Ethereum’s Hard Fork Is Coming

It won’t be long before Ethereum’s long-awaited Metropolis upgrade is underway. The hard fork for Byzantium – the first leg in the update – will occur at block 4,370,000, or roughly Oct. 16.

Developers Optimistic

Ethereum’s core development team is optimistic that clients will upgrade their software uniformly, ensuring there is no unintended splits. Clients are required to make all the necessary changes accompanying Byzantium to ensure the upgrade is completed in unison.

The blockchain’s most popular client, Go Ethereum (Geth), has already undergone the upgrade.

Hacked reported last month that, under protocol EIP 649, ether blocks will be mined ten seconds faster than they are currently. To safeguard the integrity of the token, the new protocol will also lower the reward miners receive per block to 3 ETH from 5 ETH.

Hard fork testing began last month on Ropsten, Ethereum’s simulation environment. The test included a trial of several Ethereum Improvement Protocols (EIPs) that will be introduced in the upcoming hard fork.

The development team met over the weekend to discuss the upcoming hard fork, and generally agreed that everything is on track. No other meetings are scheduled before Oct. 16.

A high-profile fork involving bitcoin occurred over the summer, giving rise to Bitcoin Cash (BCH). More than two months later, Bitcoin Cash remains highly volatile.

Ether Prices Gaining Traction

Ether has gained momentum over the weekend, with prices hovering near one-month highs. Prices are currently trending north of $311 for a total market capitalization for $29.6 billion. Ethereum is the world’s No. 2 cryptocurrency by market cap.

Ether has gained nearly 3,600% since the start of January, when one token was valued in the single digits. The asset peaked above $400 in June before approaching that level again in September. Crypto assets are in a broad consolidation phase following China’s regulatory attack on initial coin offerings (ICOs) and cryptocurrency exchanges.

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Chief Editor to and Contributor to, Sam Bourgi has spent the past nine years focused on economics, markets and cryptocurrencies. His work has been featured in and cited by some of the world's leading newscasts, including Barron's, CBOE and Forbes. Avid crypto watchers and those with a libertarian persuasion can follow him on twitter at @hsbourgi