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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Ethereum Search Interest Hits Near Three-Year Low as Price Struggles to Hit $150

Francisco Memoria

Search interest for the cryptocurrency space’s number one altcoin, Ethereum, has dropped to a near three-year low as Google searches for ETH are below their early 2017 levels.

According to data from Google Trends, search interest for the keyword “Ethereum” is now at 6 out of 100, as it has maintained a steady decline from the 100 registered in December of 2017, shortly before ether hit a new all-time high of about $1,400.

Search interest for ethereum in last 5 yearsSource: Google Trends

The data shows that in July of this year the cryptocurrency had a spike in search interest to 30 out of 100, but it kept on declining since. The search interest rise in July coincided with the launch of the Grayscale Ethereum Trust (ETHE) on over-the-counter (OTC) markets, allowing retail investors to buy ETHE Shares and gain exposure to the cryptocurrency ecosystem through it.

At the time, a mysterious whale bought around 20,000 ether tokens, worth $4.3 million, on leading crypto exchange Binance. At the end of June, Ethereum’s daily transactions managed to surpass one million, reaching a 13-month high as interest was peaking. Now, total daily transactions on the ETH blockchain average 600,000-700,000.

Google’s data shows the regions that maintain a large interest in Ethereum include China, Gibraltar, and Kosovo. Search interest has been relevant in the cryptocurrency space as it’s widely believed it may help indicate future price performance.

A study conducted by search engine marketing firm SEMRush found, back in 2017, that bitcoin’s price had a 91% correlation with crypto search interest on Google at the time. It’s worth noting the study may not apply now, or to other cryptocurrencies.

While bitcoin’s price has grown exponentially since the December 2018 low of $3,200, ether’s price performance has been lacking in comparison. The number one altcoin saw its price drop to a $90 low late last year, and manage to recover to a $300 high in July – when search interest for it peaked this year – but has since been dropping.

ETH is currently trading at $145.3, as it’s price has still risen little over 60% so far this year.

Ethereum price in past 12 monthsSource: CryptoCompare

Google searches for the privacy-centric Brave browser, which rewards users for viewing ads in its Basic Attention Token (BAT) surged last month after the release of its 1.0 version. Brave notably rewards users in BAT, an ERC-20 token transacted on the Ethereum blockchain.

Featured image via Pexels.