Ethereum developers have marked January 16th, 2019, in next year’s calendar. It is the tentative date in which the network’s hard fork could officially launch. The fork, named Constantinople, was supposed to be active by November 2018, but there were difficulties regarding the test release that postponed the launch.
Ethereum is the world’s premier altcoin, and the second cryptocurrency by market cap; it is behind only Bitcoin. Naturally, the interest about a hard fork has people in the blockchain community on the edge of their seats.
The expected upgrade of the Ethereum blockchain will, supposedly, include design changes that intend to streamline the code and improve performance. It should be noted; however, that despite the January 16th, date being agreed upon via a non-binding verbal pact, it is not set in stone. In fact, according to developers, there could be another delay if other possible problems arise.
As Ethereum’s Core Developer Péter Szilágyi reminded, it does not matter if the platform agrees to set a date, because “we can just say mid-January; we can always postpone.” And it has already happened once.
The “Difficulty Bomb”
Ethereum, through Developer Lane Retting, recently shared the results of conducted research about the “difficulty bomb,” which is an algorithm embedded within the platform’s code that makes blocks significantly harder to mine. People say that the difficulty bomb was “activated” on purpose with the intention of promoting regular updates.
About the matter, Rettig stated that the “difficulty bomb” will be perceptible starting from January, and the development will result in 30-second block times in three or four months. However, Constantinople postpones the difficulty bomb for a year and a half and will also lower the compensation for Ethereum mining from 3 ETH to 2 ETH per block. There will also be several code optimizations scheduled in the upcoming upgrade.
There is also the matter of the ProgPoW update, a development that could potentially change the Ethereum network to brick ASIC miners out, although that was not discussed in the latest announcement. That part (or question,) to this day, remains unanswered by Ethereum, but the likelihood is that developers will not use it because it would imply a major protocol change.
Ethereum Recent Behavior
The current year, 2018, has not been a kind year for Ethereum, at least when it comes to its price behavior. After reaching $1,389.18 on January 14th (in the middle of an all-time surge for most cryptocurrencies,) ETH has been plummeting as have other digital assets in the top 20, including Bitcoin.
Right now, at the moment of this writing, Ethereum is changing hands at $211.67, which would represent a drop of 0.42 percent when compared to the price in the last 24 hours. On the week, though, it has gained around $10, taking into account that it was trading at nearly $200 on November 3rd.
ETH total market cap checks in at $21,824,674,591 with a circulating supply of 103.108.344 ETH. The trading volume in the last 24 hours was $1,538,825,569.
By Andres Chavez