The date of the next upgrade of the Ethereum (ETH) blockchain, Istanbul, now scheduled for December 7th, has been officially announced today.
As can be read in the official post, this Ethereum upgrade will start with the 9069000th block that is expected to arrive on Saturday, December 7th. Obviously, the date could be postponed by a few days depending on how the network will behave.
How to prepare for Istanbul
To participate in the upgrade all users and miners are invited to update their nodes by December 1st, so as to begin the preparation phase for when Istanbul will go online.
For the moment, more than 20% have already updated their nodes, as can be seen from the image below.
For those who mine ETH, updating the software is crucial, otherwise they will not be able to start the new chain and they will stay on the old one, unable to connect to the blockchain that will remain active, which would result in losing the ability to recover their funds.
Those who operate with the Ethereum asset will not have to do anything: they can continue to use the network as always, without this going to affect their trading activities.
What does this Ethereum upgrade entail?
With the Istanbul upgrade, new EIPs (Ethereum Improvement Proposals) will be implemented, such as:
- EIP 1679, Align the costs of opcodes with their computational costs and improve denial-of-service attack resilience, make layer 2 solutions based on SNARKs and STARKs more performant, Enable Ethereum and Zcash to interoperate, Allow contracts to introduce more creative functions;
- EIP 152, Adds the ability to verify the Equihash PoW within an ethereum contract. This will enable a relay and atomic-swap transactions between Zcash and Ethereum;
- EIP 1108, Makes zk-SNARKs cheaper, allowing for cheaper scaling and privacy applications to be built;
- EIP 1344, Adds a way for contracts to keep track of the Ethereum chain they are on. To be used by contracts, especially those used by layer 2 (state channels, plasma), to follow the correct layer 1 chain, especially during a hard fork;
- EIP 1884, Changes the cost of some EVM opcodes to prevent spamming attacks and to and to balance the amount of computation in each block better. The amount that must be paid for each operation in Ethereum usually matches the computation required for that operation. This change increases the gas costs of opcodes that are computationally intensive but currently cheap, namely SLOAD, BALANCE and EXTCODEHASH;
- EIP 2028, Makes zk-SNARKs and zk-STARKs cheaper by reducing the cost of calling data within transactions. This will make layer 2 solutions able to increase throughput;
- EIP 2200, Changes the cost calculation of storage in the EVM and will enable contracts to introduce new functions including re-entry locks and same-contract multi-send.
This is just one of the first steps that in the future will lead to the ETH 2.0 update that is scheduled for January, which aims to improve and greatly scale Ethereum thanks to Proof of Stake (PoS).