Ethereum’s “Istanbul” Hard Fork Is Being Activated on Testnet in October

Siamak Masnavi

On Friday (September 6), Hudson Jameson, Community Manager at Ethereum Foundation, confirmed that the "Istanbul" hard fork is expected to be activated on testnet Ropsten on or around 2 October 2019.

Ethereum's core developers finalized the list of Ethereum Improvement Proposals (EIPs) at an "All Core Devs Meeting" (which is a "a technical meeting intended to bring together various Ethereum teams who play major roles in determining the direction of the protocol") held on 15 August 2019.

As per previous meetings of the group, which comprises a diverse set of Ethereum stakeholders, the plan is for Istanbul to be executed in two phases:

  • phase 1:  this consists of six EIPs; estimated to go live on the Ethereum mainnet in October;
  • phase 2: this consists of those EIPs, such as the proposal to make Ethereum more ASIC-resistant by moving to a Programmatic Proof-of-Work (ProgPOW) consensus algorithm, that need "further testing and deliberation from core developers."

At the August 15 meeting, Péter Szilágyi, the core developer who is the team leader at Ethereum Foundation, had said that activation of Istanbul phase one on Ethereum testnet Ropsten, which some people wanted to happen on September 4, may need to be moved further out in the future to give the teams working on Ethereum clients (such as Parity) sufficient time to test their implementation of the agreed six EIPs before the these changes are rolled out to the testnet.

Well, yesterday, his prediction came true.

According to a report by Coindesk's Christine Kim, during yesterday's core devs meeting, Jameson, who is also the Co-Founder, COO, and Blockchain Lead at Oaken Innovations, had this to say about the activation date for Istanbul phase one:

For anyone listening in who doesn’t know how this works, we pick a block number that we estimate to be around the 2nd of October. However, that might be one or two days behind or forward from that date based on how fast blocks are produced between now and then.

As for activation on the Ethereum mainnet, the expected date for this is now sometime in November (following the Devcon 5 conference, which is being held October 8–11 in Osaka, Japan):

E.G. Galano,Co-Founder and Chief Infrastructure Engineer of Infura, reportedly said during the meeting that it makes more sense to choose the mainnet activation date at some later point in the future:

One of the lessons learned in the [previous] Byzantium fork last year is that we shouldn’t try to set the testnet and mainnet fork at the same time. Let’s start with setting the testnet fork and see how that goes and find a period of stability before revisiting when to set the mainnet fork.

 

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