📰NewsThe long-planned, twice-delayed Constantinople network upgrade has successfully activated on the Ethereum main network. The first post-fork block was mined on February 28th, around 8 PM UTC. The upgrade, which was originally scheduled for November of 2018, was delayed once after a bug caused a chainsplit on a test network, and again after a security vulnerability was found in January. The third time, it seems, is indeed the charm! Link.
The upgrade actually represents two hardforks at one blockheight! The first is Constantinople, which includes all the upgrades originally planned for November. The second, called "St. Petersburg", removes the change that was found to be insecure. While this might seem pedantic, it was necessary to bring the testnets back into parity with the mainnet, since they'd already executed the full upgrade earlier this year. Check out this blog post for an approachable summary of the upgrade and the technical changes it brings. Link.
The Ethereum community is justified in breathing a collective sigh of relief. It's great this upgrade has finally gone live. But it's too early to get too excited-- executing the fork was actually the easy part. The bigger risk is a critical bug appearing in the coming weeks or months as the changes the upgrade enables are utilized by developers.
Another important aspect will be the effect of the upgrade on the network's hashrate. You may remember that this upgrade reduced mining rewards from 3 ETH to 2 ETH. How many miners will become unprofitable as a result? What impact will the reduced issuance have on the price? Will a price bump compensate miners for the reduction in Ether rewards, or will we see a decline in hashrate? So far, hashrate and price have both remained relatively stable, but it may take weeks to settle into a new equilibrium.