Byzantium hard fork – Image courtesy of tiendientu/ Flickr
The Byzantium hard fork — the fifth hard fork to take place on ethereum and one of the biggest updates to the protocol yet, occurred today, October 16, at 05:22 UTC. ETH prices climbed to an intraday high of $350 immediately after the upgrade, only to settle lower at $338 — the same level seen before the Byzantium hard fork came into effect.
Byzantium is the first phase in a protocol upgrade that has been in the works since 2015.
First announced under the name of ‘Metropolis’, the extensive upgrade ran into its share of setbacks and delays and was ultimately broken into two phases: Byzantium and Constantinople (expected to occur in 2018).
“Metropolis is a planned Ethereum development phase that includes two hard forks: Byzantium and Constantinople. Byzantium is occurring at block number 4.37mil. Constantinople does not currently have a release date, but is expected in 2018,” a blog post from October 12 reaffirms.
Byzantium was met with little to no resistance by the community, as the code changes included in the upgrade were widely regarded as beneficial and thus received with common consent.
The impact on ethereum’s infrastructure is expected to be substantial, once the network has steered past an inevitable adjustment period.
While numerous small corrections will probably remain invisible to the naked, non-developer eye, some changes to the code are of paramount importance. Blocks will be created more rapidly, but miners will receive lower rewards. Fixes to previous errors in the difficulty adjustment insure that block times remain stable. At the same time, transaction times will be kept in check.
Mining on the pre-Byzantium blockchain has already ceased, according to the ethereum fork tracker.
Since users have embraced the updated blockchain, there is a low chance of a rival token emerging, as seen with the split that yielded ethereum classic.
ETH prices have remained stable before and after the Byzantium hard fork, inching approximately $40 higher on October 13, to $338, and holding to the gain since.