The long-awaited Constantinople upgrade of Ethereum has been scheduled to arrive at block #7080000. Several hours before the upgrade was about to happen, the Core Developers issued another postpone because of the potential security vulnerability which was related to one component of it. There was no public announcement for the forks.
As a token holder, nothing has to be done, both for the upgrade and for the delay too. Fun node operators that already upgraded are going to need to upgrade once again to an emergency version of the Ethereum software client or downgrade to the version of previously.
There was no new announcement date made public for the fork. However, then appears the question, if this is a decentralized network, who has the right to decide on a delay?
Ever since blockchain became a reality, there were the so-called hard forks. Sometimes, because of vulnerability found in the code, and other times as a result of an unfinished disagreement among stakeholders on progress updates, and even occasionally, because of a planned upgrade.
What are forks?
We are sure that you know they are not utensils used for eating, or for gathering hay. When it comes to this regard, a fork is a change in code for a blockchain. You should think of it similar to an upgrade on your Microsoft Office application.
Forks exist in two types, and they are hard and soft forks. In a nutshell, hard forks are defined as the upgrades to the blockchain code which are not backward compatible, and as such, the nodes which have not to upgrade are not going to have the ability to validate the blocks which are created by the upgraded nodes.
On the other hand, a soft fork is defined as a backward compatible upgrade to the code which accepts blocks from the update, as well as non-upgraded nodes. Whichever nodes reach majority, upgraded versus non-upgraded, is going to result in the change sticking or getting washed away.
These forks are not be confused with the software forks where a new product is actually created by taking original code and then adjusting it like it was the case with the creation of Litecoin from the code of Bitcoin.
When it comes to the Ethereum Constantinople Upgrade, we talk about a hard fork.
Some notable forks from the past
Over the past several years, there were notable hard forks that resulted in a complete split in a coin, because there was not a clear enough majority of upgraded vs. non-upgraded ones.
August 2017 – BCH: Following the integration of the Controversial SegWit feature on the Bitcoin Chain, Bitcoin Cash or BCH was the child of this, and it continues until today with quite a strong following. Since those times, there were 44 other forks, most of them resulting in unwell adopted coins which venished.
In June 2016, 3.6 mil Ether was stolen from accounts in The Dao, exploiting one of the vulnerabilities which were raised regarding the Ethereum or ETH network in May during the same year. After this, there was an intense debate from the DAO and ETG communities regarding how to resolve the theft of funds. There was a hard fork decided upon, which permitted a rollback to happen and the stolen assets to be relocated back into the original accounts of the owners. One portion of the community rejected the fork on the premise that blockchain cannot be changed and they also decided to keep the original blockchain version which resulted in Ethereum Classic or ETC.
Late 2018 – ETH: This fork was initially planned for the late part of 2018, but it was called off by the ETH development team because of the problems encouraged in the Robsten Testnet hard fork, resulting in a 3-way fork. In this year, a new Testnet fork has been scheduled for the 9th of January on the Rinkeby Testnet. According to one announcement, a successful split happened. Just several hours before the fork has been meant to happen, the Ethereum Core Developers have put in yet another delay.
The Constantinople hard fork has been scheduled to happen at block #7080000 estimated to occur around the 16th and 17th of January, but with the delay, there is no exact replacement block number or even date. The upgrade is going to consist of five main implementations of new code adjustments which are otherwise known as EIPs or Ethereum Improvement Protocols.
What has to be done?
The most notably impacted are going to be some exchanges such as Binance, Coinbase, Kraken, and so on, and they were needing to update their nodes and other crypto related services like Trust Wallet, MetaMask and Etherscan.
In essence, any full node operator will have to upgrade the software to the latest version. But, because of the delay, they are not going to do one more upgrade to emergency versions of their software clients or demote to the version from previously.
Saying that the beginners at ETH are not going to be required to do anything in preparation for the fork, and there is nothing needed now at the time of the delay. Additionally, when the upgrade happens, it is probably not going to have any noticeable affects post implementation of the hard fork. Often, a high price fluctuation during changes appears, so they have to pay more attention.
In fact, there is still no new date announced for this fork to be rescheduled to. As we already said, forks are not always wrong, and a lot of people would argue they are needed to progress blockchain technology into the new era.
When taking into consideration, it is a simple upgrade of software, so it is probably a natural occurrence for any related software network. Actually, a lot of users are excited to see how this new upgrade is going to increase the overall functionality of the Ethereum network, covering the way for future improvements, as well as implementations of this technology throughout some other industries.