Ethereum’s system-wide upgrade Istanbul is set to go live.
New rules governing the world’s second-largest blockchain are expected to go into effect on Saturday, December 7, 2019, with the exact date subject to change due to variable block times and timezones.
The Istanbul upgrade will roll out backwards-incompatible code changes to the $19-billion blockchain network. Changes include price adjustments, interoperability between Ethereum and Zcash, adjusted gas prices for certain operations and allowing contracts to introduce more functions.
To account for the variable block time, nodes should be upgraded before Sunday, December 1st. As for any nodes that are not upgraded, they’ll be abandoned on the old chain where the previous rules continue to exist.
According to the announcement,
“If you are using an Ethereum client that is not updated to the latest version (listed above), your client will sync to the pre-fork blockchain once the upgrade occurs. You will be stuck on an incompatible chain following the old rules and you will be unable to send ether or operate on the post-upgrade Ethereum network.”
If you’re not a node operator but you hold the cryptocurrency or use the blockchain, you likely don’t need to do anything – unless you’re given instructions by a third party service acting on your behalf.
“If you use an exchange (such as Coinbase, Kraken, or Binance), a web wallet service (such as Metamask, MyCrypto, or MyEtherWallet), a mobile wallet service (such as Coinbase Wallet, Status.im, or Trust Wallet), or a hardware wallet (such as Ledger, Trezor, or KeepKey) you do not need to do anything unless you are informed to take additional steps by your exchange or wallet service.”
Istanbul is a step in the roadmap toward Ethereum 2.0, the major network upgrade that will shift its current proof-of-work consensus algorithm to proof-of-stake.
Ethereum co-creator Vitalik Buterin says that developers have been doing great work on phase two research and development. On Tuesday they released the latest look into the progress to date.
“[The] proposal makes ETH more enshrined. It provides an ‘operating system’ which gives the protocol the ability for shards, execution environments, validator accounts, and block producers to pass ETH between each other across shards with a one block latency. This results in a simpler fee market or gas market and removes some of the centralization concerns around the older fee market proposals.”