ETH’s Istanbul Hard Fork-Everything You Need to Know

Ethereum’s upcoming network update & what it brings?

The 8th Ethereum hard fork is predicted to take place on 7 December 2019. The exact date is subject to change owing to varying block times and time zones. For anyone unfamiliar with the term hard fork, think of the operation as a “network upgrade.”  

Istanbul is one of the many hard forks of Ethereum 1.x that will take place preceding Serenity (ETH 2.0), Ethereum’s transition from its present proof of work consensus system to proof of stake consensus. The current fixed block number for the migration is at Block No.: 9069000.

What is Istanbul?

Istanbul is the name given to this expansion of the network and is the last of a series of updates. Previous updates were Frontier in 2015, Homestead in 2016, Byzantium in 2017, and Constantinople in 2019. The changes will look to provide the network with increased scalability, security, and interoperability.

Ethereum Istanbul is a system-wide upgrade that aims to change the process of data storage, mining, and code execution for Ethereum. These enhancements will put the network closer to what developers require and need to create products on top of the Ethereum blockchain.

What is an Ethereum network upgrade?

Upgrading the network involves modification to the underlying Ethereum protocol, creating new rules to improve the system. The decentralized nature of blockchain networks makes it harder to upgrade the network. Network upgrades to a blockchain require cooperation and coordination within the communities involved in the ETH ecosystem and the developers of numerous Ethereum applications, to make the transition smooth.

What happens during the Hard Fork?

After the community comes to an understanding that revisions should be included in the upgrade, the protocol revisions are submitted to the various Ethereum clients, such as geth, Parity, and Nethermind. Protocol changes are triggered at a specific block number. Any nodes that have not been upgraded to the new rule set will be discarded on the old chain where the previous rules remain.

What changes are going into Istanbul?

Changes introduced in Istanbul are defined by the use of Ethereum Improvement Proposals (EIPs). EIPs describes specifications for the Ethereum platform, including core protocol requirements, client APIs and contract standards. Please refer to the EIP which lists the specific changes to be made to Istanbul at EIP-1679. If you’d like to know more, check out the roadmap to Serenity (ETH 2.0) which also all the phases to achieve proof of stake on Ethereum.

For Ethereum Users-What do I need to do?

If you hold or use ether with any of the following services, then there’s nothing you need to do:

  • Hold or transact ETH through a mobile wallet e.g. Coinbase Wallet
  • Hold ETH on Bybit or any other exchange 
  • Utilize a hardware wallet e.g. Ledger

NOTE: Bybit will stop all ETH deposits and withdrawals at approximately 10 am UTC on 7 December 2019.