In the lead up to the long-awaited Constantinople hard fork of the Ethereum network, major crypto exchanges Coinbase and Kraken announced yesterday, January 14th, their support. The changes will form part of an upgrade to the world’s third largest blockchain.
The Constantinople hard fork is due to take place at block number 7 080 000 on the Ethereum blockchain which is expected to occur this week however an exact date or time for the upgrade is difficult to determine. Coinbase mentioned on Twitter that it “intends to fully support the Constantinople Ethereum (ETH) upgrade”. They will join Binance, Huobi and OKEx in supporting the network upgrade.
Well Coinbase has announced that trading on all of its services including Coinbase Pro, Coinbase Prime, and Coinbase.com as well as their mobile apps will continue as normal during the hard fork, however:
Upon commencement of the upgrade, for security and technical purposes, we will temporarily pause sending and receiving ETH across all of our trading platforms until the upgrade completes and we confirm security of the network. The network upgrade will not interfere with buying, selling or trading of ETH on Coinbase Pro, Coinbase.com or mobile apps.
Kraken also commented that they “will be supporting this”. This was in reply to a comment on twitter asking them if they’re planning to do the same as Coinbase. Support staff went on to write:
“No new coins will be credited to ETH holders as we expect the old chain will quickly become obsolete.”
On the whole, the upgrade is expected to be widely adopted and largely uncontroversial. That being said we have prepared a few answers to some frequently asked questions about the upcoming Ethereum Constantinople Hard Fork:
What is a hard fork?
A hard fork is basically an upgrade, in this case of the Ethereum software, that all nodes on the network will be required to undergo when Constantinople begins. This means that basically a new set of rules are implemented that will need to be followed in order to interact with the new fork of the Ethereum blockchain. Generally, miners will stop adding to the old chain so that transactions on the old fork of the chain will come to a halt and it will more or less die off.
What do I need to do if I have ETH?
If you have ETH then there is nothing that you need to do however full-node operators such as nodes, miners, exchanges and businesses will have to upgrade. It is not expected that the Ethereum Constantinople hard fork will result in the creation of a new coin as was the case during the hard fork that resulted in the creation of Ethereum Classic (ETC) and Ether (ETH).
When will the Ethereum Constantinople hard fork occur?
While it is difficult to say when exactly the hard fork will occur as it’s not so easy to estimate how quickly new blocks will be created, Amberdata has a countdown calculator. If you want to monitor the upgrade you can visit http://forkmon.ethdevops.io/ The update is currently expected to take place on Wednesday the 16th of January but that’s only an estimation and it could happen either earlier or later.
What is the purpose of the upgrade?
The changes are a step towards allowing the network to transition from a Proof-of-Work (PoW) to a Proof-of-Stake (PoS) algorithm. Apart from this, there will be a range of technical changes that will be made including a welcome delay to the so-called difficulty bomb. Perhaps the most controversial aspect of the upgrade are the changes to block rewards, which will see them reduced from 3 ETH to 2 ETH.
Update: The upgrade has been delayed, and according to Coindesk, is going to happen on 17th of January at around 04:00 UTC.
Update: The upgrade has been further delayed due to possible security vulnerabilities associated with the Constantinople hard fork. The issue was announced in a blog post from smart contract audit company, ChainSecurity, and could give hackers the ability to use reentrancy attacks to steal funds from a smart contract on the ethereum network. The new hard fork date and the vulnerability will be discussed on Friday, January 18, as a part of an Ethereum dev call which means that the upgrade will occur next week at the earliest.