🏰 Constantinople Cometh — Issue No. 19

🗞 News

The Ethereum Core Dev team voted unanimously this week to execute the Constantinople hardfork on the Ropsten testnet. The anticipated date of the testnet fork, based on the chosen block height, is October 9th. A date for deployment on mainnet is TBD, but it is considered imminent if all goes well on the testnet. Link.

The most controversial change in this hardfork is also the least technically interesting: the reduction of miners' block rewards from 3 ETH to 2 ETH. The goals of the reduction are to cut back on "wasted" energy and decrease inflation (therefore helping support ETH price). Link.

The hardfork also contains a number of new low level instructions in the EVM that implement new operations, or make existing ones cheaper in gas fees. For example, EIP-1052 details an opcode which allows one contract to verify the contents of another contract in a low-fee manner. A DEX contract could use this, for example, to ensure an ERC-20 token conformed to one of a known set of audited implementations. Link.

One more interesting new opcode is CREATE2, as detailed in EIP-1014. This opcode allows the creation of contract addresses that are predictable before they actually exist on the chain, but are guaranteed to, if they ever do exist, have been created with known initialization code. This guarantee is important for would-be Layer 2 scaling solutions, like state channels. Link.

I've said it before, but it bears repeating: this hardfork epitomizes the ways in which Ethereum's community and governance differ from Bitcoin's. I say this without judgement one way or the other-- it's simply an observation of reality.

First, the hardfork changes the monetary policy. I can't overstate the degree to which such a change is a complete non-starter in the Bitcoin world. Secondly, the update introduces several new opcodes, including those aimed at facilitating Layer 2 scaling. Several such opcodes have been proposed for Bitcoin over the years, to make sidechains more feasible, for example, but none have yet been accepted. Bitcoin's slow and cautious approach stands in stark contrast to the embrace of any-and-all possible scaling solutions being pursued by Ethereum devs.

🔮 Blog

A Striking Exchange From The Ethereum Core Dev Discussion Of Block Rewards. From the archives, this post explores possible second order effects of decreasing miner rewards, and my skepticism that those are being adequately accounted for. Link.

📊 Statistics

54% of transactions on the Bitcoin network on October 4th, 2018, were SegWit transactions. This marked the first day in the networks history where the majority of transactions were SegWit enabled. Overall, the rolling average from the last week continues to rise, and currently sits around 46%. Link.