The much-anticipated activation of two upgrades on the Ethereum network, the second largest cryptocurrency by market cap, appears to have been rolled out without any hitches.
The simultaneous upgrades, dubbed Constantinople and St. Petersburg, occurred at 19:57 (UTC) and went live on Ethereum’s mainnet at block number 7,280,000 as had earlier been planned.
The updates appear to have been activated successfully, notably without leading to a chain split. As observed on monitoring site Fork Monitor, there has so far been no evidence of a split.
The occurrence of a chain split would suggest that a section of the network users were still running an older version of the Ethereum software.
Hard forks can be contentious and often see chain splits with Ethereum not new to this scenario either.
In 2016, the Ethereum blockchain split, with Ethereum classic (ETC) chain being run by a group that stuck with the older software after the community differed over a controversial upgrade.
Before a hard fork or a system-wide upgrade, node operators and miners install new client software. The new software then automatically updates the new software at a specified block number when the upgrade rolls out.
Taylor Monahan, CEO at blockchain wallet MyCrypto says that this happens “about two weeks before the fork,” when everyone on the network installs the upgrade software.
However, “none of the new features are enabled,” till the exact block number, when everyone begins to use the new features, Monahan said.
It is this that prevents the occurrence of two concurrent and incompatible blockchains that can split the wider network. According to the MyCrypto CEO, this arrangement is referred to as “a consensus issue or a consensus bug.”
The Constantinople and St. Petersburg upgrades introduce four efficiency improvements to the network, called Ethereum Improvement Proposals (EIPs). Among these is one that would see cheaper transaction fees on specific operations and another that affects smart contract immutability.
In January, the Ethereum core developers elected to delay the Constantinople hard fork after a security firm discovered a vulnerability linked to one of the EIPs. The malicious code in the improvement code could have seen attackers compromise the network and steal funds.
The activation of the St. Petersburg code deletes that buggy update, EIP 1283, from Ethereum test networks that had implemented it before the security vulnerabilities surfaced.
The price of ETH experienced a slight move in the hours leading up to the hard fork, with the token’s value increasing by about 5 percent on the day.
In the last 24 hours, ETH has jumped from $135 against the dollar to trade at around $137.27, according to XBT.net price tracker.
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.