Ethereum, the third-largest cryptocurrency by market cap and the most popular platform for decentralized applications (dApps), is getting an upgrade on (roughly) Jan. 16.
The upgrade is called Constantinople and it makes the Ethereum network a bit more efficient, paving the way for bigger changes further ahead. It also brings some important changes for miners on the network.
Here’s an overview of what, exactly, is happening, and the steps owners of ether should undertake ahead of the fork.
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The answer to the second question is really easy: There’s no need to do anything. The upcoming upgrade, while technically a fork, will very likely be non-contentious, meaning there’s no disagreement on whether it should happen. This means Ethereum won’t split into two separate coins next Wednesday. If everything goes well — and chances are good that it will — your ether holdings will be exactly the same before and after the fork, regardless of whether your ether is located on a private wallet or an exchange.
And no, ether holders will not be getting a new coin; if you see info about it anywhere, it’s either a scam or a mostly-irrelevant project that’s just trying to get some attention out of the confusion that surrounds every cryptocurrency fork (which is why I’m primarily calling Constantinople an upgrade and not a fork).
Ethereum node operators and miners will have to update their software ahead of the upgrade; the links can be found here.
Note that the January 16th date for the upgrade is approximate. The upgrade should happen when block 7,080,000 on the Ethereum blockchain is mined, which is currently approximately Wednesday, Jan, 16, 8pm UTC, but the exact time will shift a little as new blocks aren’t always found in the same amount of time.
Paving the way for a faster future
With that out of the way, there are still a few things you should know about this upgrade.
Constantinople consists of five Ethereum Improvement Proposals (EIPs), which are documents explaining a new feature or change in Ethereum’s code. Explaining them in detail might