Huobi and OKEx Are Prepared to Support Ethereum's Constantinople Hard Fork

  • OKEx and Huobi to manage all technical requirements for ether (ETH) holders related to upcoming Ethereum hard fork.
  • Hard fork to go live at block height 7,080,000 which is expected to mined between Jan 14th and 18th.

Hong Kong-based digital asset exchange OKEx, and Singapore-headquartered crypto exchange Huobi Global will be supporting the upcoming ethereum (ETH) Constantinople hard fork upgrade.

As CryptoGlobe reported in December 2018, Ethereum’s development team said that Constantinople would go live between January 14 and 18. Consisting of five different ethereum improvement proposals (EIPs), the Constantinople update will reduce miner rewards from 3 ETH to 2 ETH, and make other fundamental changes to the network’s codebase - which are aimed at improving the overall efficiency of the Ethereum blockchain.

In a press release shared with Cointelegraph, OKEx’s management team noted that the exchange would be taking a snapshot of all its accounts at block height 7,080,000, the point at which Ethereum’s developers have decided to activate Constantinople. OKEx has asked all its customers to deposit their ETH tokens on the exchange’s trading platform as it will manage the technical requirements for Ethereum’s network upgrade.

Handling All Technical Requirements

Huobi will also support the Constantinople update as the cryptoasset exchange operator has advised its clients to deposit their ETH holdings onto its platform. Similar to OKEx, Huobi’s team will be managing all technical issues related to Ethereum’s hard fork.

As the world’s first smart contract-enabled decentralized application (dApp) development platform, Ethereum’s Constantinople upgrade is aimed at helping it gradually transition from the current proof-of-work (PoW)-based consensus system to a proof-of-stake (PoS)-based network management protocol.

Once the backwards-incompatible Constantinople upgrade has been activated, the Ethereum network’s transaction validating nodes will all have to update synchronically with the cryptocurrency platform’s blockchain. Notably, Ethereum’s core developers are also considering using a new type of proof-of-work (PoW) algorithm called “ProgPoW” which is designed to improve the efficiency of GPU-based mining on the network.

Replacing Ethereum's Current PoW

As a standalone (independent) and system-wide update, programmatic PoW has been designed to prevent ether miners from using specialized mining hardware such as high-end ASICs. This should give all the network’s participants an equal opportunity to mine blocks . During the next bi-weekly meeting (on January 18) between Ethereum’s developers, the team might announce if/when they will be activating ProgPoW.

As CryptoGlobe reported on January 3, Malta-based crypto exchange Binance has announced it will be supporting Ethereum’s Constantinople update. Via an announcement on its official Binance website, the cryptocurrrency exchange stated it will be handling “all technical requirements” related to the hard fork . Although it likely won’t happen, there’s still a possibility that a group of network validators could choose not to support Constantinople. This would result in two separate blockchain networks and coins (after the fork).

No Visible Changes To End Users

If there’s a chain split and/or airdrops are conducted during the hard fork, Binance has requested projects to contact its support team in order to discuss how to manage the process. Presumably, the exchange company might look into whether it’ll list any new tokens created, and how it may safely conduct airdrops

As noted by Ethereum’s core developers, the Constantinople hard fork will not feature many visible changes for end users. It’s reportedly a “maintenance and optimization upgrade” aimed at changing Ethereum’s economic policy while also postponing its difficulty bomb, which will activate its “Ice Age.”

Ethereum’s native token ether (ETH) is up 0.71% in the past 24 hours and is currently trading at $157.52, according to CryptoCompare data. The cryptocurrency’s price has surged over 80% after recording a low of $82 in December 2018.

Bitmex Takes Big Hit as Bitcoin Futures Volume Drops

John Moore

New data provided by cryptocurrency market aggregator CryptoCompare, as part of its latest monthly Exchange Review, reveals that a January decline in Futures trading saw BitMEX’s daily volumes drop away heavily compared to the speculative instruments in general. 

Futures trading claimed 24% ($54.6 billion) of a cryptocurrency trading sector that receded as a whole during January, experiencing a volume drop of around 16% in a fall back from around $268 billion to $223 billion in combined Spot Trading and Futures trading volumes. December’s figures showed Futures holding an increased 28% share of the total ($76.3), buoyed by the rather more animated price action seen at the end of 2018.

Monthly Spot v Future comparison

 

BitMEX seeing a decline

Perhaps the most glaring statistic revealed by the 29 pages of research done by the company, however, is the startling decline of Bitcoin-based Futures business going through the books of the Seychelles-based high-leverage marketplace BitMEX. 

Perhaps due to feeling the bite of recent increased pressure from American authorities, and its subsequent moves to stop US-based traders using its services in breach of US regulations, BitMEX’s total volume for XBTUSD Perpetual Swaps (XBT being BitMEX’s ticker code for Bitcoin, the Swaps its daily settled, never-ending Futures instrument) took a fairly hefty 41% turn southwards during January.

Recent reports in the South China Morning Post cited sources describing US-based customers as something like 15% of BitMEX's user base, and linked the US Securities Exchange Commission's recent action against 1Broker and warning that any Exchange offering its services to US residents as needing to be registered with heightened moves by the platform to shut down accounts operating in breach of its T&Cs, which outlaw American traders.

While the somewhat becalmed nature of the Bitcoin price, which traded in the mid-$3,000 range for the vast majority of January would also have taken its toll on BitMEX's volumes, it seems clear that the precipitous nature of the drop is link to the newly found dilligence in blocking trade from North America. Reports have also, for example, noted that Quebec-based customers are now unable to use the site in the wake of new rules coming in to force there. 

Whatever the reason, that large percentage fall took its daily volume back below the $1 billion dollar mark - to $665 million per day, down from $1.13bn in December. It also meant that BitMEX’s share of the total USD-based Bitcoin Futures market fell below 90%, compared to the 95%+ slice it took back in November. 

The US-legal Chicago Mercantile Exchange (CME) Futures stepped in to claim a bigger share of the reduced pie, showing a trend-bucking monthly increase in daily volume from $66.5 million to $79.9 million. That equated to it taking a 10%+ share of the total USD-based Futures market, the first time it has even come close to that kind of number. 

Daily XBT to USD Volumes

The other US-regulated Futures option, offered by The Chicago Board of Exchange (CBoE), fell back from daily volume of $10.65 in December to just $8.1 million in January. In percentage terms, that drop is less than the 29.9% seen by the USD Futures market as a whole over the month, but leaves CBoE with little more than 1% of the entire market.

The two regulated options - which appear to have picked up at least some of the US-based business lost by BitMEX, despite being very different instruments - now account for combined 11.7% share of the dollar-based Bitcoin Futures market, a marked increase - but still trailing well behind the crypto-centric incumbents, BitMEX and the Japan-based BitFlyer. .  

Indeed, the amount of futures trading by BitMEX is now dwarfed by the XBTJPY volume seen on BitFlyer, which - despite the view of the majority of the Western crypto press, that often characterises BitMEX as the major player in terms of  Futures in the sector - has been easily biggest Exchange for such instruments since CryptoCompare has been publishing its figures. After conversion, its daily volumes still exceeded $1bn during January - though they did recede from the 1.4bn range of December to around the $1.1bn mark.  Regulated Exchanges v Crypto Exchanges

The same sources that explained BitMEX's worries regarding the SEC were keen to point out that Asian traders were still the backbone of its business. However, it appears that the loss of a significant amount of North American trade, coupled with the continued rise in BitFlyer's popularity in the Far East and the ravages of the extended bull market is taking its toll.