Geth, which is the standalone client version (with a command line interface) of Go Ethereum (one of the three original implementations of the Ethereum protocol), has already been updated (v1.18.20) such that it supports the changes needed for the Constantinople upgrade (hard fork) planned by Ethereum core developers to take place in January 2019.

Back in October, Ari Paul, the Chief Investment Officer at cryptoasset investment firm BlockTower Capital, explained via a series of tweets the important distinction in cryptocurrency networks between the “cryptographic protocol”, the “consensus rules”, and the “client implementation”:

He then pointed out that for Ethereum, the situation is “somewhat similar, but there’s less of a clear canonical implementation,” even though Geth is currently the most popular client. The other two main Ethereum clients are “Parity Ethereum” and Aleth.

Ethereum’s Constantinople upgrade, one of the effects of which will be to reduce the mining reward per block from 3 ETH to 2 ETH, was originally set to take place in November. However, since the upgrade in October on the Ropsten testnet did not go so well, the core developers decided to postpone the activation of the Constantinople code changes on the mainnet to sometime in January 2019.

Last Friday, the 7th of December, during a core developers meeting, it was agreed that the activation point for Constantinople would be block 7,080,000 on the Ethereum blockchain, with the update going live once this block has been mined. According to Afri Schoedon, the release manager for Partity Ethereum, this upgrade is expected to take place between January 14th and 18th.

The Geth developers call their latest release on GitHub, v1.18.20, which occurred on Tuesday (December 11th), “a bit of a special release.” 

“On one hand it's the release that finally enables the Constantinople hard fork on mainnet at block 7080000 (and Rinkeby at block 3660663). It's also our last planned release of the 1.8 family (we'll still do hotfixes if need be), meaning that we'll start merging backwards incompatible changes onto master in preparation of Geth 1.9.0 (we don't have an ETA for it, but January the earliest).”


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