Constantinople Has Finally Been Conquered

March 4, 2019   Ethereum

Ethereum team informed that the Constantinople upgrade, which took place on February 28, went flawlessly with Geth and Parity, two principal Ethereum clients, remaining in sync with the main network. The hardfork of the mainnet took place at the block height of 7.280.000. 

There were also no reports coming from miners, blockchain entrepreneurs or node operators concerning major issues in the course of the upgrade, except the fact that the Ethereum fork monitoring website crashed just before the upgrade launch, presumably due to a DDoS attack. 

Ethernodes, the Ethereum nodes exploring services, reported that 23.6% of all Geth users have already switched to the Constantinople compliant software - 40.9% of Parity users did the same. The rest of the users chose to stick with the older version of the main network. While the update had already occurred, the developers would still have to elaborate on the post-Constantinople fix-ups.

St.Petersburg, a separate Ethereum upgrade designed to deactivate the EIP-1283 protocol, which has proven to have serious vulnerabilities, the Reentrancy in particular, that caused several postponements of Constantinople launch, has been activated simultaneously with the hardfork.   

The changes brought on by Constantinople

The introduction of Constantinople was to bring a number of essential upgrades to the Ethereum blockchain in order to facilitate the improvement of its performance and tackle the issues related to difficulty bomb and miner rewards. These problems are long overdue since at least two major blockchains, namely EOS and NEM, are superior to Ethereum performance wise.   

The upgrade is also set to address the matter of backward compatibility by disallowing the nodes to perform an update post factum but only simultaneously with the entire Ethereum main network. Should the nodes choose to stay on the old network, they would be forced to operate as separate entities.

Apart from that, the Constantinople update is comprised of five new Ethereum Improvement Protocols (EIPs):

  • EIP 145. Explicitly designed to append Bitwise shifting instructions to the Ethereum Virtual Machine. These new instructions will presumably cut the consumption of gas almost tenfold thus make the execution of smart contracts much more cost-effective. 
  • EIP 1052. Implements a new type of operation that provides for a more expeditious verification of smart contracts called the EXTCODEHASH. It is achieved through the addition of opcode which allows for smart contracts to be verified using only the hash of code, not the code itself.
  • EIP 1283. The SSTORE net gas metering that excludes the use of dirty maps. It lowers the consumption of gas by reducing the cost of updates to the storage slot.
  • EIP 1014. Also called CREATE2. This protocol opens the way for interaction with protocols that haven’t been created yet thereby developing an analog of the Bitcoin Lightning Network.
  • EIP 1234. The protocol that delays the Ethereum Difficulty Bomb by approximately 18 months and reduces the block reward from 3 to 2 ETH per block.

What the future holds for Ethereum

The Constantinople upgrade is designed to mitigate the effects of the future activation of Casper protocol that will make the network switch from the PoW algorithm to the hybrid PoW/PoS consensus algorithm which will render the ETH mining obsolete. 

The next stage of Ethereum blockchain global update known a Serenity is due to happen eight months later, around late October. 


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