Ethereum's Constantinople Hard Fork Upgrade Delayed Until Early 2019

  • Ethereum's hard fork upgrade, Constantinople, has been postponed until at least end of January 2019.
  • Issues related to Ethereum community members not using the latest versions of Ethereum's clients (Parity and Geth) have been cited as being partly responsible for delay.

Ethereum’s (ETH) core developers have all agreed to postpone the planned hard fork of the blockchain-based smart contract platform until January of 2019. The developers made this decision on Friday, October 19.

As CryptoGlobe covered in mid-September, Ethereum’s hard fork (backwards incompatible upgrade), referred to as Constantinople, had been tentatively scheduled for November of 2019.

Hard Fork Transition Fails On Testnet

After testing the hard fork on Ethereum’s public testnet, Ropsten, on October 13, which allows developers to check whether smart contracts and other upgrades are bug-free before launching on mainnet, the platform’s developers have agreed not to do the upgrade until early next year.

The meeting, which has been recorded and published on YouTube, involved Ethereum’s developers openly discussing the current challenges the platform is facing - with one developer noting that it might be more “politically” correct to refer to Constantinople as an update, instead of a hard fork.

The decision to delay the upgrade came after a number of issues were encountered when testing its codebase on Ropsten. According to Ethereum’s development team, the fork experienced problems at block number 4,299,999 - right before its planned activation at block number 4,230,000.

After stalling at 4,299,999 for about 2 hours, miners participating on the testnet failed to activate the transition. Alfri Schoeden, an Ethereum client developer, revealed the failed activation may be attributed to “a consensus issue” - which led to what he described as a “three-way fork” between two Ethereum clients: Parity and Geth.

Not Enough Time To Upgrade

Schoeden, who had prepared the agenda for the virtual meeting, noted that “recently added hashpower caused reduced blocktimes and caused this hardfork to happen much earlier than expected on a Saturday.” He added that this was “by all means the worst time for a hardfork.” 

According to Schoeden, the timing of certain events - which occurred in close proximity to each other - might have caused the hard fork to fail on he testnet. He explained that the fork attempt had been initiated only six days after the launch of the latest version of the Geth client, and only 1 day after Parity’s.

This, he suggested users weren't given enough time to install the required upgrades, while there was also a “consensus” issue found in Parity’s latest version - based on results from the “post-mortem” report which may be accessed from the “Fellowship of Ethereum Magicians” website.

"Not A Single" Miner On Constantinople Chain

Furthermore, Schoeden pointed out that “not a single” miner had been mining on the Constantinople chain, which led to the two-hour delay before block 4,230,000 could be processed. Other issues noted during the meeting were that the Ethereum community does not have a reliable tool yet to effectively monitor hard forks launched on testnets. Ethereum client Parity has a website that tracks stats, however, Schoeden said it “does not reveal details about the different chains.”

Meanwhile, Ethereum developer, Hudson Jameson, liked an idea suggested by another developer - which is to “regularly spawn and mine temporary testnets to test transition into Constantinople.” This, Jameson thinks would allow for issues to be detected on a “baby’ testnet so that “if something goes wrong we’ll know it pretty quickly.”

As covered, the following interdependent ethereum improvement proposals (EIPs) have been planned to go into effect with Constantinople:

  • EIP 145 - more cost-effective and efficient approaching to processing information
  • EIP 1014: better approach to accommodating network scaling solutions such as off-chain transactions
  • EIP 1052 - an improvement on how contracts are processed
  • EIP1234 - 12-month delay of difficulty bomb; reduce mining rewards from 3 ETH to 2 ETH
  • EIP 1283 - a better way to monetize data storage changes (made by smart contract programmers)

Also as covered, Ethereum co-founder Vitalik Buterin delivered an Ethereum history lesson and recapped the details related to its ongoing development in mid-August through 75 different tweets.

Switzerland's Telecom Giant Brings Blockchain-based Artwork to Mainstream TV

Swisscom AG, one of the largest telecommunications providers in Switzerland, has introduced a new approach to using non-fungible tokens (NFTs).

Swisscom AG’s latest Ethereum blockchain-based, ERC-721 smart contract-enabled product, called Noow, will reportedly be used to showcase and certify artwork and only the owners and creators of the artwork will know how many pieces have been distributed. The digital certificates of authenticity, issued through smart contracts, will be easily transferable between buyers and sellers.

Independently Distributing and Financing Artwork

The Noow app has been developed by Dloop AG, a Zug, Crypto Valley-based firm which was initially launched through Kickbox, Swisscom’s accelerator and project incubator.

According to local news outlet Greater Zurich Areas, Dloop AG’s app allows artists to independently distribute and finance their digital artwork. The distributed ledger technology (DLT)-powered Noow app will be integrated into Swisscom TV, in order to introduce digital artwork to mainstream TV viewers.

As detailed by local sources, the digital art will be featured on screens located in Switzerland-based business offices, upscale restaurants, and hotel lobbies. The “changing sequences or animations” of the digital art pieces “create a unique ambience,” local news outlets explained. However, this type of artwork has not always been properly protected from being used without the consent of their creator or owner.

“Guaranteeing Ownership Rights for Buyers and Payment for Artists”

In order to prevent the digital art pieces from being used illegally, or without the permission of their owner, the copyright protection information will now be managed using Noow app’s blockchain-enabled solution which has been designed to “guarantee the ownership rights for buyers and payment for artists.”

As mentioned in a press release, published on Swisscom’s official website (on May 22, 2019), Noow will be available (starting May 23) as an app “exclusively on Swisscom TV (UHD-ready TV-Box from Swisscom).” The new DLT-powered app will include “100 works by 30 international artists” which will be selected by curator Stefanie Marlene Wenger.

Commenting on the initiative, the release noted:

This is about more than creating a virtual gallery; the next step will be to include curated exhibitions on the platform and a close collaboration with galleries.

Currently, Swisscom TV features more than 300 channels, which includes a large selection of films, sports and drama series and various on-demand shows. Swisscom TV also offers its customers different apps, which now includes the Noow app - allowing users to enjoy a wide selection of artwork from their living room.