Max’s Corner 5: Hard Fork Special
Originally published on: CoinSpeaker
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March 05, 2019
Here we will give you an in-depth look at the Constantinople / St. Petersburg hard fork and what caused it, Tron’s Odyssey 3.5 fork, and fill you in on what you can expect from Bytecoin’s own upcoming hard fork.
Constantinople and St. Petersburg Hard Forks Take Place Without a Hitch
The story that has garnered the most headlines this past week is that Ethereum has finally completed its Constantinople Hard Fork, which was originally scheduled to take place in November of last year. The hard fork was delayed twice.
The first delay that pushed it from November all the way into this year was due to network bugs and the second, which moved it from January to March of this year, occurred after ChainSecurity, a security audit company, discovered that code featured in the upgrade was not secure. Had the fork gone through in January, it would have been possible for hackers to exploit vulnerabilities in the code to get ahold of user funds.
To understand why the hard fork was originally necessary, you have to look at the way Ethereum developers structured its path of growth. Ethereum scheduled the Constantinople hard fork long ago as part of its trajectory of development. The Ethereum roadmap originally featured four stages of development:
- Frontier Stage – this was the original state of Ethereum when it was first released.
- Homestead Stage – Ethereum subsequently moved into Homestead with upgrades across the platform that increased stability and laid a foundation that would enable future expansion.
- Metropolis Stage – Ethereum is currently in its Metropolis Stage. By gradually improving the scalability and speed of the platform, this stage is supposed to pave the way for the metamorphosis of Ethereum from a Proof-of-Work (PoW) platform to a Proof-of-Stake (PoS) platform. Additionally, the Metropolis Stage has been subdivided into three different levels: Byzantium, Constantinople, and Istanbul. Because of the above mentioned problems, St. Petersburg was added as an amendment to the Constantinople level.
- Serenity Stage – this is the final stage of Ethereum in which all of its potential as a platform will supposedly be made manifest.
Despite the setbacks, the hard fork (and its Petersburg supplement) was scheduled well in advance and was not contested. This differentiates this kind of hard fork from others that have caused significant changes to occur. All of the hard forks we will look at in this digest were or are non-contested, a status that Vitalik Buterin, founder of Ethereum, believes makes them more akin to upgrades than actual hard forks.
Still, mistakes can happen and no hard fork or even upgrade is ever a sure thing. However, after all the wait, Constantinople and Petersburg happened without a hitch. The changes consist in five updates that will improve the scalability of the platform while reducing costs.
As one of the two main coins that have attracted the most outside attention, what happens with Ethereum ripples across the industry. The delays caused by faulty code and system bugs were not ideal and contributed to what has not been a great year for Ethereum as well as for most other coins. But delays are infinitely better than hacks. We have used this column in the past to look at the security problems that have been plaguing crypto, and we think it is something that we are all obliged to assess if we want to see the full potential of this technology get realized.
Tron Launches Hard Fork on Same Date as Ethereum
Tron is one of the biggest rivals Ethereum has as a platform designed to host DApps. So, perhaps in order to make a statement, Tron launched their hard fork on the same day that Ethereum launched theirs, following all the delays.
The Tron hard fork was called the Odyssey 3.5 upgrade. The most significant changes brought about by the upgrade consist of multi-signature features, new account management options, and performance improvements. Now, according to the release, every transaction that happens on the network will require approval from a permission account.
Permission for approvals is granted via signatures; once the threshold for permission is met or surpassed by the weight of all signed accounts, a transaction will be approved. Additionally, the energy ceiling will now be adjusted automatically in accordance with current network conditions and used to create an event listener capable of listening to events in a queue.
The main goals of this update were to increase the performance of the platform 50% from its current state and to provide better virtual machine safety for the DApps it hosts.
While this hard fork does not seem to have been in the works for as long as Ethereum’s, Justin Sun, the founder of Tron, revealed on Twitter that the hard fork became necessary due to long-standing requests from the Tron community. He also tweeted that he has had numerous “demands from hedge funds, mainstream investors and financial institution [sic]” for the changes, and now, following the fork, Tron is ready.
Bytecoin Prepares for Upcoming Hard Fork
At Bytecoin we have been preparing for our own upcoming hard fork. The main objective of our fork will be to introduce a number of new features and updates that we have been working on. Not long ago we released the newest version of our Amethyst software, which brought with it some major changes and new possibilities, and the hard fork will in turn bring Amethyst to life.
Like with the others above, our hard fork is non-contentious and will not result in two subsequent currencies. The switch will be scheduled when 90 percent of the blocks in a 720 block window are submitted by the new version of Bytecoin software.
The updates to the platform include HD wallets with mnemonic backup, new unlinkable addresses, consensus updates, auditable wallets, and a number of other new features. As we elaborated upon on our blog, the addition of auditable wallets will potentially allow our community to expand via blockchain gateways. We believe that the updates that will come with the fork will be appreciated by our current users and also help to expand outward and introduce new people to the benefits our platform has to offer.
We have prepared a guide to the hard fork for those who would like to know additional details.