The opening of 2019 has been an interesting period for the Ethereum project.
Suffering from a delayed launch of the Constantinople upgrade — after a security auditing firm discovered a severe flaw — and simultaneously experiencing tumultuous movements in its price, briefly spiking yesterday before dropping back down to more familiar levels (as of late anyway), the following weeks are set to bring about more changes to the project.
The Constantinople upgrade had to be delayed after one of the Ethereum Improvement Proposals (EIPs) was discovered to have a flaw in the smart contract mechanism.
A specific type of attack called a “reentrancy attack,” which could have made certain computations cheaper, was the problem in question.
This week, Constantinople and St. Petersburg will arrive together. The latter is actually something of a reversal more than an addition. The upgrade will simply remove the problematic EIP (EIP 1283) from the test networks once deployed.
A blog post from the Ethereum team speaks of St. Petersburg’s purpose:
Before Ethereum performs network upgrades on the main network, test networks, such as Ropsten, are upgraded to test the changes. The original Constantinople changes, listed in this blog post, were applied to test networks before the postponement and require a 2nd network upgrade to reverse the original Constantinople changes. This is called St. Petersburg and it occurs on the same block number as Constantinople.
The hard fork will bring a new feature called SKINNY CREATE2, which is a “corner case” that would allow for “deterministic deployment.” Several performance improvements also accompany the upgrade, as well as reduction in block rewards for miners.
The update is scheduled to arrive on block 7,280,000, which is expected to be mined around the end of the month.
Ethereum, along with the rest of the market, experienced a brief jump in price, setting off hopes that the market was on its way to a recovery. However, things are back to last week’s prices — but Ethereum remains ahead of Ripple in terms of market cap.
It remains to seen what impact on price, if any, these 2 Ethereum upgrades will have.