Constantinople upgrade is live!

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Yesterday, on February 28, 2019, the long-awaited Ethereum “hard fork” or “network upgrade” Constantinople finally went live! As planned, it occurred on block 7,280,000 and although the plan anticipated two upgrades: Constantinople and St. Petersburg, both were combined in one. 

Client Adoption

Not to mention the success in upgrading the network, yet not all Ethereum users adopted the new network. At the time of writing, the total percentage of users that have their clients ready is 28% equivalent to 3088 clients. This includes 24,5% of total Geth nodes and 42,3% of Parity nodes. However, this is very early to point out, since the update is only a couple of hours in.

Source: https://ethernodes.org/network/1/forkwatch/overview

Constantinople and St. Petersburg upgrade

As mentioned before in our previous article, the new upgrade – Constantinople, will integrate 5 new proposals, also known as EIPs (Ethereum Improvement Proposal). These proposals will affect the speed and functionality of the network, its members’ costs and, of course, the miners.

At the same time, with the Constantinople “hard-fork”, St. Petersburg upgrade is also active. Its task is to disable the EIP-1283 protocol, which identified vulnerability issues such as Reentrancy. That is why the update was canceled in January.

The price of Ethereum

During the update on February 28, the price of Ethereum remained significantly stable.

ETH/USD on tradingview.com
ETH/BTC on tradingview.com.

However, in the previous day on February 27, there was a slight dump in the price, and it went from $141 to $132. This probably was the effect of uncertainty from investors and users because of previous delays of this upgrade. Once they got affirmation that the upgrade is actually going to take place, they bought back in.

Ethereum 7 day chart on coinmarketcap.com. What happened before Constantinople.

The Ethereum Network and PoS

The daily issuance now will be at 13400 ETH, with one block time of 14 seconds. Even more, the block reward will decrease from 3 to 2 ETH (EIP 1234). Overall Ethereum’s inflation rate will be around 4%. Also, the update optimizes the use of gas in the network and creates conditions for activating the Casper protocol, which will transfer Ethereum to the consensus PoW / PoS hybrid algorithm.

Useful links:

List of all Ethereum historic hard forks

The day before the upgrade

The previous postponement

The first delay

The current stats on the Ethereum Network

Source:

https://cointelegraph.com/news/ethereums-constantinople-st-petersburg-upgrades-have-been-activated/amp
https://kripto.media/ethereum-hardfork-jau-sodien-atlidziba-samazinasies-bet-vai-maineri-aizies/
https://etherscan.io/blocks?l=HardForks
https://ethernodes.org/network/1/forkwatch/overview

Photo by Tetyana Kovyrina from Pexels

Ethereum hard fork could take place in late February.

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A leading Ethereum team developer Péter Szilágyi tweeted that the Ethereum Constantinople hard fork could take place on February 27th. The long-awaited event now can accour at block 7,280,000.

Constantinople faces security issues

Particularly canceled due to security issues, the long-anticipated Ethereum hard fork “Constantinople” didn’t take place. It was a critical vulnerability in Proposal (EIP) 1283, that could provide attackers a loophole in the code to steal other users’ funds. The vulnerability, called a reentrancy attack, allows an attacker to “reenter” the same function multiple times without updating the user about the state of affairs, an attacker could essentially be “withdrawing funds forever,” said Joanes Espanol, CTO of blockchain analytics firm Amberdata.

In a limited attendance meeting, ETH devs come to a consensus.

Friday, August 31 Ethereum devs held a meeting about the future of Ethereum. It was a limited meeting, where only 14 developers discussed the future of Ethereum. All the miners and investors didn’t attend the meeting.

They agreed to support the code that would reduce the amount of new cryptocurrency introduced on Ethereum to 2 ETH per block, down from 3 ETH, by implementing an upgrade named EIP 1234.

Also, the developers agreed to delay the difficulty bomb for a 12 month period. Also, they are planning a hard fork 8 months after the upgrade of Constantinople.

The transition to PoS (Proof of Stake)

Ethereum developers designed the difficulty bomb in order to gradually increase mining difficulty. Eventually, this will make Ethereum mining impossible. Furthermore, this is when the Ethereum blockchain will transition to a proof-of-stake (PoS) consensus mechanism.

However, blockchain developer, Níckolas Goline calculated that the Ethereum network could see block times of around 60 seconds exactly on February 27. These estimates are based on the Ethereum network’s current mining difficulty level and hashrate trends. The Ethereum dApps can be negatively affected if the block times become this slow.

Ethereum’s hashrate has decreased by roughly 44% last year, from its peak in August 2017.

Source:

https://www.cryptoglobe.com/latest/2019/01/ethereum-s-eth-hashrate-is-recovering-constantinople-delayed-to-february-27th/

Ethereum Postpones Constantinople due to Critical Vulnerability Issues.

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In a developer call, Vitalik Buterin along with other high-rank developers postponed the long-anticipated Ethereum hard fork “Constantinople”. An audit firm found a critical vulnerability in Proposal (EIP) 1283, that could provide attackers a loophole in the code to steal other users’ funds.

Ethereum faces an audit

A Smart contract audit firm called ChainSecurity audited Ethereum’s hard fork proposal (EIP) 1283 and found critical vulnerabilities. This is the reason for delaying the hard fork for an unknown period of time. The vulnerability, called a reentrancy attack, allows an attacker to “reenter” the same function multiple times without updating the user about the state of affairs, an attacker could essentially be “withdrawing funds forever,” said Joanes Espanol, CTO of blockchain analytics firm Amberdata.

“Imagine that my contract has a function which makes a call to another contract… If I’m a hacker and I’m able to trigger function a while the previous function was still executing, I might be able to withdraw funds,”

What is wrong with the code?

ChainSecurity explains this in their medium blog post:

“The upcoming Constantinople Upgrade for the ethereum network introduces cheaper gas cost for certain SSTORE operations. As an unwanted side effect, this enables reentrancy attacks when using address.transfer(…) or address.send(…) in Solidity smart contracts. Previously these functions were considered reentrancy-safe, which they aren’t any longer,” further explaining that “Before Constantinople, every storage operation would cost at least 5000 gas. This far exceeded the gas stipend of 2300 sent along when calling a contract using transfer or send.”

Constantinople hard fork execution not specified

After this security issue, Vitalik Buterin, Hudson Jameson, Nick Johnson, and Evan Van Ness came to a consensus to delay this Hard Fork. However, they failed to deliver a specific date when the actual upgrade could take place. At this moment this is unclear because it is very essential to develop a proper code.

Source:

https://www.coindesk.com/ethereums-constantinople-upgrade-faces-delay-due-to-security-vulnerability
https://medium.com/chainsecurity/constantinople-enables-new-reentrancy-attack-ace4088297d9

Photo by Moose Photos from Pexels

The most successful Ethereum dApps

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One reason many experts think the Ethereum network has more potential for growth than other blockchain networks are dApps (decentralized applications). Dapps are software applications that run on a network and are not controlled by a centralized authority. Much excitement arises from the potential reliability of such technology because it is secured by a blockchain, thus making it more stable and harder to manipulate. Smart contracts backed by Ether can be included in the system. Allowing it to enforce its clauses and issue cryptocurrency tokens automatically. And this means that dapps have a potential to revolutionize most of established practices and industries. Whether this potential can come to reality, depends on factors like scalability of the network, quality of applications and their adoption rate.

This is a list of Ethereum dApps currently on the market:

Let’s try to have a closer look at some of the most popular and successful of them.

IDEX

The most popular decentralized exchange is IDEX, an exchange that does not rely on a central authority to store funds and allow trades. Users can trade between themselves Ethereum based tokens like Tronix, BNB, and OmiseGo. It stands out amongst other exchanges with the capability of trading in real time. Because it does not wait for the Ethereum network to process transactions before confirmation. Instead, smart contracts are used to process and enforce transactions, queuing them for transactions on the actual network in the order they were accepted.

DNN

Decentralized News Network distributes news that are verifiable and resistant to censorships. This dApp focuses on releasing factual information and eliminates biases with the help of a decentralized community. First, the writers generate and send in news content, which is then inspected by reviewers, and then the content is available for readers. Also, on each of these three steps, users earn tokens for their actions. Readers earn by suggesting topics and by finding errors in the published content. Reviewers get tokens for approved articles, and writers earn when an article gets published. Currently, DNN has over 300 writers, over 5,000 reviewers, and over 50,000 readers.

CryptoKitties

CryptoKitties is a game that allows users to breed, trade and collect unique and irreplaceable cats represented by ERC-721 tokens. In theory, such tokens could eventually represent any real asset, such as real estate or art. However, the game has attracted a lot of attention from players, imitators, investors, and non-users thanks to its initial popularity and by jamming the entire Ethereum network. Since its peak in December, its popularity has dropped down by almost 97 percent. We can argue about how decentralized this app is, as most users access it by one internet portal and it operates from a centralized database.

LocalEthereum

LocalEthereum is a peer-to-peer marketplace intended for buying and selling Ethereum tokens. Smart contracts are used to connect buyers and sellers to complete trades. A variety of mainstream methods can be used to make payments, including PayPal. The Ether is held in escrow until the transaction is confirmed. The dApp offers many advantages compared to centralized crypto exchanges. It has no access to users’ private keys, making it immune to typical hacks. I should point out that hacks on major smart contracts have occurred in the past as well.

Decentraland

Decentraland is a virtual reality where users can buy and sell virtual land with their ownership recorded securely on the blockchain. They also can improve and develop the land and monetize it accordingly. Some examples would be building a casino, underwater hotel or an educational enterprise. The game uses a custom Ethereum token called MANA, which can be used to make property deals and to buy content. Also, The dApp developers state that their product is limited only by their users’ imagination, promising soon to roll out custom items and even the ability to control the laws of physics.

There are a lot more exciting dApps on the Ethereum horizon, the main hindrance for their development is the high internal pricing, so-called gas fees. When the network is congested, the speed of transactions goes down, and the gas fees go up. The community is aware of this and steps are being taken for scaling up the network. Solidity, the programming language used for Ethereum, is gaining ground among developers, as more of them are looking for ways to create exciting dApps. From the middle of the last year, the number of dApps on the Ethereum blockchain has risen from 400 to almost 2000 currently, with this number expected to rise further, especially after a successful scaling.

Source:

https://goo.gl/qyw8kD
https://goo.gl/U5SKJY
https://goo.gl/wTyXdm
https://goo.gl/D6EBtv
https://goo.gl/ZaakNz
https://goo.gl/8btidg
https://goo.gl/YZJ341

Photo by David McBee from Pexels

ETCDEV forced to shut down

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Judging by a recent tweet from ETCDEV, Igor Artamonov, the Founder and CTO of ETCDEV, came out with an announcement. He came out saying that the development team cannot work like this and they’re shutting down ETCDEV. ETCDEV is one of the Ethereum Classic development teams. 

The official announcement from Igor Artamonov on Twitter

Is ETC dead?

In their Twitter thread, many people refer to the recent Coinbase listing, when lots of people accused Coinbase of insider trading when the asset launched on their multiple platforms. Also, many questions Coinbase of their decision making regards to adding Ethereum Classic to their platforms. However, the fact is – ETCDEV is not the only development team on Ethereum Classic. The official account of Ethereum Classic cleared the air saying: “Ethereum Classic is not ETCDEV. Ethereum Classic is IOHK, ETC Co-op, ETC Labs, and ETCDEV.”

So you can imagine what the shut down of ETCDEV looks like on a wider scale.

The market impact

However, many crypto projects are suffering during this bear time because of lack of finances. Most of them entirely rely on the funds they got during the ICO period. Also, those funds are tanked because they probably stored their funds in ETC, which price has dumped throughout this year. ETC saw a huge price increase at the beginning of 2018. The price during the first days of January went through the roof in the matter of a couple of days when it experienced a massive rise from $27 to $44. Then, starting from February 22nd, ETC went into a total bear market, and now it has come round $4.11. The asset is down 91% from its ATH.

The market continues to decrease in value as this is yet another red day in the cryptocurrency markets. The positive thing – the dominance of Bitcoin over other cryptocurrencies is still increasing rapidly. 

Source:

https://goo.gl/PfaK68

Photo by pexels.com

Thursday morning crypto game exploration.

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As it was raining outside, and I had this warm and cozy feeling, it felt like I wanted to do something different today. I found a cool website that lists pretty much all the crypto-related games there is. 

The website is called cryptoandgamers.com. It doesn’t look like they have made a specific order, but it sure looks like many games.

The testing

Starting this off with CryptoKitties at the top. We all know what CryptoKitties is. That was the popular game that congested the Ethereum network at the end of last year. When it came out, it had a massive hype around it. Some of the CryptoKitties even cost around 120ETH, which is utterly incomprehensible to my mind. However, now during a bear market, the prices have slightly corrected, but still, you can find Kitties on sale for 100 ETH, but that’s more like a joke, I believe. From the overview, it looks like nothing much has changed since it came out, except a few exclusive cats. To me, this game is still something I don’t understand. How can someone pay money for a digital version of a cat and look at it as an investment – that the cat could be re-sellable. It’s just weird, but let it be. Some things in life are not worth understanding.

Then I jumped into various types of different genre games, like Crypto Baseball, for example. Sounds good, I already imagined how I’m going to play it, but nothing. “Page not found.”

Oh well, let’s look at other games like – CryptoFights. It looks like an exciting game. Powered by the Enjin platform, it is a 1 vs. 1 turn-based mobile fighting game, where you have to earn experience points to gain new levels. Sounds all good, we’re ready to play, but again the game hasn’t come out yet. It says that the game comes out during Q4 2018, which is now.

Moving on, hoping for at least one game that would work so that we could test it.

We tried EtherLeague, but that didn’t work as well, so we naturally moved on to the next one and whoala! DragonKing.io turned out to be working. It looks like it is a strategy game with role-playing game characteristics, but after registering, and watching a video on how to play, which by the way, didn’t explain much, we figured that it wasn’t worth our time. There were Ether and HitBTC bags flying around along with other players, but it wasn’t clear whether it that was in real-time or just an animation.

Next, we tried CryptoRome, which sounds like an ancient strategy game, and by the description, it sure did sound like that, but when we started playing it, all the hype narrowed, because it basically looks like a card game. You have to buy cards, that do different things, and it looks like the board game called Catan Universe. You have to collect resources, land, troops to get more territory.

I got tired of just wandering about websites that don’t work, so I decided to look at it from a different perspective. I went on dappradar.com and just checked out the most popular dApp games. The picture was clear – CryptoKitties, Ethermon, and MegaCryptoPolis were the top 3 crypto games that run on Ethereum blockchain. All three games have an average of around 300 users per 24h.

So the overall picture of the crypto game industry is kind of yet undeveloped. Most of the projects are only soon to come, and the ones working give you the feeling of incompleteness. Also, I believe that’s true! They are still in development, and mainstream blockchain games still are something new for the daily gamer. I think, mostly it’s because they just haven’t found out about blockchain technology or cryptocurrencies as a whole, and that might be the main reason why these games are not that popular.

Source:

https://www.cryptokitties.co
https://cryptofights.io
https://www.mlbcryptobaseball.com
https://etherleague.io
https://dragonking.io
https://www.cryptorome.io/
https://www.megacryptopolis.com
https://www.etheremon.com
https://dappradar.com

Photo by Canva.com

Ethereum hard fork delayed and a tweet by Trump!

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Last Friday, October 19, the Ethereum hard fork got delayed at a developers meeting on Youtube, moderated by Hudson Davis. In an hour-long meeting, they were talking about the upcoming Constantinople hard fork and at the end of it, they came to a consensus to delay it until the end of January 2019 which would be the earliest time the hard fork could be arriving.

What happened?

Constantinople was first trialed on testnet Ropsten on October 13, but suffered from major consensus issues that lead to a three way chain-split. Some testnet miners hadn’t upgraded and possibly the most interesting and funny thing which happened was a tweet by Donald Trump endorsing congressman Keith Rothfus. Keith had made his way into the Constantinople testnet block, because of a dApp called TwitterHunt in which people are betting on what Trump mentions next. And with this some of the consensus issues arose. Two the same clients – Geth and Parity started to behave differently which lead to a thought that there must be a miscalculation there assuming that both of the clients have been upgraded. And after this, one of the Ethereum core developers Afri Schoedon came out in Twitter stating that there will be no Constantinople in 2018, adding that they need to investigate further on this. That was something that all the ETH devs previously had agreed on, that if there were any issues with the Ropsten testnet, they wouldn’t be able to activate Constantinople.

Basically, they found out that they had started the testnet hard fork just 6 days after the latest Geth client update and only one day after the Paritys’ update, leaving the users without enough time to upgrade. Before that, they stumbled on a situation where the expected block of the hard fork (4,230,000) had already been mined and later on, it stalled on block 4,299,999 for two hours because “not a single” user was mining the Constantinople chain. All this sounds like they were in a rush, and I can’t seem to understand why.

Constantinople key aspects

The Constantinople hard fork is a system-wide Ethereum update which is designed to increase the network’s efficiency. The most controversial aspect of the hard fork is the plan to notably reduce block rewards for miners and make it ASIC resistant. This obviously would make the miner community to split into different points of view despite the previously approved consensus. And interestingly enough, that was one of the main issues why the planned hard fork got delayed. Because it got stuck for 2 hours with no one mining the Constantinople chain.

This is definitely something to follow in the future, as the planned hard fork is dubbed to be a major innovation for the Ethereum blockchain.

Source:

https://goo.gl/VFecy2 – The Eth Dev meeting on Youtube.
https://goo.gl/Zu9kUU – Afri Shoedon’s Twitter thread.
https://goo.gl/6VxYpA
https://goo.gl/FCymJa

Photo by Canva.com

Vlad Zamfir claims to have successfully coded a proof-of-concept for ETH sharding issue

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During a hackathon in Berlin this weekend, Vlad Zamfir along with Tim Beiko and John Marlin have come up with a proof-of-concept for Ethereum sharding issue. Their written code is said to demonstrate how different the ETH shards may communicate over the blockchain. 

But however the code isn’t at it fullest stage of completion, but it has the simple fundamentals for it to be deployed over the ethereum blockchain.

“It’s really a proof-of-concept of the most core component in my sharding roadmap. It prevents the cross-shard atomicity failure, or more specifically, it prevents finalization of cross-shard atomicity failure, so it will never be that a ‘send’ is finalized and a ‘not received’ is finalized,” said Vlad Zamfir in an interview with CoinDesk.

Later he continued by saying that this proof-of-concept has “almost no significance” and it does not solve any problems What it’s missing includes a system for transaction fees and a way to route transactions and messages from one shard to another, “We have no real routing protocol,” he stated.

Basically it is a suggestion to the Ethereum code and by his interpretation, Zamfirs’ roadmap of implementing sharding would very much differ with the provided mainstream roadmap of Ethereum.

“I consider the core of sharding to be a cross-shard message or a cross-shard consistency problem. Vitalik thinks of it as sharding of availability, validity and execution of the state. I have a different perspective than Vitalik does of consensus protocols and therefore also sharding,” he said in the interview.

It’s clear that Ethereum devs are working their butts off, regards the recent FUD around ethereum not being useful.

What are your thoughts? Will sharding improve the use cases of ethereum?

Source:

https://goo.gl/Fp1jnP

Crypto markets today. The anticipation of a bull-market.

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The situation today, in the crypto markets, is showing quite bloody. While Bitcoin, Dogecoin and a few others seem to be the only gainers in the Top100, all the other coins and tokens are facing a brutal downtrend of around -10% per coin. 

The upside in this situation is that Bitcoins’ dominance is rising at remarkable speeds. Now it is hanging at around 57-58%, depending on the source. A few tweeters claim that last year, at around November, when the huge market spike started, Bitcoins’ dominance grew to 60% and that had initiated the bull-market.

Another thing is that the usage of the Lightning Network (LN) is increasing, thus meaning that in the past 30 days, the value of all LN channels had increased by ~40%, and the number of open channels had increased by almost 11%, which means that people are more actively starting to use the off-chain solution by Bitcoin.

Also this bloodiness in the market might be a sign of a massive Ethereum and Ethereum based token sell-off, where one of the most popular tokens Basic Attention Token (BAT) is falling with ~13%.

Another thing – we cannot not take this massive ETH FUD which is going around the crypto-sphere for granted, and I myself, kind of see a connection between the time when the last bull-market in November initiated. During that time also a lot of ETH FUD was going around the crypto-space, claiming that ETH might never reach $300 in price, but then – boom! It reached a stunning all-time-high (ATH) of $1380. The same refers to alt-coins in general – a massive alt-coin FUD spread around twitter and other social media sites during the time before November 2017.

After that a huge bull-market exploded and basically every cryptocurrency faced its ATH.

Is this year going to be just like the last one?

Another interesting piece of advice traveling around twitter – “turn the chart around, it shows a bull-market approaching.” And this type of advice helped me to see the previous heights of Bitcoin, reaching 17k-18k-19k, the chart itself started to look almost funny in a sense of – can it go even higher? Because the chart started to look like a nail, a wall, something so steep that in no way it could continue growing like that. Why couldn’t we take this action and use it in a bear market, referring to the chart of ETH?
Putting all these little things together, the picture might be showing a bull-market approaching, but then again – aren’t we all looking for excuses for the bull-market? Don’t we all have at least a single alt-coin which’ price has fallen to a rut, and secretly, deep inside, you wish for it to pump?

Source:

www.coinmarketcap.com

www.coingecko.com

https://goo.gl/vfBdww

SEC temporary suspends Bitcoin Tracker One and Ether Tracker One

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On Sunday, September 9, 2018, The Securities and Exchange Commission announced the temporary suspension of trading in the securities Bitcoin Tracker One (CXBTF) and Ether Tracker One (CETHF) til September 20, 2018.

SEC temporary suspends Bitcoin Tracker One and Ether Tracker One

On Sunday, September 9, 2018, The Securities and Exchange Commission announced the temporary suspension of trading in the securities Bitcoin Tracker One (CXBTF) and Ether Tracker One (CETHF) til September 20, 2018.

The official statement says:
“The Commission temporarily suspended trading in the securities CXBTF and CETHF because of confusion amongst market participants regarding these instruments. This order was entered pursuant to Section 12(k) of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934 (Exchange Act).”

The SEC claims that all this has been done in the interests of “the public” and that their mandate is to ensure “the protection of investors.”

A lot of tweeters are frustrated that these kind of news come in the middle of Sunday, which usually happens during work days.

“You guys are officially losing your grip. Announcing news on a sunday during low volume and weekly close,” says @Brettloug in the SEC announcement thread.

Another tweeter @trajanmex wanted to clear the air by saying: “Relax, this is just because there is confusion between people conflating the different asset classes. This is a temporary suspension and will resume September 20th.”

Source:
https://goo.gl/4P6F8M

https://goo.gl/ML7Urp – The official statement