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Byzantium Fork For Metropolis Is Live On Ethereum’s Ropsten Testnet

Byzantium Fork For Metropolis Is Live On Ethereum’s Ropsten Testnet

Today marks a significant milestone for Ethereum. The first iteration of the much anticipated Metropolis upgrade is finally being tested on Ethereum’s testing network.

The Ethereum Ropsten testnet has reached block number 1,700,000! Geth 1.7 has automatically implemented nine Ethereum Improvement Proposals (EIPs) as well as the Byzantium hard fork.

This is a true milestone and is evidence that Ethereum’s leadership is strong and continues to set and achieve goals for the future. While there is no way of knowing how successful this testing rollout will be, hopes are high for the new updates, which are expected to bring more security and speed to the platform.

Geth 1.7 is the mechanism that will usher in Metropolis. Originally developed in Ethereum’s youthful Frontier, Geth is the command line interface for running full nodes on the Ethereum blockchain. It’s essentially how people talk to the blockchain. Geth 1.7 includes updates for the nine EIPs as well as a critical time stamp for the first Metropolis hard fork, Byzantium.

Ropsten simulates the Ethereum network and the Ethereum Virtual Machine (EVM). Developers can check new code and verify that the changes are working correctly. Executable distributed code contracts, also known as “smart contracts,” can also be uploaded to Ropsten and allow for interactive developer testing without requiring Ether gas payments to process transactions. Ropsten is basically a free clone of the Ethereum network with diminished cybersecurity. (It’s a testing network so it doesn’t need robust security.)

There are two main upgrade optimizations taking place today. The first is that data storage requirements for fast-synced nodes have been nearly halved, from 26.3GB to 14.9GB. The second notable update is the reduction of filtering time required for contract events being stored and indexed by the EVM from minutes to seconds.

This is the beginning of a new era and a gradual shift away from proof-of-work and toward proof-of-stake. There will be more testing and hard forks to come. Stay tuned for updates as they become available.

Jordan Daniell is a writer living in Los Angeles. He brings a decade of business intelligence experience, researching emerging technologies, to bear in reporting on blockchain and Ethereum developments. He is passionate about blockchain technologies and believes they will fundamentally shape the future. Jordan is a full-time staff writer for ETHNews.

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Malta Establishes Blockchain Taskforce – ETHNews.com

Malta Establishes Blockchain Taskforce – ETHNews.com

Malta’s Blockchain Taskforce will take steps to establish a national strategy to develop the disruptive technology as a catalyst for growth.

On September 15, 2017, the government of Malta announced the formation of a Blockchain Taskforce that will review proposals and make recommendations to generate goals for a blockchain development roadmap.

The Parliamentary Secretariat for Financial Services, Digital Economy, and Innovation has been in consultation with blockchain-related stakeholders, according to the official announcement. Approval was granted by the Cabinet of Ministers for the formation of a National Blockchain Strategy in April 2017. With the momentum of this action, the Secretariat has moved forward to create the Blockchain Taskforce to bring about the implementation of the national strategy, guided by field experts.

The government of Malta seeks to capitalize on the advantages of blockchain technology, which it hopes will lead to creating a more efficient public sector. As per the official release:

 “[T]he Government is ambitiously looking into the setting up of a new regulatory function with the primary objective of harnessing the technology with a legal operational framework, serving as a bold initiative leading to the formation of an ideal ecosystem for those willing to invest in blockchain technology.”

The ongoing efforts of the European Commission’s Directorate-General for Communications Networks, Content, and Technology (also known as DG CONNECT) to establish a Blockchain Observatory Forum is seen as a positive move by the Maltese Government. The forum would be focused on cultivating discussion while working with stakeholders to establish standardization. The government also notes that there has been a surge of interest in blockchain by a growing class of private investors both international and local.

The government of Malta will foster an open dialogue to develop innovative and disruptive projects, providing “a catalyst for the further growth of Malta’s digital economy.”

Jeremy Nation is a writer living in Los Angeles with interests in technology, human rights, and cuisine. He is a full time staff writer for ETHNews and holds value in Ether.

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BIS Publishes Notes On Central Bank-Issued Cryptocurrency

BIS Publishes Notes On Central Bank-Issued Cryptocurrency

The so-called “bank for central banks” has released a paper highlighting some of the potential advantages and risks that central banks might face, should they move to issue their own cryptocurrencies.

The Bank for International Settlements (BIS) has released a paper defining what it calls “central bank cryptocurrencies (CBCCs).” The document explores some of this technology’s potential use cases and encourages central banks to familiarize themselves with it while stopping short of endorsing its adoption. 

Owned by 60 central banks, the BIS offers those banks, as well as other monetary authorities and international financial institutions, a range of financial services and acts as a “bank for central banks.” The feature, written by BIS Head of Secretariat Morten Linnemann Bech and University of California, Santa Barbara economics professor Rodney Garratt, divides CBCCs into two categories: a “consumer-facing” or “retail” token that would be available to all, and a “restricted-access, digital settlement token for wholesale payment applications” that would only serve “certain financial institutions.”

As an example of the former, the authors cite Fedcoin, a Federal Reserve-issued token that was first pitched in 2014 but which the Fed has yet to embrace, much less implement. Fedcoin’s value would be tethered to that of the US dollar and the Fed would “increase or decrease [its supply] depending on the desire of consumers to hold it” by converting between the supplies of Fedcoin and conventional dollars. They argue that such a currency would be significantly less susceptible to the price volatility that plagues most prominent cryptocurrencies today, but warn of risks that include more rapid bank runs, increased difficulty providing financial services to the unbanked, and disintermediation that could make it harder for banks to “perform essential economic functions, such as monitoring borrowers.” Furthermore, if consumers develop a significant enough preference for retail CBCCs, commercial banks could struggle to remain relevant in the financial landscape. And as the authors point out, the Fedcoin model raises another crucial question: whether it could “relieve the zero lower bound constraint on monetary policy … If a retail CBCC were to completely replace cash, it would no longer be possible for depositors to avoid negative interest rates and still hold central bank money.”

The paper also describes how Sweden developed a “highly efficient retail payment system” which has seen such wide adoption that some Swedish retailers no longer accept cash and some Swedish banks no longer distribute it. However, as the Swedish banking system moves towards digital money, it remains to be seen whether it will adopt a solution based on cryptocurrency or a different mechanism by which individuals can hold digital money accounts with the country’s central bank.

Wholesale CBCCs may become a reality sooner than their retail counterparts, the authors suggest, because, “many central bank-operated wholesale payment systems are at the end of their technological life cycles.” One perk of building a backdoor into a CBCC blockchain: it would be significantly cheaper for a central bank to prevent double spending than leaving that function up to a “costly proof-of-work validation.”

The authors discussed two simulated wholesale CBCC pilot projects: the Bank of Canada’s Project Jasper and the Monetary Authority of Singapore’s Project Ubin, both of which rely on bank-issued tokens that correspond to the contents of “central bank reserves held in a segregated account.”  Additionally, Project Jasper boasts the enhanced efficiency of a liquidity-saving mechanism that “periodically seek[s] to offset payments against each other in a queue and settle only the net amounts.” For the time being, though, central banks including the Bank of Canada consider blockchain technology to be “not yet mature enough for current adoption.”

Finally, Bech and Garratt posit that blockchain technology could, “increase efficiency and reduce reconciliation costs in securities clearing and settlement.”

Adam Reese is a Los Angeles-based writer interested in technology, domestic and international politics, social issues, infrastructure and the arts. Adam is a full-time staff writer for ETHNews.

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Australia Introduces Legislation To Remove Double Taxation On Cryptocurrency

Australia Introduces Legislation To Remove Double Taxation On Cryptocurrency

On Thursday, the Australian government introduced legislation to remove double taxation of digital currencies. The reform, first set out in the Turnbull administration’s 2017-2018 budget, received unanimous approval from Australia’s states and territories.

On September 14, 2017, the Australian government introduced legislation to remove the double taxation of digital currencies. “Currently, consumers who use digital currency can effectively bear GST [Good and Services Tax] twice: once on the purchase of the digital currency and once again on its use in exchange for other goods and services subject to the GST,” wrote Treasurer Scott Morrison in a release.

In May 2017, ETHNews reported on the Turnbull administration’s initial budget proposal. Retroactively effective from July 1, 2017, the related legislation will officially remove the two-time tax on digital currency. The Bill received unanimous approval from Australia’s states and territories.

This is great news for digital currency businesses in Australia and it’s emblematic of the continent’s forward-looking FinTech policies. Previously, the Australian government has brought cryptocurrency exchanges under the scope of its regulation. Furthermore, Australian politicians and officials have taken the lead on FinTech, establishing the Parliamentary Friends Of Blockchain Group and leading the charge for Technical Committee 307 within the International Organization for Standardization.

Matthew is a writer with a passion for emerging technology. Prior to joining ETHNews, he interned for the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission as well as the OECD. He graduated cum laude from Georgetown University where he studied international economics. In his spare time, Matthew loves playing basketball and listening to podcasts. He currently lives in Los Angeles. Matthew is a full-time staff writer for ETHNews.

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Decentralizing The Booty: Pirate Bay Plunders Computers With JavaScript Miner

Decentralizing The Booty: Pirate Bay Plunders Computers With JavaScript Miner

This past weekend, an administrator for The Pirate Bay explained that the website is testing a decentralized JavaScript-based cryptocurrency miner as an alternative to advertising.

Over the last few days, alert users of The Pirate Bay – self-described as the “galaxy’s most resilient BitTorrent site” – noticed that their CPU usage increased substantially after a new line of code was added to the website’s footer. It turns out that a JavaScript program has been harnessing visitors’ computing power to mine Monero, one of the world’s most anonymous cryptocurrencies.

At first, it appears, the website began its mining operation without notifying users, which explains the cries of “foul” in the comments section of the site’s blog. In a post on Saturday, a site administrator clarified the sudden uptick in computing power. “Initially there was a small typo so all CPU for a client was used,” they wrote. “This should be corrected now so only 20-30% should be used.” Since The Pirate Bay is somewhat notorious for theft in the form of copyright infringement, the complaints by its users are a bit paradoxical.

JavaScript-based cryptocurrency mining already has some legal baggage. Back in November 2013, as part of the Node Knockout Hackathon, MIT student Jeremy Rubin and some classmates presented a proof of concept for Tidbit, a bitcoin mining alternative to advertising. The following month, the team was served with an extensive subpoena by the New Jersey Attorney General’s office, halting Tidbit’s development progress.

Since The Pirate Bay is based in Seychelles, it seems unlikely to attract the eye of US regulators. However, the growing prevalence of JavaScript miners (especially in “malvertising”) demonstrates that cryptocurrency has generated revenue outside of traditional channels. A website can essentially extract payment by forcing users to shoulder the cost of electricity for mining. Whereas sites typically rely on subscriptions or advertising to monetize their content, perhaps cryptocurrency mining could offer another path forward.

Matthew is a writer with a passion for emerging technology. Prior to joining ETHNews, he interned for the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission as well as the OECD. He graduated cum laude from Georgetown University where he studied international economics. In his spare time, Matthew loves playing basketball and listening to podcasts. He currently lives in Los Angeles. Matthew is a full-time staff writer for ETHNews.

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OmiseGO And Digix Global Back Blockchain Accelerator

OmiseGO And Digix Global Back Blockchain Accelerator

After successfully reinvesting in the blockchain community, the latest venture that OmiseGO has endeavored upon will be an innovative accelerator project.

Lately, eyes have been on OmiseGO, which recently curried community favor by airdropping OMG tokens. Meanwhile, cryptic tweets from team members insinuate backroom meetings with Google, and none other than Ethereum founder Vitalik Buterin has been photographed holding a Liberland flag while sporting an iconic blue OmiseGO shirt.

OmiseGO’s latest move, announced on September 18, 2017, is in conjunction with Ethereum-based gold tokenization platform Digix Global, to back Japan-based venture firm Global Brain’s (GB’s) accelerator, GB Blockchain Labs (GBBL). The lab was founded in an effort to create a blockchain ecosystem that serves the community while fostering networking between projects via open source research and capital management.

GBBL will grant capital to blockchain startups it wants to back with financing rounds and offer support for token offering-based crowdfunding efforts.

CEO and founder of OmiseGO Jun Hasegawa spoke optimistically regarding the alliance.

“With its vision, I am confident that GB and its new subsidiary will be adding a lot of value into the blockchain community. I am excited and truly honored to be working closely with the team to provide the best of my knowledge and experience, and help drive transformation through wider adoption of blockchain technologies and its capabilities.”

The continued efforts of these companies will create new opportunities for businesses branching into blockchain ventures.

Jeremy Nation is a writer living in Los Angeles with interests in technology, human rights, and cuisine. He is a full time staff writer for ETHNews and holds value in Ether.



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Chamber Of Digital Commerce Announces Token Alliance To Promote Token Offering Guidance

Chamber Of Digital Commerce Announces Token Alliance To Promote Token Offering Guidance

The Token Alliance will work to drive innovation and compliance for token offering-based crowdfunding.

On September 18, 2017, The Chamber of Digital Commerce announced the formation of the Token Alliance, created to guide companies through the process of crowdfunding with token offerings.

Providing leadership for the Token Alliance are both Dr. Jim Newsome of the US Commodity Futures Trading Commission and Paul Atkins, former US Securities and Exchange Commissioner. Together, they join over 70 organizations working to wade through regulatory uncertainty by recommending legal frameworks. Some of the alliance members include Alluminate, AlphaPoint, Bankcoin.global, Blake, Cassels & Graydon, Bloq, CMT Digital, Cognizant, Cooley, Crowell & Moring, Elliptic, Gem, Hashed Health, loyyal, Microsoft, Netki, Node40, Parsons & Whittemore, Perkins Coie, Polsinelli, Qtum, Reed Smith, Rimon Law, Rivetz, Steptoe & Johnson, t0, and Tally Capital.

“With the SEC’s recent findings regarding ICOs, combined with the CFTC’s determinations and enforcement, it is clear that proactive industry efforts are imperative and timely,” said Newsome, describing the regulatory landscape. “I look forward to helping shape the dialogue and enable this innovative technology to progress for the benefit of industry and consumers.”

As a consortium encompassing blockchain innovators, the Token Alliance will attempt to position itself as an industry leader, providing a helping hand for blockchain startups who wish to remain compliant with laws as they develop. Regulators have taken notice of token offering-based crowdfunding, which was responsible for $1.5 billion in capital during 2017.

Atkins expressed a necessity for the guidance the Token Alliance seeks to provide:

“The Token Alliance will serve a much needed role in helping the industry establish for itself appropriate guidance for this new and exciting asset class. I’m thrilled to be a part of this initiative and bring my service as a former securities regulator to help foster this ecosystem.”

The Token Alliance welcomes participants with blockchain, legal, advisory, or technological expertise and invites those interested to reach out.

Perianne Boring, founder and president, Chamber of Digital Commerce, described the protections that regulations can potentially grant to participants while fostering blockchain sector growth:

“As with all new technologies, it is important to set appropriate guidelines to curb potential abuse, while protecting innovation. We look forward to working with our members to continue to promote and advocate for the power of the blockchain.”

Jeremy Nation is a writer living in Los Angeles with interests in technology, human rights, and cuisine. He is a full time staff writer for ETHNews and holds value in Ether.

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Ether Price Analysis – ETH/USD Forecast: Ethereum Price Firms above $275

Ether Price Analysis – ETH/USD Forecast: Ethereum Price Firms above $275

Ether gained traction and traded higher against the US dollar and bitcoin. ETH/USD broke the $275.00 resistance, which is a positive sign.

Technically, the 2-hour chart indicators are gaining momentum in the bullish territory.

Ether Price to Surpass $300

In the weekly forecast of ETH/USD, we discussed two important resistance levels ($275.00 and $295.00). The pair succeeded in gaining bids overnight and broke the $275.00 resistance and is currently eyeing a close above $295.00.

Similarly, the ETH/BTC pair climbed 5 percent and was able to break the 0.070BTC resistance, opening the doors for further recoveries.

Looking at the 2-hour chart of ETH/USD, the pair is up by more than 18 percent and breached the 61.8 percent Fibonacci retracement level of the last drop from the $316.17 high to $200.91 low at $272.00.

Ether buyers succeeded in breaking two key bearish trendlines near $260.00 on the same chart. These are great bullish signs. Having said that, the price is now attempting to settle above another important hurdle near $295.00 and the 50 percent Fibonacci retracement level of the last major drop from the $395.41 high to $200.91 low.

Above $295.00, there is a connecting resistance trendline positioned at $302.00 to stop the upside move. A successful close (2-hour) above $295.00 followed by a break of $302.00 would set the tone for further gains in the near term.

Ether Price Analysis Chart

On the downside, there is a bullish trendline forming with support near $280.00. Moreover, the previous resistance $275.00 is now a major support.

Moving on to the 6-hour chart of ETH/USD, the pair is attempting a close above a crucial resistance zone at $275.00. Should there be a 6-hour close above $275.00, the pair would gain bullish momentum to surpass sell offers near $302.00.

To sum up, ETH/USD would soon attempt a close above $300.00 (2-hour) which could be an opening towards the next barrier at $315.00.

Disclaimer:

The content on ETHNews.com is provided for informational purposes only and it is not intended to be, and does not, constitute financial advice or any other advice. You should not rely on any ETHNews.com content to make an investment decision. ETHNews.com is not responsible for any investment decision made by you. You are responsible for your own investment research and investment decisions.

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The Value Of Owning Information

The Value Of Owning Information

Control over the personal information profited by corporations can be delivered to consumers via blockchain technology.

What is free is not actually free. Why don’t people pay for the radio? Advertisers subsidize the cost of radio programming to get the chance to reach consumers. Even public broadcasting stations must beseech listeners and corporations to lend support. Many public-facing platforms are poised to offer a good or service to consumers and charge nothing in return, or so it would seem. Are they really charging nothing? In many cases these companies receive payment from advertisers that purchase mountains of data mined from consumers participating in those purportedly free services.

Monetized personal data indexes are the new norm. Data-driven mega-corporations like Facebook and Google have business models that capitalize on the torrents of data mined from platform users. Anyone who has entered a search term on Google or who has frequented the advertising banners of other websites can attest to the fact that so-called “free accounts” do more than simply provide access to a service. Since this valuable information can be used to generate enormous profits or maliciously plied to harm consumers, the landscape of personal data ownership has given rise to a corporate versus consumer dichotomy where the best interests of consumers are not always in line with profit models.

In at least one case, Amazon appeared to side with a customer who found himself in the sights of law enforcement. After the body of a deceased man turned up in James Bates’ hot tub, Prosecuting Attorney Nathan Smith thought searching Bates’ voice-activated assistant could offer clues as to what took place. When Arkansas police pressed Amazon to supply data from Bates’ Echo device, the digital marketplace resisted. In this case, Amazon chose to protect the consumer by requiring law enforcement to follow proper procedure, but it begs the question: should that choice be in the hands of a corporate entity or in the hands of consumers themselves?

It can be assumed that no one who buys appliances is looking forward to an Orwellian future where a brave little toaster spies on its owner for Big Brother. The implications of an interconnected network of devices that both gathers and shares meta-data about everyday happenings, only serve to complicate issues further. In the near future, a web of interoperable internet of things (IoT) devices promises to deliver heaps of information to both consumers and corporations alike. How that data should be used and who has a right to use it is a bit of a murky gray area. Since a swarm of IoT devices will someday surround consumers, and those devices are going to be gathering data, a blockchain-based system could act as an encrypted mesh to prevent malicious access to the honeypots of information gathered by IoT devices. What must be taken into account is a need for privacy alongside transparency to create safe and efficient outcomes for both businesses and consumers. If it is possible to lock down private data into systems wherein permissions can be directly given by consumers, it might pave the way forward to more reasonable exchanges with corporate entities; today, privacy is outright abandoned in many modern models.

Some platforms that are being built with the Ethereum blockchain, such as the Brave browser, have consumer protection at the core; the Brave browser prevents data mining. It is an example of what will likely be an emerging consumer market based on a demand for privacy. The paradigm shift towards platforms that advocate the encrypting of private data will put that information back into the hands of consumers. To this day, many market participants have become unknowingly complicit with the for-profit data-mining models that businesses have engaged in simply because it has become a status quo. People can choose to stop participating in services that monetize their information, but only when alternatives that deliver privacy crop up in the marketplace. Consumers can be empowered to take ownership of their information if their personal data is encrypted and managed through executable distributed code contracts (EDCCs) that govern who and what entities are allowed access.

EDCC’s can also benefit companies turning to blockchain-based systems of governance that wish to avoid falling from grace with regulators. EDCCs have the capability to follow regulatory compliance to a tee because those regulations can literally be coded into the contracts. To that end, there are specific advantages to blockchain systems that can be applied to the gathering and ownership of personal information in ways that adhere to regulations.

Regulators care about what companies are going to do with customer data. Facebook was recently fined to the tune of $1.44 million by the Spanish data protection agency (AEPD) for failing to disclose exactly how it would use data it gathered from user “likes” and failing to delete data after it had become useless relative to why it was collected. While Facebook may attempt to wriggle out of this fine with a respectful argument as to the definition of “likes” as personal information, the AEPD has not backed down.

It is in the best interest of companies to fall in line with regulators, should continued business be an operational goal. On the other hand, another group of individuals has no such inclination to follow the line of the law. Hackers who desire to cash in on troves of private information see technology which has delivered the ability to gather such data as a boon.

In an interview John McAfee tweeted, he spoke directly to the frailty of mobile devices and described how most of our devices, particularly smartphones, are built to spy on owners. For instance, watching illicit content can initiate a click-through agreement that is able to put rooting software onto a smartphone. “After it’s rooted, [hackers] download a keylogger, and all this happens in a matter of seconds. And from that point on, somebody is watching every single one of your keystrokes. Now, people pay these pornography sites for the ability to put their keylogging software on your phones. Why?” He goes on to describe how people who have cryptocurrency wallets or bank accounts managed through hacked mobile devices are susceptible to those wallets and accounts being emptied out. He said it hasn’t happened yet on a minimal scale because hackers are less likely to show the backdoors they’ve used to so-called “white hat” hackers who will, in turn, shut them. Rather, McAfee points to a near future where millions upon millions of accounts are simultaneously emptied.

McAfee’s example isn’t too wild to consider when looking at the recent issues that major credit reporting entity Equifax has had to deal with in the wake of a widely reported hacking scandal. 143 million US customers were affected and Equifax apparently had months to fix the problem, but failed to do so after the issue was disclosed. It’s not the first time consumer information has fallen into the hands of hackers. It’s easy to find examples of other companies that have been hacked and asked their consumer base to change account passwords because corporations don’t have a great track record of keeping data safe from hackers. In 2011, Sony customers bemoaned a hack that endangered over 70 million PlayStation Network and Qriocity accounts; 20,000 credit card and bank accounts; and leaked personal data of some 24.6 million users. Target saw 40 million accounts worth of debit and credit card data stolen in a hacking scandal that took place in 2013, a figure that pales in comparison to Yahoo hacks in both 2013 and 2016 which involved a whopping 1.5 billion private accounts.

A few things could happen to help the process along. Legislators and regulators who are interested in consumer rights might craft policies that make it illegal for companies to gather data. People developing new identity systems may integrate protocols that better safeguard personal data. People may decide to stop opting into services that sell their personal information to corporations.

Whatever the future holds, the present model is clearly fractured and puts consumers at risk while playing into the hands of the companies that gather data. Blockchain technology may perhaps lead consumers to a world that puts control of personal data back into their hands.

Jeremy Nation is a writer living in Los Angeles with interests in technology, human rights, and cuisine. He is a full time staff writer for ETHNews and holds value in Ether.

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Ethereum’s Metropolis Could Be On Ropsten As Early As Monday

Ethereum’s Metropolis Could Be On Ropsten As Early As Monday

The Ethereum ecosystem is getting ready to leave its humble Homestead and enter into a robust Metropolis. This third of four phased platform updates is an upgrade for Ethereum, opening the door for even greater adoption.

Software updates have become a regular part of our lives in the digital age. Sometimes you have to click through a small tutorial and spend a few minutes downloading upgrades. Sometime you have to hard fork a blockchain, twice.

Ethereum’s evolution into Metropolis is a case study into the multidisciplinary, dynamic inner workings of how the decentralized application platform functions. The Ethereum Foundation has been planning for this moment. Top level developers have been redoubling their efforts to develop the technologies and game theory schemes necessary to implement a highly tailored approach to reaching consensus that will shepherd the ecosystem into a new age. This is Ethereum’s next big step forward and the developers behind it have designed the transition to be as smooth as possible.

There has been a lot of speculation about the timing of this release and what it will entail. Here are the facts.

Ethereum’s Metropolis Update: What You Need To Know

First, per the latest information from the Ethereum Foundation, when the Ethereum network reaches block number 1,700,000, the Byzantium hard fork will go live on Ethereum’s Ropsten testnet. This means the first iteration of Metropolis could be live as early as this Monday, September 18. The actual network upgrade to Metropolis proper is slated for early October 9, depending on how Ropsten testing goes.  

Metropolis is a significant upgrade for Ethereum and will be accomplished via two separate hard forks. Hard forks are necessary because Ethereum’s source code is being changed and the changes require the blockchain to alter its course and create a new, forked chain, where the updates are a part of how the chain progresses. Essentially, this is how Ethereum lets go of the old and grabs onto the new.

The first hard fork is called Byzantium and derives its name from a famous distributed computer science problem known as “The Byzantine Generals Problem.” This is in reference to the blockchain concept of consensus. The “Byzantine Generals Problem” is essentially a computational framework for understanding how to reach consensus within a group of nodes, some of which may be bad actors. Since the Ethereum Foundation cannot prevent people from being bad actors, it designed Metropolis to minimize what bad actors can do and made it expensive to do it. There are currently nine Ethereum Improvement Proposals (EIPs) slated to take effect with the Byzantium hard fork.

Byzantium EIPs

EIP 98 – Removal of intermediate state roots from receipts. Allows for parallel transaction processing.

EIP 658 – Embedding transaction return data in receipts. Allows light clients to verify if calls were executed correctly. Previously this could only be verified by a full-node.

EIP 100 – Change difficulty adjustment to target mean block time including uncles. Fixes block rewards for uncle blocks.

EIPs 198, 212 (197), 213 (196) – Precompiled contracts for modular exponentiation; elliptic curve addition, scalar multiplication and pairing. New cryptographic primitives enable ZK-Snarks. This will enhance privacy, security and scalability.

EIP 214 – Expanding the EVM with static contract calls. Fixes the problem that caused The DAO. Creates a safer, more defined way to call external EDCCs from within your EDCC.

EIP 211 – Expanding the EVM with dynamically sized data. Introduces two new opcodes: RETURNDATASIZE and RETURNDATACOPY. Enables forwarding EDCCs to return precisely what an underlying call returned. This step automates the hardcoding of how much memory is read from a call. 

EIP 206 – Expanding the EVM with cheap state reverts. Gas expenditure update. By utilizing a revert instead of a throw, only the gas actually used is spent on a particular users transaction. 

EIP 649 – Delaying the difficulty bomb and reducing the block reward. This delays Ice-Age by 18 months and reduces block rewards to three Ether. This is an effort to help ween the ecosystem off of proof-of-stake.

EIP 684 – Preventing overwriting contracts. Byzantium is going to change the way EDCC addresses are created and this EIP makes sure no two EDCCs can occupy the same place on Ethereum.

ETHNews will be tracking the Ropsten testing and will provide updates for the Constantinople hard fork and additional details are they become available. 

Jordan Daniell is a writer living in Los Angeles. He brings a decade of business intelligence experience, researching emerging technologies, to bear in reporting on blockchain and Ethereum developments. He is passionate about blockchain technologies and believes they will fundamentally shape the future. Jordan is a full-time staff writer for ETHNews.



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