Ethereum Constantinople Everything You Need To Know

Edit: Ethereum Constantinople has been delayed out of an abundance of caution. Learn more about it here:

The Ethereum Constantinople fork is coming soon, and many of you have been asking what that means and if you’ll have to do anything to prepare.

TL;DR: If you’re simply an owner of ETH, you do not need to do anything to prepare for this update.

What is a fork?

Most simply, a fork is an update to the network. It is very similar to how you update your computer or your applications to be more secure or have new features. Have you ever tried to open a Word document or other file and it looked all wonky because it was created in a newer version of Word? Perhaps comments were lost or displayed in a weird font? A hard fork is similar to that. If people are running the old software and the new software and try to talk to each other, things may be missing or get wonky. This is because the blockchain is decentralized and running on a ton of computers simultaneously. Instead of emailing that Word document from one person to another, everyone can access the most up-to-date “Word document” (aka the blockchain) simultaneously. So, to make sure things don’t get wonky, everyone running a the blockchain software (aka a “node”) must update. That way everyone has the same new features and security features and is playing by the same rules.

Why is it called a fork?

It’s referred to as a fork because, similar to a fork in the road, a single chain of blocks splits into two chains separate of blocks. One path, or chain, is the people playing by the old rules. The second chain the people playing by the new rules. With non-contentious hard-forks, most people stop running the old software. No one adds new blocks to that chain. The chain naturally slows and then dies. There is no value to the coins on the old chain. However, if an update fork is contentious (meaning there are people who don’t agree with the changes being made), both “paths” of the fork may continue to live and have value. This is how ETC was spawned from ETH and BCH from BTC.

What is Constantinople?

Constantinople is simply a name given to this update to the Ethereum network. The updates (below) are non-contentious and it is expected that everyone is in agreement on taking the Ethereum blockchain on this new path. As a result, like the non-contentious updates that have come before (Homestead in 2016 and Byzantium in 2017), this hard fork will result in two chains with the old chain dying almost immediately. Also, like the updates that have come before, the average person will not notice any changes or that there was a fork in the road. This new ETH blockchain includes a handful of new Ethereum Improvement Proposal (EIP) implementations that are all intended to… improve Ethereum.

Do I have to do anything with this new blockchain, or move my ETH?

No. Your ETH will exist simultaneously on the new ETH blockchain and the old ETH blockchain. All of the exchanges (Coinbase, Kraken, ShapeShift), services ( MyCrypto , MetaMask, Trust Wallet), and node providers ( Infura , Etherscan , Quiknode ) will update their nodes so you will simply use the updated nodes / software without even noticing. If you run a node (e.g. you work for Infura or are running Geth or Parity on your home computer), you will need to update to the latest and greatest software. Again, for average users, you will not need to do anything & this will be a painless and smooth transition. If the hard fork was contentious, that would be a different story.

Which EIPs are being included?

EIP 145: Bitwise shifting instructions in EVM

EIP 1014: Skinny CREATE2

EIP 1052: EXTCODEHASH opcode

EIP 1283: Net gas metering for SSTORE without dirty maps

EIP 1234: Constantinople Difficulty Bomb Delay and Block Reward Adjustment

Here’s a short video that describes 4 of the 5 EIP updates

Will this affect transaction/confirmation time?

Will this affect cost of transaction?

Will this affect the number of transactions per second?

Is this the Proof of Stake update?