Why Constantinople is important today
By the end of February –more exactly, on the 28th when the block number 7,280,000 of the chain is predicted to occur– Ethereum will have its long-awaited and delayed hard fork called Constantinople. While this upgrade won’t affect at all to the majority of the network’s users, and by this, I mean the ether holders — anyone with ETH on his crypto wallet– there is some essential information for anyone interested in the second largest blockchain network in the World.
OK… and a hard fork is…?
Let’s start by establishing this concept. A hard fork is utterly an update of the blockchain’s protocol, BUT without any backward compatibility. All new blocks on the chain will be based on these new rules. Since Constantinople it’s a non-contentious hard fork, outdated nodes will disappear very soon and with them, any old blocks; this means, in no time the whole network will be running the new version without any dilemma as long as the miners and node operators update their software. If you are in this group, and you haven’t updated your software, you can find a lot of resources here.
Why Ethereum needed this update?
Constantinople is the second phase of Metropolis, the Ethereum update project. The first phase, Byzantium, took place last October without any major trouble. In summary, the main goal is to improve the network’s capacity and make cheaper its overall operation (mining), due to the migration from Proof-of-Work (PoW) to Proof-of-Stake (PoS).
All modifications or new implementations for Ethereum are specified in EIPs — Ethereum Improvement Proposals–. Constantinople includes four EIPs, mainly centered on making cheaper — in other words, less gas needed– the operation of the chain. In case you want to go deeper on this, you can find more here.
So, what’s the big deal?
Ethereum will be undergoing –if everything goes as planned so far– next February 28th, and will take around 2–4 hrs to stabilize the chain again. This will affect all trades for ETH, of course, but also for MANA, GNT, BAT, TUSD, and any other ERC-20 based tokens. You can find a countdown timer and a real-time monitor, to prepare your self for the event — or simply join the party after all this doesn’t happen every day.