The Ethereum Foundation Has Set a New Date for Blockchain Hard Fork

The Ethereum Foundation developers have finally reached consensus on the next hard fork date after failing to establish a deadline on October 31–the date the hard fork was supposed to be officially announced. The team behind the Golang implementation of Ethereum have released the hard fork-ready client software.

Ethereum, the decentralized smart contract and blockchain platform has gone through a rough patch  of late.  After delaying the hard-fork that was supposed to address the recent Distributed Denial of Service (DDoS) attacks, the programmers behind the Golang implementation of the Ethereum protocol (called Geth) have released the version 1.5.0 of the software. The hard fork is set to occur after block number 2,675,000 is mined (in approximately 6 days).

Codename “Let There Be Light”, the update, contains over 8 months of work and includes new features and fixes. More prominent is the inclusion of several Ethereum Improvement Proposals (EIPs) to address the DDoS problem by increasing the cost to perform several computation tasks on the Ethereum Virtual Machine (EVM). In a previous article we talked about the inclusion of EIPs 155, 160, 161 in the planned hard fork update to prevent further spamming of the network.

One of the most pressings matters as of now is the blockchain bloat that Ethereum has suffered. The amount of hard drive space required to store a copy of the blockchain ranges from 12GB to 60GB, depending on whether the user decides to use the fast sync option, which only stores the header of each block.

On November 4th, Vitalik Buterin, creator of Ethereum, proposed a new EIP 170 named “contract code size limit” after realizing that “there remains one slight quadratic vulnerability in ethereum”.  The flaw could result in the use of plenty of computing resources when calling or referencing a smart contract. Buterin said:

The solution is to put a hard cap on the size of an object that can be saved to the blockchain, and do so non-disruptively by setting the cap at a value slightly higher than what is feasible with current gas limits (a pathological worst-case contract can be created with ~23200 bytes using 4.7 million gas, and a normally created contract can go up to ~18 kb).

CodeTract, a startup building smart contracts on the Ethereum network, released a user-friendly website to keep track in real time of the hard fork ETA. The countdown is displayed here.

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