts
Image source: blockgeeks.com
Ethereum Metropolis Update
The Ethereum network will undergo significant changes with the upcoming "Metropolis" upgrade. It will not be introduced all at once but in two phases.
The first phase, "Constantinople," is expected to happen in 2018. It will address issues based on the previous "Byzantium" hard fork and introduce a "PoW and PoS hybrid chain." The block reward will be reduced from 5ETH to 3ETH (EIP 649).
The second phase, the most important part of the Metropolis upgrade, will introduce zk-Snarks - based on zero-knowledge proof. This will allow the verifier to believe the statement without revealing any useful information.
Difficulty Bomb Mechanism
The arrival of Proof of Stake (PoS) will make mining equipment worthless. To prevent miners from continuing to mine on the Proof of Work (PoW) protocol, the Ethereum development team set up a "difficulty bomb" mechanism. In this "Byzantium" hard fork, the block reward will be reduced from 5ETH to 3ETH.
Ethereum Postpones the Difficulty Bomb
The Difficulty Bomb (also known as the Ice Age) in Ethereum will be postponed for one year. The Difficulty Bomb refers to the increase in mining difficulty. This system was first used in Bitcoin to prevent the currency from being mined too quickly.
Ethereum also uses a similar protocol where the difficulty coefficient increases as the number of miners increases. However, Ethereum's difficulty coefficient increases exponentially and is known as the Difficulty Bomb, which can result in a state where blocks can no longer be mined, known as the Ice Age.
To address this, Ethereum will implement a Proof of Stake (PoS) protocol, which replaces miners with validators who hold a certain amount of Ether to validate blocks. Casper is the consensus algorithm that will be used for PoS, which will coexist with Proof of Work (PoW) in the beginning.
Validators who validate malicious blocks will have their stake deducted. The implementation of Casper is to incentivize honest behavior and penalize unethical behavior among validators/miners.
This is a positive development for Ethereum, as it allows for a more efficient and secure network. The move to PoS is also a step towards Ethereum 2.0, which aims to improve scalability and performance.