Ethereum Constantinople hard fork release date set for January 2019

Lizzy Murray

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Last month, an initial test of Ethereum’s Constantinople hard fork uncovered some consensus issues during its testnet deployment. For this reason, the hard fork which was earlier scheduled for this month will apparently launch on the 16th of January 2018.

The new release date was announced on Friday, November 9th during a core developer meeting. The new date is not fixed or final as it was made through a non-verbal agreement. If new issues appear, we could see another delay. Developer Péter Szilágyi explains:

“We can just say mid-January, it doesn’t make difference if we decide on a date or not. We can always postpone,”

The largest Ethereum clients such as Parity and Ethereum Foundation already include Constantinople’s code.

During the meeting, developer Lane Rettig also discussed the “difficulty bomb”. This feature is coded into Ethereum and makes blocks more difficult to mine over time.  By increasing complexity over time, the number of blocks added will also lower. It’s also worth mentioning Ethereum is planning to move from the Proof-of-Work algorithm to Proof-of-Stake in the future.

According to Rettig, the bomb will be visible starting January, so by the spring of 2019 we should have 30-second block times.

“So we have time, there’s no critical concern,”

, said Rettig.

The difficulty bomb will be pushed for another 18 months via the Constantinople update but it will also lower Ethereum’s mining rewards from 3 ETH to 2 ETH.

The last conference also included a discussion regarding the possibility of adding a ProgPow protocol during the Constantinople upgrade. The ProgPow protocol will improve Ethereum’s ASIC resistance. Many are worried that the current use of ASIC specialized mining hardware could centralize mining power.

Nevertheless, the implementation of ProgPow wasn’t discussed during the latest developer meeting. The developers highlighted some problems related to the implementation mentioning that a formal specification for the code is still unfinished.

Developer Péter Szilágyi recommended that all the software upgrades implementing the Constantinople hard fork should be released before the end of 2018. He said:

“All clients should release a stable version with the baked in block number before Christmas,”

Afri Shoedon, another core developer, tweeted that we should see confirmation for the final block number for the Constantinople update on Black Friday: