Hudson Jameson, developer relations for the Ethereum Foundation described the ‘mood’ for Ethereum’s further planned upgrade (Constantinople) as ‘Cautious Optimism’. The upgrade is supposed to be activated on January 16. Constantinople is a hard fork upgrade which essentially implies that the update needs to be installed unilaterally throughout nodes in the network to function as intended.
With this approach, a certain amount of inherent risk is involved. As an example, if a particular amount of people do not agree upon the Constantinople upgrade, it could easily split the network. Previously, In the year 2016, soon after the disintegration of DAO led to the formation of two different blockchains namely Ethereum and Ethereum Classic.
The release Manager for the Ethereum client, Afri Schoedon in one of his statements noted that ‘the risk of a chain split is negligible as the top mining pools have welcomed the upgrade with open arms, avoiding a chain split’. According to Afri Scholedon ‘Miners are prepared, and Only miners can split the chain.’
Constantinople is a part of a three-step upgrade called Metropolis. A total of Five EIPs (Ethereum improvement proposals) come together to form the Metropolis. While most of the tweaks concerning the update are not controversial, one aspect has been subjected to some amount of controversies. According to the controversy, the Constantinople is responsible for delaying the ‘difficulty bomb’ which is necessarily an algorithm in Ethereum which makes mining difficult over time. The highly talked about update will will ensure that the difficulty of mining is reduced. However, the rewards given to miners for securing the network will also come down from 3ETH to 2ETH per block.
Although a significant number of mining pools have stood for the change, a few miners showed unhappiness about the same. Mr Pratscher (CEO of Ethermine) remarked that ‘We expect a smooth upgrade without any issues’ Apart from network splits risk, the upgrade might catalyse some more risks like code bugs. In a case of code bug, the algorithm can go awry causing troubles which no one yet knows of. However, the developers of the upgrade claim that such risks are very minimal in Constantinople and in the next weeks testing, all the vulnerabilities in the software (if any)will be rectified.
Hudson further went on to say that We have testing and monitoring software such as our fork monitor and protocol fuzz tester that continuously monitors for issues before, during, and after hard forks and We are very excited to be implementing these changes to the Ethereum protocol. However, we put the safety and stability of the network first and foremost.’
The Constantinople has essentially witnessed five upgrades. These updates include escalations which will allow the developers to make smart contracts and decentralised design convenient. Another such upgrade is EIP 1283 involving ‘net gas metering’. This upgrade is basically focussed on improving Ethereum’s rising gas costs. The Third upgrade is termed as EIP 1014 or Skinny CREATE2 and is responsible for making ways for new scaling solutions like state channels. The final two upgrades in Constantinople EIP 145 and EIP 1052 are essentially responsible for improving the use of smart contract development and for establishing a path for operations within Ethereum’s code.