The three years long set of forks known as Metropolis, starting with Byzantium, Constantinople, and now Istanbul, has finally completed.
The fork kicked in around midnight on Sunday London time, with Sparkpool mining the fork block number 9 million and 60 thousand.
All miners and businesses have upgraded successfully as far as it is known, with no problems reported at the network level.
Some 75% of synced nodes have also upgraded now, with this hardfork going through very smoothly.
Of all nodes, etherscan shows around 7,000, down slightly from 7,500 just before the fork.
Meaning most nodes have upgraded with the network now having a bit more efficiency in regards to gas calculations and the like.
To Serenity and Beyond
As stated this was the left over EIPs, Ethereum Improvement Proposals. Some have now been pushed back further to Berlin, but much of the Metropolis stage of ethereum’s roadmap is now finished.
Thus begins the age of Serenity, starting with the Beacon chain genesis block which by our estimate should go out this spring at the earliest.
That is at its final stages, with a multi-client testnet awaiting deployment. The deposit contract is almost there too, with both hopefully launching during winter.
That begins the transition stage to a very dummy new Proof of Stake (PoS) blockchain to begin with where you can’t do much but validate the Proof of Work (PoW) headers and in an incentivized testnet way so ensure all works fine.
Sharding will then launch at some point. Next year far too optimistically, early 2021 optimistically, autumn of that year perhaps likely.
Its launch completes Serenity, and with that the ethereum roadmap too promised in the Initial Coin Offering (ICO) of 2014.
In the meantime the Proof of Work eth1x chain was to attempt some ambitious improvements, but it is not very clear what exactly is happening there.
More immediately, the difficulty delaying client has been launched, with ethereum to go through another hardfork upgrade in just a few weeks.
That’s a more controversial upgrade as it is being pushed without much public consultation, but a chain-split looks unlikely even though in eth such chain-splits are far too easy as someone even on a CPU can keep running the non-difficulty bomb delayed chain.
Meaning much is going on in eth even while it appears little is going on as we head into a very new year and a new decade.