Ethereum (ETH) Successfully Completes Constantinople Hard Fork

This time, the upgrade happened as scheduled, decreasing mining difficulty and rewards.

Ethereum (ETH) successfully implemented all proposed improvements during the Constantinople hard fork, which was achieved at block height 7,800,000. The effects of mostly invisible, except for the upgrade on mining.

Based on Ethereum Improvement Proposal (EIP) 1234, the block reward has already fallen to 2 ETH from 3 ETH previously, which will likely affect mining activity. Additionally, the difficulty time bomb saw another 12-month delay. The drop in the reward and the increased difficulty have led to around 25% loss of hashing power on the Ethereum network since the end of January.

Several other EIPs were implemented, including EIP 145 (for cheaper bitwise operations), EIP 1014 (offering scalability through off-chain transactions), and EIP 1052 (optimizing large-scale code executions for smart contracts).

EIP 1283, which targets optimized gas use for smart contracts, has been delayed for now. The reason for the removal of this proposal was the discovery of a critical bug, which also led to the delay in Constantinople from the initial deadline of January 16.

The news of the successful upgrade had little impact on ETH market prices, which remained relatively stagnant at $137.44 as of 9:30 UTC on Friday. Trading volumes over 24 hours exceeded $4.2 billion, reflecting the growing importance of the asset as a base currency in multiple trading pairs. ETH pairs habitually account for more than 15% of all digital asset trading.

The hard fork does not affect the typical user experience for the most widely distributed ETH wallet, MyEtherWallet. ETH remains one of the most liquid assets, and the network is among the most active ones although distributed app (dApp) users are still too few. The leading Ethereum dApps are distributed exchanges since some of the oldest viable decentralized markets were built on the network and have a steady inflow of users for the speculative trading of multiple tokens.

Smart contract vulnerabilities are one of the most pressing issues for the Ethereum network, leading to irreversible losses or exploits.

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