The announcement was made on November 20th by Hudson Jameson, who warned that the date might change. In October the developers of the Ethereum network had agreed to activate the upgrade on December 4th.

It was reported that the already delayed Istanbul upgrade of the Ethereum network now has a new tentative activation date. The developer Hudson Jameson of the Ethereum Foundation stated on Wednesday, November 20th, that the process would take place on Saturday, December 7th, but that that date might change due to the variable block times and the time zones.

The programmer also estimated that the change would be implemented at the height of block 9,069,000, so he urged node operators to upgrade their equipment before December 1st in order to prevent any inconvenience.

Jameson announced that the Ethereum network will undergo the upgrade on the scheduled date. However, the developer warned that the exact date is still subject to change due to unpredictable factors. For that reason, he insisted on the need that users upgrade their nodes before December.

Node operators or ETH miners need to upgrade to the latest version of the Ethereum client, which includes Geth (v1.9.7), Parity (v2.5.10-stable), Besu (v1.3.4), Nethermind (v1.1.8), EthereumJS (v4.0.2), Trinity (v0.1.0-alpha.30) and Aleth (v1.7.1). It was also reported that the Harmony client (EthereumJ) will not offer support to Istanbul.

A few days before the activation, it is estimated that 27% of the node operators have already upgraded their clients, while the remaining 73% have not yet done it, according to real-time statistics handled by ether nodes.

Delays and Tests

Last October the developers of the Ethereum network had agreed that the tentative date to activate the upgrade would be December 4th, but the day set for the change was delayed again without specific reasons. As it is a three-day delay, the elements that would have led to the decision may not be serious, considering that on the previous date for the upgrade it was estimated that the process would occur at the height of block 9,056,000.

It should be remembered that last February Ethereum activated the Constantinople and St. Petersburg upgrades after two failed attempts. With this antecedent, the programmers would be seeking to ensure that the activation is conducted without inconvenience.

Istanbul has already been tested in four testnets (Görli, Rinkeby, Kovan, and Ropsten) before its coming exit to the mainnet. Last September, during the tests in Ropsten, the upgrade was advanced and caused a fork in the network.

There is a total of six improvements that will be presented by the network in this first phase of the upgrade and were described as EIP-152 (the pre-compilation Blake2 F compression function was added), EIP-1108 (to reduce precompilation GAS costs alt_bn128), EIP-1344 (a ChainID operation code was added), EIP-1884 (price change for trie-size-dependent operation codes), EIP-2028 (reduction of GAS costs for calldata) and EIP-2200 (to balance the cost of SSTORE gas).

Users should be patient and take the necessary precautions before the Istanbul upgrade of Ethereum occurs. As the event is expected to occur without any inconvenience, it is worth waiting.

By Willmen Blanco


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