This week has not been overly positive for Ethereum enthusiasts. It would appear the promised Constantinople hard fork will be postponed until late February or even early March. Initially, it was planned to go into effect this month. Fixing some lingering flaws and bugs is the smart approach, but it will also leave investors somewhat concerned.
When it Constantinople Coming to Ethereum?
Advancing any cryptocurrency or blockchain project to the next level needs to be done with the utmost care Especially when it comes to network security, no loopholes can be present at any given time. For the Ethereum developers, the independent security audit performed on their Constantinople hard fork yielded unexpected results. A key flaw was identified which needs to be addressed prior to deploying this fork on the main network.
It is somewhat remarkable this issue only came to light this week. Constantinople has been on the testnet for a little while now. Why no one else noticed this glaring issue in the code, remains to be determined. One of the five core Ethereum Improvement Proposals would have potentially caused major problems on the network. Thankfully, it was identified ahead of the expected launch on the main net.
It is also not the first time issues regarding Constantinople arise. The deployment of this fork on the test net was unsuccessful at first. Although that problem was rectified quickly, it seemed to indicate this fork may have been rushed in certain regards. With this vulnerability coming to light, those concerns were only amplified in the process. Postponing the launch on the Ethereum mainnet is the only viable course of action in this regard.
The main question is when the Constantinople upgrade will effectively be introduced. According to the latest information, this well occur at Ethereum network block height 7,280,000. Rough calculations show this will be on either February 27th or 28th, depending on one’s time zone. This gives the developers an additional five and a half weeks to iron out the problems still present and potentially make other minor quality of life improvements.
Seems we're going with block 7.28M for the #Ethereum Constantinople refork scheduled for the 27th of February! Will be a single fork on mainnet and a post-Constantinople-fixup fork on the testnets to get them back in line feature wise with the main network.
— Péter Szilágyi (@peter_szilagyi) January 18, 2019
As part of the revised deployment plan, the vulnerable Ethereum Improvement Protocol will not be included. That particular aspect will be redeployed on the testnet and thoroughly vetted before including it in the next fork. Interestingly enough, the activation of Constantinople will still include this EIP, yet it will be removed through a second upgrade which coincides with the first. A bit of an unusual workaround, but the result is all that matters.
Even though Ethereum has been around for several years now, smart contract-level issues can still occur. This particular vulnerability only confirms that aspect even further. It also shows why it may have been overlooked for some time. The core developers are mainly looking at the development of the Ethereum Virtual Machine. Even so, assigning a team to properly test everything individually could have highlighted this problem well in advance.
Disclaimer: This is not trading or investment advice. The above article is for entertainment and education purposes only. Please do your own research before purchasing or investing into any cryptocurrency.