Ethereum 2.0: Tomorrow is the Istanbul upgrade – what changes?

For Ethereum users, Christmas seems to come a little earlier. The blockchain of the second largest cryptocurrency will receive the so-called “Istanbul” hard-fork tomorrow – one of the most significant blockchain upgrades for the network.

According to Etherscan, an Ethereum-centric data and information platform, Istanbul will be activated on block 9069000, which will take about 21 hours to publish.

 

Ethereum, Istanbul – what is it?

Tomorrow will be Istanbul. The upgrade will implement six “Ethereum Improvement Proposals” (EIPs), selected from a pool of more than 30 candidates. Here is a list of EIPs and a brief summary of their contents:

  • EIP 1679: An EIP listing the protocol changes that will be incorporated into Istanbul. That’s all.
  • EIP-2200: This EIP will change the calculation of data storage costs in the Ethereum virtual machine and allow Smart Contracts to perform more functions.
  • EIP-1884: This EIP will change the transaction costs of some EVM opcodes “to prevent spam attacks and better balance the calculation in each block”.
  • EIP-2028: This EIP will make it possible to deploy Zero Knowledge SNARKs and STARKs more cost-effectively on the Ethereum Blockchain, reducing the cost of “calling data within the outputs”.
  • EIP-1344: This EIP will “give the contracts a chance to keep track of the ethereum chain they are in”.
  • EIP-1108: This EIP will make Zero Knowledge SNARKs cheaper and enable lower-cost scaling and privacy technologies.
  • EIP-152: Adds the ability to review the Equihash PoW within an Ethereum contract. This will enable relay and atomic swap transactions between Zcash and Ethereum. “

 

Not ready … or is it?

Although the upgrade is fast approaching, not all node runners of the network seem to be ready. According to Ethernodes.org, only 48% of the nodes with the most popular Geth client are ready to take over Istanbul, while the 40% with Parity are ready to upgrade.

Due to the lack of nodes with updated software, the Ethereum community has asked Node operators to update their clients to avoid consensus problems. As stated in a blog post by the Ethereum Foundation:

    “If you are using an Ethereum client that has not been upgraded to the latest version (see above), your client will be synchronized with the pre-fork blockchain when the upgrade is performed. They will be trapped in an incompatible chain according to the old rules and will not be able to send ETH or work in the post-upgrade network. “

Importantly, there will not be any consensus when activating Istanbul as long as all companies dealing with Ethereum (exchanges, DeFi operators, etc.) and miners / other maintainers of the network do not update their nodes before activating Istanbul.