The developers believe that the activation of Istanbul on the testnet should be postponed. The Istanbul update aims to improve interoperability between chains and security.
On August 15th, the main Ethereum developers made a list of six different changes to the Ethereum code that will be activated for the next extended system update, Istanbul.
In previous meetings it was agreed that Istanbul will be executed in two parts. The first, which comprises the six code changes known as Ethereum Improvement Proposals (EIP), is expected to be implemented on the main network in October 2019.
The second, whose activation on the main network is scheduled for some time in the first quarter of 2020, will include several EIPs that require further testing and deliberation by the main developers. These include a proposal for changes in the proposed mining algorithm called “ProgPow.”
The main developer Péter Szilágyi said that the Istanbul fork was divided in two parts, one of which can be sent in weeks. The other has two really large EIPs that would be great to have, but they require more things than can be done within the two to three weeks’ time period.
The first part of Istanbul will be the eighth hard fork to be activated in the Ethereum blockchain network, valued at USD 22 billion. It is expected that it will boost interoperability between chains with the private currency Zcash and help provide the entire network with security against repeated attacks, as well as other efficiency improvements.
Last Istanbul’s Obstacle
The first scheduled date for the activation of Istanbul in the Ethereum Ropsten test network was August 14th. Regarding this, Szilágyi said during the call on the 15th that this date should be be postponed for two weeks to allow time to complete the list of EIPs that will enter the first part of Istanbul.
As the main developers have just agreed upon the list, Szilágyi recommended reconsidering and postponing again the activation of the hard fork in Ropsten, scheduled for September 4th. He said that, after Ethereum customers implemented previous hard fork, they had months of testing before implementing it on the test network. Ethereum has reached a final list of EIPs and they plan to fork within two weeks.
Other leading developers agreed with this position and decided that the activation of the test network (at a number of blocks to be determined) will have to wait until this week’s call.
The activation on the test network of the first part of Istanbul would be the last important milestone before the main network is activated. As with any fork, miners must upgrade to the latest software simultaneously or there is a risk of causing a block split on the chain.
Referring to the importance of launches for hard fork upgrades, Hudson Jameson, Ethereum Foundation community manager, said that network security and stability are primary concerns when making hard forks on the main network. Consequently, the release of the test network is vital to ensure that the activation on the main network works correctly.
Likewise, Jameson said that, despite postponing the activation of the first part of Istanbul on the test network, all Ethereum’s main developers want it to occur soon.
By Willmen Blanco