Ethereum’s Constantinople Fork To Deploy With “Petersberg” To Fix Buggy Code

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Ethereum core developers are getting ready to deploy the Constantinople upgrade that was delayed just hours to activation due to the discovery of a bug in the networks’ code.

A core developer call in January proposed that the network upgrade, which is meant to introduce five backward-incompatible changes, be deployed in late February.

The activation is expected at block 7,280,000, and ethereum developers have expressed confidence that this time everything will work out as planned.

Hudson Jameson, a leading ethereum developer and the communications manager at Ethereum Foundation, said that the teams had learned “valuable lessons” from January’s failure to activate Constantinople.

According to him, one key lesson has been the need to have “better communication with miners,” with the aim of helping them to grasp everything connected with the upgrade.

The first take of Constantinople was meant to introduce five Ethereum Improvement Proposals (EIPs). After smart contracts audit firm ChainSecurity discovered a vulnerability, now only four of the five EIPs are set to be activated on Ethereum’s mainnet at the end of the month.

And as it was expected, Constantinople will be deployed alongside another upgrade meant to fix the buggy EIP 1283. The upgrade will, therefore, see a simultaneous activation, one to introduce the five EIPs and another to remove the EIP 1283.

That upgrade that removes the said malicious code has been labeled “Petersberg” and is already released on the ethereum testnet Ropsten.

Both Constantinople and Petersberg will get activated at block 7,280,000. However, the latter will “take precedence over Constantinople and immediately supersede it,” the COO of ChainSecurity Matthias Egli said.

At the moment, the Petersberg upgrade is ready, with all testing having been completed. According to Jameson, ethereum’s major software clients Geth and Parity are set to activate when the network hits the specified block number.

What ethereum users need to know

According to Martin Holst Swende, the security lead at ethereum, the network’s users need to take note of some changes that will come with the activation of Constantinople and Petersberg.

Swende’s tweet posted last week asks developers to note that smart contracts on the network will, under certain conditions, change code when handling multiple transactions. This is vital because smart contracts are supposed to be immutable.

However, the EIP 1014 feature, dubbed “Skinny CREATE2”, will make these changes possible. The new feature allows for deterministic deployment, which essentially betters off-chain transactions on the ethereum network.

In short, Skinny CREATE2 allows for deployment of a smart contract for a “second time,” something that wasn’t there before. Smart contract developers can make these changes by deploying to the first address, destructing the code, and then redeployed again.

According to Egli, the changes aren’t a security bug. Instead, it is what he calls “a corner case” requiring the attention of developers. He noted that developers on the network should be wary as these changes will go live when the Constantinople activates.

There is thus the need for users to get as much information about the four EIPs in the upgrade well before the February hard fork estimated to take effect on Thursday, February 28.

Having a better understanding will help developers avoid running into issues down the road.


Disclaimer: This is not investment advice. Cryptocurrencies are highly volatile assets and are very risky investments. Do your research and consult an investment professional before investing. Never invest more than you can afford to lose. Never borrow money to invest in cryptocurrencies.

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