Ethereum Metropolis Hardfork and Introduction of Proof of Concept
With all the clamor regarding Bitcoin, Bitcoin Cash, the hard-fork and BTC and BCC price fluctuations pouring in day after day, investors and enthusiasts alike sidelined Ethereum in this past month. However, everybody’s attention was diverted back to Ethereum recently with the Ethereum Developer team releasing word that the Metropolis hard-fork is set to occur in late September of this year.
In an interview with ETHNews, Hudson Jameson from the Ethereum foundation stated that in three to six months, a new version of Ethereum, called Metropolis, will be released. With this update, the foundation plans on enabling smart contracts that can settle fees autonomously, without receiving manual approvals from users.
The hard-fork is highly awaited, ever since the Ethereum road map for 2017 was released earlier this year. The plan had indicated that the coming release would contain some major upgrades for the platform. With the developers calling Metropolis the next milestone release for the Ethereum Platform, people active in the ETH world are anxiously anticipating the activation of this hard fork.
What Is The Metropolis Hard Fork?
The ultimate goal of the Ethereum Foundation for 2017 is to follow the vision of Ethereum’s founder Vitalik Buterin and make Ethereum move from a proof of work to a proof of stake protocol. The Metropolis hard-fork is one-half of the transition process from PoW to PoS.
It is evident that Metropolis will bring some aspects to Ethereum the community has requested for a while now. Addressing scalability, safety, and privacy are of the utmost priority for the Metropolis team and this has been made clear with the update. So the new hard fork should enable some significant upgrades to the Ethereum ecosystem, improving the overall outlook of the platform in the following ways –
- Members can rely on their anonymity being increased that will come with the new ‘zk-SNARKs,’ or Zero-knowledge proofs. Users will be able to perform anonymous transactions at higher levels than in the past. For implementing the same, Ethereum Chief Developer Buterin and Wilcox are working in close proximity to Zcash.
- Programming and smart contracts will be made far easier with the new upgrade, relieving some of the pressure on current programmers. Gas will also be adjusted for bill settling. The Ethereum protocol will also be simplified, allowing novice users to get a more hands-on approach with this technology. Also given that not all users want to run a full wallet, some just prefer a solution that synchronizes with the blockchain immediately – Metropolis plans to make such light clients more secure, or will at least try to do so once the hard fork goes live.
- Masking, for security enthusiasts, will allow users to determine the address for which they have a private key. This will increase security on the network, even against quantum computer hacking.
- The upgrade includes a ‘Difficulty-Bomb’ intended to make mining exponentially more difficult. The bomb is designed to be an intermediate step in the transition from proof-of-work (PoW) to proof-of-stake (PoS) on the network. That is, assuming the proof-of-work mining difficulty bomb can be addressed by the developers. This has often been referred to as the ‘Ethereum Ice Age.’ This particular feature makes it impossible to mine transactions over time, effectively forcing the switch to a new algorithm. However, due to the DAO hard fork implementation, this time bomb is ticking a lot faster than originally planned.
All of this makes the switch to Metropolis even more important than before.
What Lies Ahead?
The developers hope that with the release of Metropolis, an increase in developments within the Ethereum ecosystem and the number of large-scale businesses joining the platform to work on DAPPs surpasses their expectations. Given that companies like IBM and other organizations within the Linux-led Hyperledger Foundation are already working on Ethereum-based projects like the Hyperledger Fabric, the Ethereum Foundation is looking forward to some major progress in the Ethereum network as well as its development community. It still remains clouded whether the upgrade will cause prices to increase or decrease, but a general pattern goes: as mining slows, prices fall. However, the upgrades should increase
While it still remains unclear whether the upgrade will cause prices to increase or decrease, general pattern dictates that as mining slows, prices fall. However, the upgrades should increase the number of users on the system overall, causing the price to rise.
Regardless, Metropolis is the penultimate stop on the road map – Serenity, the next upgrade, is expected to produce an increase in stability, leading to greater investment and price support.
In fact, according to Jameson, “…this transition will be made in the update from Metropolis to Serenity. The switch of protocols will greatly impact and alter the Ethereum network in terms of mining and efficiency of the network itself.”