The Constantinople Upgrade Delay and What’s Inside The Upgrade

5 min readJan 16, 2019

Ethereum is making headlines and leading the development charge for blockchain in 2019. For speculators wondering what needs to be done on their part, it’s simple — nothing. Though this is Constantinople upgrade is a fork, there’s been been a push from Vitalik Buterin, to call this event an upgrade. There will be no additional coins generated from the event, hence the term upgrade because a lot of confusion stems from “forks” with not everyone being fully aware of the full definition for a hard fork to occur. We’ve collated industry know-how to address the major questions being asked by our community.

Source: Consensys

Q1: What is the upgrade of Ethereum “Constantinople”?

Changes to the Ethereum underlying protocol are intended to add new rules that enhance system functionality. The decentralized nature of the blockchain system makes the upgrade not as simple as updating your app on your phone. Network upgrades in the blockchain require coordination and communication across the community, including transactions with multiple Ethereum client developers to make the upgrade go smoothly. The main network block height is 7080000, at which time the upgrade has been initially scheduled to take place — in Beijing, this is set to take place during January 16. According to the development route of the Ethereum network, a total of four stages are required. The Ethereum development team has given each of these four stages a name that sounds quite romantic, namely:

Frontier, Homestead, Metropolis and Serenity.

The first phase, Frontier (Frontier, July 2015): The first version of Ethereum was released, allowing developers to mine Ethereum and develop DApp and tool software based on Ethereum.

The second phase, Homestead (March 2016): released the first production environment version, optimized and improved many protocols, laid the foundation for the subsequent upgrades, and accelerated the transaction speed.

The third phase, Metropolis (Metropolis, October 2017): The third phase was divided into two upgrades, named Byzantium (October 2017) and Constantinople (January 2019). These will make Ethereum lighter, faster and safer.

The fourth stage, Serenity (time to be determined): This version will use the long-awaited PoS consensus, which will use the Casper consensus algorithm.

The third phase of the “Metropolis” phase is the most critical step in the four phases, because its stable deployment before the arrival of the final PoS Consensus is critical to the smooth transition of the final “quiet” phase. The Constantinople upgrade as the last step in “Metropolis”, lays the foundation and direction for improvements that will later have developers continue to work on, creating an even stronger Ethereum ecosystem.

Q2: What updates are included in the fork of Constantinople?

Updates included in the network upgrade are marked and referenced by EIP. The Ethereum Improvement Proposal (EIP) describes some of the standards implemented for the Ethereum platform, including the core protocol specification, the client API, and the contract standard. The following EIPs are included in the update for the Constantinople upgrade:

EIP 145: Bitwise shifting instructions in EVM. The EIP adds a native feature to the protocol, making bit-wise move operations in EVM cheaper and simpler.

EIP 1014: Skinny CREATE2. In a word: This EIP allows you to interact with contracts that have not yet been created.

EIP 1052: EXTCODEHASH opcode. In a word: The EIP will make the operation cheaper (consuming less Gas).

EIP 1283: How to calculate the Gas used to change the SSTORE opcode. In a word: The EIP will make some operations cheaper (just need less Gas to complete the operation), reducing the current “excess” and expensive Gas consumption.

EIP 1234: Delay the time of the difficulty bomb explosion and adjust the block reward. In a word: The EIP guarantees that we will not stop Ethereum before the PoS is ready and implemented.

For more information about the new date for the upgrade, head over to the Ethereum blog

Q3: As a user or currency holder of Ethereum, what do we do?

If you are using:

  • Centralized exchange (such as Coinbase, Karken or Coin)
  • Web-side wallet service (such as Metamask, MyCrypto or MyEtherWallet) Mobile wallet (such as Coinbase Wallet,, Trust Wallet or imToken)
  • Hardware wallet (such as Ledger, Trezor or KeepKey)

You don’t need to do anything! Unless you receive a notice from the exchange or wallet you are using, you are prompted to take additional steps (but this is related to the service you are using, not to the Ethereum chain).

Developers of Ethereum clients (such as geth, Parity, and Harmony) will write the relevant updated code to the client software when the community agrees on which updates should be included in the upgrade. These protocol updates are activated after the specified block height. Nodes that are not updated to the latest rules will remain in the pre-update network and continue to run using the old consensus rules.

Q4: PoS vs PoW

If you have an understanding of the blockchain, you should have heard or seen it on many occasions. PoW and PoS, we repeat here again.

PoW: This is the protocol used by most mainstream cryptocurrencies, including ETH (current) and BTC. PoW requires miners (or nodes) to constantly consume computational power to perform hash calculations to find the desired random number. it means that the system needs to consume a large amount of calculation power and electricity.

PoS: In this system, we have a verifier instead of a miner. The principle is that as a verification node, you must first have a certain amount of tokens. Depending on the amount and time of the token, a block for the bet verification will be generated. Rights. Only the nodes with equity can validate the block effectively. When the block you verified is packaged into the chain, you will get a block reward proportional to your equity. If you verify a malicious or erroneous block, the interest you bet on will be deducted.

It should be noted that the Ethereum is currently a PoW, but before the final phase IV is completed, it will switch to PoS. Of course, before the complete PoS, it will experience a PoW + PoS mixed consensus stage, this is also to make the whole switch more stable, but it is not included in the content of this upgrade.

Q5: Soft fork and hard fork

The biggest difference between soft fork and hard fork is whether it supports forward (new block after fork) compatibility, soft fork (compatible with new block) for forward compatibility, hard fork for forward compatibility. (not compatible with new blocks).

What does that mean? Suppose you are using Word 2003 on a Windows operating system and now upgrade to the Word 2016 version. In the first case, let’s assume when you go to Word 2003, that a document created in Word 2016, can be opened. This is deemed, a soft fork. In the event where the file cannot be opened, this depicts a hard fork has occurred. Therefore, this time, the Ethereum “Constantinople” phase is a hard fork, because the old client can not be compatible with the block generated by the new client. There is no major controversy among node operators and contributors in the upgrade, so it will be updated to the latest client as soon as possible, which means that everyone will produce blocks in the new chain.