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61. BYZANTIUM (Published: 17th Oct, 2017)
Large scale upgrade was introduced in the Ethereum road map in 2015 under the name of Metropolis which encountered some significant delays resulting it to be broken into two phases namely Byzantium and Constantinople. The second largest cryptocurrency by market cap went through the fifth hard fork yesterday, implementing set of ethereum improvement protocols (EIP). Since this hard fork is planned so there has been very little disagreement among the community and, hence there should not be any chain split.

The fork is a major upgrade for Ethereum since the beginning of the year, since when Ethereum has gained popularity with the skyrocketing demand from ICOs using Etherum’s ERC20 token standard. The objective of Metropolis is to enhance scalability, privacy and safety features in Ethereum. The road to fork was not easy for Ethereum developers as well, Byzantium-enabled ethereum software was continuously retracted due to critical bugs found in the code. Developers pushed out corrections just in time.

The Byzantine fork is expected to include the following key features:

  • zk-SNARKs (Zero-Knowledge proofs)  increasing anonymity of transactions
  • Addition of ‘REVERT’ opcode that allows error handling without consuming all gas
  • Reduction of block creation reward from five to three ether
  • Better security through 'masking' allowing users to determine addresses which they hold the private key
  • A mining adjustment called a 'difficulty-bomb' making mining exponentially more difficult

Generally, mobile and Internet wallet providers are running their own client infrastructure, and users did not have to take any action. So far the fork looks to see no issues according to current fork logs, and developers are celebrating the success.


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